How to boost your cat's social skills.

Is your cat aloof or even antisocial? Cats, while not as social as dogs, can and do live in groups peacefully and co-exist with humans successfully. There are some steps you can take to try to entice your cat to be more social.

While it’s possible that they may never be your snuggle buddy, at the very least these steps can strengthen your bond with your cat.

The bare necessities
First of all, make sure your cat has all the basics she needs to be happy, healthy and comfortable. This means a dependable supply of fresh water, a quality nutritious food, and a clean litter box. Some toys and treats, along with a bed and a scratching post, help provide your cat with a safe and comfortable environment. With your cat’s basic needs met, she will be more relaxed and able to interact more readily.

Pair affection with food
Most likely your cat will be happiest while eating, so that’s a good time to introduce petting. Put food in the dish and while your cat is eating, gently and unobtrusively pet them. Doing this regularly will help your cat associate your petting with the positive feeling of being fed.

If your cat is reluctant to being held, try having a playtime session. A ball or a piece of string, some catnip or some treats, whatever your cat enjoys playing with—try getting on the floor with them and engaging them in some fun play. Playing together is a form of physical bonding that can lead to a more affectionate cat.

Body language
Cats have a complex system of communication using body language. You can use this system to your advantage by incorporating the slow eye blink. Blinking is a very powerful reassurance signal and is commonly used between cats. If a cat slow blinks at you, it’s a good sign. It means “We’re friends, and I feel comfortable”. Directing a slow blink back to our cat is a sign of love. Try it—eventually your cat may even come over and jump in your lap, giving you an open invitation to pet her.

Be patient
Transforming a reclusive cat into a cuddly lap-sitting cat will take time and patience. Don’t try to hurry the process—allow your cat to set the pace to ensure they are comfortable.