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4 Ways to Improve Your Relationship With Your Cat

4 Ways to Improve Your Relationship With Your Cat

Everyone who’s ever had a cat knows they’re emotionally delicate creatures. Operating much differently than dogs, cats make humans work for their affection, but offer it back when they feel comfortable with their caretakers. While some cats may rather simply live their lives without much input from you, a large portion of them are simply waiting for you to show them that they are a part of your life. In other words, in order to receive affection, you need to put some out there. Some cats are naturally more affectionate than others, but all cat owners can work to improve the relationship with their feline by following a few simple steps,

1. Make yourself approachable.

Many of us are preoccupied with life a lot, and that may even be why you chose a cat as a companion‒we all know they’re relatively independent animals. Even so, a hectic lifestyle and a general unwelcoming attitude or atmosphere doesn’t give a cat a feeling of comfort. This will often lead to them not only acting up, but avoiding you.

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The best way to change this is to make yourself approachable. Maybe your cat has an affinity for a particular blanket or pillow, so put it in your lap and help them associate you with their comfortable spot. Always be calm and aim to reduce jerky movements or excited reactions while spending one-on-one bonding time with your companion.

2. Play, play, play.

Remember that cats are predators and there’s nothing they like to do more than hone their predatory skills through simulated predator/prey situations. While we refer to it as “play,” and they may very well enjoy it, it’s them acting out their basic instincts, and they’re sure to appreciate your help. Believe it or not, they’re usually well aware of the fact that it’s you holding the string going across the floor, and they know it’s you controlling the laser. They associate this activity with you, and they grow to both appreciate the attention and crave more of it. Most cats have a favorite toy, so anytime you pick it up and take it for a spin, they’re likely to take notice and want to join in.

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3. Pay attention to what they’re telling you.

Taking notice of them meowing when their bowl is empty is one thing, but cats are also masters of body language. They’ll tell you all you need to know about how they’re feeling with simple tail movements or body reactions. If your cat is rolling around on the floor and looking at you with friendly-sounding vocalizations, there’s a good chance they’re very amiable and welcoming. Exposing their stomach to you in any way is generally an indication that they feel comfortable.

The most important indicator is always the tail, however. Reading this cat language can be tricky at first, but telling the difference between when they’re in the mood for your affection and when they’re not is very important in maintaining their interest in a continued relationship with you. If someone always bugged you relentlessly when you weren’t in the mood, would you really be interested in approaching them later?

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Here are the most important tail tips:

A) If your cat’s tail is straight up and not bent, it’s likely to be feeling friendly, and may even welcome you by rubbing on your leg or hands.
B) If their tail is bent down and facing behind them a bit, they’re likely to be feeling defensive or aggressive.
C) If their tail is swinging around haphazardly, they’re likely annoyed or mad and would prefer to be left alone.
D) If just the tip of their tail is slowly bending back and forth, they’re likely curious or preoccupied and often interested in something specific.

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4. Never strike your friend.

Do you hit your friends when they displease you? Probably not. They probably wouldn’t react very happily to it, and neither do cats. Cats respond very poorly to physical harm, and unlike more forgiving animals such as dogs, they will often retaliate and/or become indefinitely fearful of you. Them viewing you as a source of pain is not the best way to to improve your relationship. There are other, much better options when it comes to disciplining your cat.

The first option is tried and true: squirting them with water. While it doesn’t work on every cat every time, letting a cat know that they’ll get sudden bursts of water when doing something naughty is a good way to teach them better habits.

The second option is loud noises. Clapping your hands or finding a word you can repeat loudly will often get the point across. “No” or “stop”, when used in a loud, aggressive tone will usually do the job for all but the most stubborn felines.

The last option is to simply set up harmless traps in the areas you’d prefer your cats not go. Putting tape or plastic on a counter, for instance, will eventually teach them to associate that spot with those annoyances. There are a ton of other easy traps like this to set up to enforce better behavior and they usually require minimal inconveniences on your end.

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Billy Givens

Freelance Writer

4 Ways to Improve Your Relationship With Your Cat 5 Relationships You Didn’t Realize Were So Important

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Last Updated on February 11, 2021

Easily Misunderstood by Others? 6 Barriers You Should Overcome to Make Communication Less Frustrating

Easily Misunderstood by Others? 6 Barriers You Should Overcome to Make Communication Less Frustrating

How often have you said something simple, only to have the person who you said this to misunderstand it or twist the meaning completely around? Nodding your head in affirmative? Then this means that you are being unclear in your communication.

