Hi everybody, Molly DeVoss from Cat Behavior Solutions, here with your Bonding Tip of the Week! This week’s bonding tip is called “safe base.”
When we think about bonding, we often think it’s all about getting closer: more time cuddling, more time with your cat on your lap, things like that. But for a cat, what’s most important is feeling safe in its space. And if it feels safe in a space with you, it’s going to want to bond with you more.
One of the best ways to make a cat feel safe is to provide a safe base. Now, that could be a really tall cat tree, or that little area above your kitchen cabinet, or even a little nook up high in your laundry room. But no matter what or where it is, the safe base is exactly that: it’s your cat’s place where they can have a little time to themself whenever they don’t really want to interact with anybody.
Part of what makes the safe base work is the actual location—high up, cat-sized, out of the way—but another part is your household making sure that it stays a safe base. Make a rule in the house that anytime the cat goes to their safe base, it’s a no-touch zone.
In our house, our safe base is a little shelf above the door that connects to a stairway, which then connects to a scratching post down below. We created the safe base way up high so that we’re not even tempted to touch Pico. When he doesn’t want to be messed with, he goes up there onto his bed up above the room, where no one can reach him, and takes a little nap or takes a toy up there and plays around. No matter what he chooses to do up there, though, that’s his safe base.
As we’ve said, sometimes not interacting with your cat every minute is the best way to bond with them. Keep this in mind as you bond with your cat this week. And until next time, keep calm and purr on—I know your kitty will from their safe base!
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