stands for giving a cat Choice and Control.
stands for pay Attention to your cat’s reactions.
stands for thinking about where your cat likes to be Touched.
That’s what experts in feline behavior and welfare at England’s Nottingham Trent University found in their observation of 100 cats. When it comes to choice and control, cats and their people are much more likely to have a better relationship when the people let the cats decide if they want interaction. That includes not following or picking up a cat who shows she’s not interested by moving away. People who respect a cat’s space have pets who are much less likely to hiss or swipe at their human family members and less likely to feel tense or frustrated.
Paying attention to your cat’s behavioral reactions helps in the effort to let the cat control the amount and intensity of interaction. For instance, if you are petting your cat and she goes a little still, stops purring, starts grooming herself, or sharply turns her head to face you, chances are more than even that she’s done. Time to stop. The signs may be subtle to you, but from where she sits the message is clear.
Think, too, about where your cat likes to be touched, the researchers add. Good spots: the base of their cheeks, around their ears, and under the chin. Not such good spots for many cats (each has her own preferences): the tummy and the base of the tail.
You probably already know all this intuitively. But the researchers’ C.A.T. acronym is a good reminder should you get lax about “reading” your pet.