Q: My cat is jealous of my boyfriend. She hisses and runs away whenever he comes over. We're thinking of getting married. I won't give up my cat, so we need to figure out how to improve their relationship. Any tips?
A: Cats can develop seemingly unreasonable dislikes of certain people.
When I was first dating my future husband, his cat Sam apparently didn't like the invasion of their bachelor pad and ran away. I love cats, so I've always felt bad about that. I've since learned a number of ways to woo disapproving cats.
It sounds counterintuitive, but have your boyfriend ignore your cat. He shouldn't look at, talk to or touch her. Cats prefer people who don't force attention on them. They like to be the ones to make the first move.
You can encourage your cat to get closer to your boyfriend by laying a treat trail that leads to him. Use treats she can't resist, such as dried salmon, bits of cheese or other favorite food she doesn't get often. Once she comes close, he can toss some more treats in her direction, while still not looking at or touching her. Other than tossing a few treats, be sure he doesn't make any sudden movements when your cat is near him. That could scare her and set back your efforts.
Gradually, let your boyfriend be the one to offer playtime with your cat's favorite feather toy or catnip mouse. He should also be the one to prepare and provide your cat's meals. By making him the giver of all good things, and being patient and persistent, love will likely win the day.
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