Cats are for the most part social animals that enjoy our company. They are also pretty smart. Put those two facts together, and suddenly you have a cat that quickly learns how to make you heed his call. Responding to your cat’s pleas for attention isn’t always a bad thing. However, if your cat always seems to want to play every time you are on the phone, you probably need some help.

If your cat is engaging in an undesirable behavior to get your attention, the best thing to do is ignore him. This teaches him that his behavior has the opposite effect of his intentions. Yes, this can be difficult to achieve, especially if your cat tries to get your attention by standing on your head. Move away from your cat or put him in another room for a minute or two if you feel yourself losing patience. Again, cats are pretty smart, so your pet will soon learn that certain behaviors don’t work.

Be diligent about giving attention to your cat when he does something that you approve of (e.g., sitting, rubbing against your leg, lying on his bed, scratching the scratching post) to make sure that he doesn’t practice every “naughty” behavior in the book to get your attention (e.g. meowing, scratching the furniture, etc.). That way you will have a respectful feline in no time.

Finally, provide your cat with structured attention rather than more attention. Schedule two or three play sessions a day (to total 15-30 minutes) and a couple of short “quiet-attention” times for cuddling, petting, massage, grooming, or whatever activities your cat enjoys. Your cat will be less likely to be pushy and demanding if he knows that he will be getting attention at regular times each day.

If you would like information from an Anti-Cruelty Behavior Specialist regarding this behavior topic, please call 312-645-8253 or email behavior@anticruelty.org.

Recent Articles

There is a phenomenon in the cat world that seems to be foreign to humans: nonrecognition aggression. This occurs when a cat leaves the home – usually, but not always, for a veterinary appointment – and is the recipient of aggressive behavior

Dogs and cats can make wonderful companions for each other. A dog grooming a cat’s head or a cat snuggled against a dog can be some of the most “Aww!”-inducing sights for any pet owner. Care must be taken when introducing a dog to a cat, however; these are two different species with different ways of communicating and

Cats and carriers often do not get along. For many cats, being in a carrier means that unpleasant things are coming such as a trip to the vet. However, with a few positive interactions at home, your cat can become acclimated to his carrier in no time. 

Start by leaving the carrier out and open. Allow your cat

Like dogs, many cats mark places that are new and unfamiliar to them. Intact male cats are more likely to mark than neutered males or female cats. Marking behavior can be modified if you start training early. When introducing your cat to your home, be prepared. Here are a couple tricks for a marking quick-fix.