Connecting With Your Cat: Family, Furry Friend, or Familiar Face

Connecting With Your Cat: Family, Furry Friend, or Familiar Face

How to Be A Minimalist Pet Owner Reading Connecting With Your Cat: Family, Furry Friend, or Familiar Face 6 minutes Next Joint Pain in Dogs: Cause, Treatment, Prevention

How do you view your pet

Is your four-legged roommate your friend, family member, or “just” your pet? 

Research indicates that “pets can occupy similar social niches as partners, family members, and children.” For a deep dive on the fascinating science, check out this article: “Family Member, Best Friend, Child or “Just” a Pet, Owners’ Relationship Perceptions and Consequences for Their Cat.”  

Thanks to this article, I learned that “human-animal bond is defined as “a mutually beneficial and dynamic relationship between people and other animals.’” I always knew I considered my pets as family, but now I understand the science behind this. 

How we view our furry friend influences how we treat them: if you view your animal as a child, you may view them as dependent. If you feel a loyal companionship, you may consider your cat or dog your “best friend.” If you view your pet as just that – a pet – then you may not feel as social of a connection to them. 

Of course, there is no “right way” to be a pet parent. From a family member to a simplistic pet, your function for your pet is likely very similar: provide shelter, food, and water. No matter how you pet-parent, thinking about which relationship you have may help you better understand how to connect with your four-legged friend/family member/acquaintance/child. Black and white cat lounging on a couch.

Connecting With Your Cat 

For cat owners especially, adapting to a new four-legged roommate can be tricky. Cats have very strong personalities all on their own! Whether you are a new cat companion or a seasoned cat lover, I invite you to consider the following ways to connect with your feline, no matter your attachment style. 

If you consider your cat to be a member of your family

Your cat likely has a good bit of autonomy, they may have less limits to their space in the home. For your furry family member, consider where you and your human family spend time like the living room. Is this space set up so your kitty can have their own spots? 

A cat tree, bed, or comfy nook may help your pet find their own cozy space just like your family members might sit in the same spots while watching TV. I find this helps my sweet yet independent cat have more control over his alone time: if he is hidden away in one of his “cat only” spaces, I know he may want a private nap. If he’s sitting on the couch, he generally is in the mood for some pets and cuddles. Just like your human roommates, sometimes it’s nice to have your own space to escape to!

hands hold sleeping orange kitten
Baby cat

If you feel like your pet is your little fur baby

You may want to get them a fun gift. Just like with human children, it can feel really good to treat your fluff. Consider getting them a toy that both of you can play with! This could mean a string toy for your cat or a Chuckit for those dog lovers out there. 

It’s important to find what toys capture your pet’s attention. Having toys that your pet can get their aggression out with can help them be more relaxed companions. I know my cat sometimes loves to attack my feet or playfully bite my hands and redirecting him with a toy helps get the attention off of me. 

For a four-legged bestie

Consider making space in your schedule for quality time! Just like you might get lunch or watch a movie with a friend, I love to take time to sit with my cat companion. He and I love some TV time cuddled under the blankets. If you view your pet as your pa(w)rtner in crime, take some time to have some fun and intentional 1-1 time. This is even more important if you live alone! Although they may not be able to talk, having a furry friend around can bring feelings of peace, connection, and support.

If all this talk of tight pet bonds seems a little silly, I get it: at the end of the day, your pet is, in fact, a pet animal. There is still plenty to consider, though, like routines and pet spaces. Dogs and cats are like us: they like a routine! My cat knows when I get home from work, dinnertime is near. Reinforcing your shared schedule can not only provide some peace to your furry roommate, but also to yourself. 

Where you keep your pet’s belongings can have an impact on your ease and accessibility. For instance, keeping your dogs outside belongings by the door can be easy for quick turnarounds out the door for those dog parents. Or, it’s important to pay attention to where you put that litter box! If you want to dive deeper into your organization, I invite you to check out the organization section of How To Be A Minimalist Pet Owner

In Summary… Pets can have a big impact on our lives. Being intentional about your relationship with your pet can present more opportunities for connection and joy! Considering what kind of pet owner you are and what that may mean to you and your floof can build the intentionality of being a pet parent. It can be a privilege and delight to be a pet owner: our pets are lucky to have us, and we are lucky to have them!

Subscribe to our newsletter

Promotions, new products and sales. Directly to your inbox.