Communication should be simple, right? It’s all about two people or more talking and explaining something to the other. The problem lies in the talking itself, somehow we end up being unclear, and our words, attitude or even the way of talking becomes a barrier in communication, most of the times unknowingly. We give you six common barriers to communication, and how to get past them; for you to actually say what you mean, and or the other person to understand it as well…

The 6 Walls You Need to Break Down to Make Communication Effective

Think about it this way, a simple phrase like “what do you mean” can be said in many different ways and each different way would end up “communicating” something else entirely. Scream it at the other person, and the perception would be anger. Whisper this is someone’s ear and others may take it as if you were plotting something. Say it in another language, and no one gets what you mean at all, if they don’t speak it… This is what we mean when we say that talking or saying something that’s clear in your head, many not mean that you have successfully communicated it across to your intended audience – thus what you say and how, where and why you said it – at times become barriers to communication.[1]

Perceptual Barrier

The moment you say something in a confrontational, sarcastic, angry or emotional tone, you have set up perceptual barriers to communication. The other person or people to whom you are trying to communicate your point get the message that you are disinterested in what you are saying and sort of turn a deaf ear. In effect, you are yelling your point across to person who might as well be deaf![2]

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The problem: When you have a tone that’s not particularly positive, a body language that denotes your own disinterest in the situation and let your own stereotypes and misgivings enter the conversation via the way you talk and gesture, the other person perceives what you saying an entirely different manner than say if you said the same while smiling and catching their gaze.

The solution: Start the conversation on a positive note, and don’t let what you think color your tone, gestures of body language. Maintain eye contact with your audience, and smile openly and wholeheartedly…

Attitudinal Barrier

Some people, if you would excuse the language, are simply badass and in general are unable to form relationships or even a common point of communication with others, due to their habit of thinking to highly or too lowly of them. They basically have an attitude problem – since they hold themselves in high esteem, they are unable to form genuine lines of communication with anyone. The same is true if they think too little of themselves as well.[3]

The problem: If anyone at work, or even in your family, tends to roam around with a superior air – anything they say is likely to be taken by you and the others with a pinch, or even a bag of salt. Simply because whenever they talk, the first thing to come out of it is their condescending attitude. And in case there’s someone with an inferiority complex, their incessant self-pity forms barriers to communication.

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The solution: Use simple words and an encouraging smile to communicate effectively – and stick to constructive criticism, and not criticism because you are a perfectionist. If you see someone doing a good job, let them know, and disregard the thought that you could have done it better. It’s their job so measure them by industry standards and not your own.

Language Barrier

This is perhaps the commonest and the most inadvertent of barriers to communication. Using big words, too much of technical jargon or even using just the wrong language at the incorrect or inopportune time can lead to a loss or misinterpretation of communication. It may have sounded right in your head and to your ears as well, but if sounded gobbledygook to the others, the purpose is lost.

The problem: Say you are trying to explain a process to the newbies and end up using every technical word and industry jargon that you knew – your communication has failed if the newbie understood zilch. You have to, without sounding patronizing, explain things to someone in the simplest language they understand instead of the most complex that you do.

The solution: Simplify things for the other person to understand you, and understand it well. Think about it this way: if you are trying to explain something scientific to a child, you tone it down to their thinking capacity, without “dumbing” anything down in the process.[4]

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Emotional Barrier

Sometimes, we hesitate in opening our mouths, for fear of putting our foot in it! Other times, our emotional state is so fragile that we keep it and our lips zipped tightly together lest we explode. This is the time that our emotions become barriers to communication.[5]

The problem: Say you had a fight at home and are on a slow boil, muttering, in your head, about the injustice of it all. At this time, you have to give someone a dressing down over their work performance. You are likely to transfer at least part of your angst to the conversation then, and talk about unfairness in general, leaving the other person stymied about what you actually meant!

The solution: Remove your emotions and feelings to a personal space, and talk to the other person as you normally would. Treat any phobias or fears that you have and nip them in the bud so that they don’t become a problem. And remember, no one is perfect.

Cultural Barrier

Sometimes, being in an ever-shrinking world means that inadvertently, rules can make cultures clash and cultural clashes can turn into barriers to communication. The idea is to make your point across without hurting anyone’s cultural or religious sentiments.

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The problem: There are so many ways culture clashes can happen during communication and with cultural clashes; it’s not always about ethnicity. A non-smoker may have problems with smokers taking breaks; an older boss may have issues with younger staff using the Internet too much.

The solution: Communicate only what is necessary to get the point across – and eave your personal sentiments or feelings out of it. Try to be accommodative of the other’s viewpoint, and in case you still need to work it out, do it one to one, to avoid making a spectacle of the other person’s beliefs.[6]

Gender Barrier

Finally, it’s about Men from Mars and Women from Venus. Sometimes, men don’t understand women and women don’t get men – and this gender gap throws barriers in communication. Women tend to take conflict to their graves, literally, while men can move on instantly. Women rely on intuition, men on logic – so inherently, gender becomes a big block in successful communication.[7]

The problem: A male boss may inadvertently rub his female subordinates the wrong way with anti-feminism innuendoes, or even have problems with women taking too many family leaves. Similarly, women sometimes let their emotions get the better of them, something a male audience can’t relate to.

The solution: Talk to people like people – don’t think or classify them into genders and then talk accordingly. Don’t make comments or innuendos that are gender biased – you don’t have to come across as an MCP or as a bra-burning feminist either. Keep gender out of it.

And remember, the key to successful communication is simply being open, making eye contact and smiling intermittently. The battle is usually half won when you say what you mean in simple, straightforward words and keep your emotions out of it.

Reference

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