#HillsPet Makes Cats Friendlier!


Image Copr. Amy Shojai, CABC

What does cat food and cat treats have to do with making your house cat more friendly? One the most common questions I get as a cat behavior consultant deals with the evolving c’attitude of maturing kitties. Pretty much all kittens are in-your-face clueless (and confident!) spit-fires that never met a stranger. They gallop and pounce through life, love to play until they collapse–and then snuggle and purr themselves to sleep on your lap.

But the baby cat grows up and then OH NO! What happened to the snuggle-puss? Well, sometimes they stay cuddly throughout life. But very often, the baby grows up to be a bit more selective in how he or she wishes to interact. That can put the human’s nose out of joint when suddenly Junior-Cat disses the person who brought them into the house. So–what can you do?


The Ask Amy video, below, was created prior to me being asked to write this post. But it’s a purr-fect fit! People readily think about treats with dogs, but not so often with cats–and in fact, cats relish not only the tastiness but also the special interaction that comes with any food “extras.”

The key to treating cats, though, is to remember they are “grazers.” A full meal for a cat tends to be 4-8 individual kibbles. That’s all! They’re not going to belly up to the smorgasbord and gulp mouthfuls or handfuls the way my Magical-Dawg does. So a teeeeeny tiny amount is enough–the smell as much as the taste and the attention–that associates something positive for the cat with your presence.

Choice in treats typically is decided by the human with the pocketbook, but ultimately it’s in the cat’s paws whether or not s/he will indulge. Of course, we don’t want over-nutrition to create tubby Tabbies so it’s best to choose a treat that compliments the cat’s existing diet. Most pet food companies offer a “family” of products that go well together, and Hill’s Pet Nutrition is no different.

Treats that make kitty sit up and purr tend to be very different than what s/he eats on a regular basis. Reserving a very unique tasting/smelling food–a canned ration, for example–can be a great way to make your cat feel special without potentially upsetting the nutrition.


How should you treat to help your cat be friendlier? Establish a routine. That could be every morning while you’re eating breakfast, or while you brush your teeth–or perhaps every evening while watching the evening news. Cats love routine, and once Kitty figures out the time and place that TREATS get delivered, you won’t have to remember–she’ll remind YOU!


Image courtesy of Hill’s Pet Nutrition

Tiny bits are enough. Maybe dip your finger in the canned food like Hill’s Gourmet Turkey Entree. My cat Seren now will come when called, sit up, wave and (we’re working on) speak! with just me holding up my finger–she EXPECTS there will be something tasty awaiting her.

By rewarding your cat for a natural behavior, you also reinforce the interaction and teach the kitty there’s a benefit to paying attention to you. If the cat still won’t come near…use dry treats you can toss to him. And the next time toss it closer to you…and the next, closer still. Do this in cat-size steps, not all at once, and your cat will become friendlier without even realizing it!


Well, yes. Some cats do very well on the same old food all the time, but others relish variety. And let’s face it, PEOPLE love variety even if cats could eat MOUSE every single day, so it makes us feel good to offer variety to our beloved cats, too. For instance, you could choose to provide a dry kibble for all day “grazing,” and then give a bonus wet food for the evening or morning meal.


Image courtesy of Hill’s Pet Nutrition

I received some of the Hill’s Crunchy Creations grain free treats last May when I attended the BlogPaws conference, and Seren-kitty LOVES them! Of course, she’ll just about do back flips for Philly cream cheese, too (shhhh, don’t tell the Hill’s folks, I know that’s not on the cat nutrition best-practices list). Seren is only 5 pounds so she could do with gaining a bit of weight–but if your cat is a bit tubby, try putting treats in a cat puzzle toy for added feline enjoyment (and exercise).

THE LEGAL STUFF: This post is sponsored by Hill’s. I am being compensated for helping spread the word about Hill’s Science Diet for Cats, but I only shares information I feel is relevant to my readers. Hill’s Pet Nutrition, Inc. is not responsible for the content of this article.


Win a boatload of kitty tasties–Image courtesy of Hill’s Pet Nutrition

Here’s your chance to try out the notion of complementary food. Hill’s is giving way a tasty basket of kitty goodies that includes a “trifecta” of cat nutrition–dry, wet and treats–all formulated to be easily mixed and matched to provide the same precise Hill’s nutrition you’ve come to expect.


(Give-away is limited to the USA and Canada)

Here’s how to enter. Leave a COMMENT below saying why your cat deserves special treats (hey, they ALL do!). I will figure out a way for my SEREN-KITTY to choose the winner on THURSDAY NOVEMBER 21 and will announce the 20 winners on the next day, Friday, November 22. Now that should give the kitties a true and proper Thanksgiving to celebrate! Go tell all your shelter and foster pet parents and get them to enter, too–SHARE the bounty, let’s spread some tasty love!

Be sure to check out the video, below. What are some other tips you have for helping cats act “friendlier?”

I love hearing from you, so please share comments and questions. Do you have an ASK AMY question you’d like answered? Do you have a new kitten and need answers? Stay up to date on all the latest just subscribe the blog, “like” me on Facebook, check out weekly FREE PUPPY CARE newsletter, and sign up for Pet Peeves newsletter.


#HillsPet Makes Cats Friendlier! — 23 Comments

  1. My three furry babies – well, okay, seniors – after all they are now nine years old – deserve treats because they keep me sane!! When I’m feeling stressed or down, one or more of them will make sure I’m not alone – one will always be with me. And how can you continue to feel stressed or down while petting a soft furry kid!!

  2. Our furry darling has survived three near death issues (starting with surviving a downed power line burning his tail during Hurricane Katrina) so he deserves pampering though they all do anyway! Thanks for the chance to win, always enjoy your blog.

    By the way, our furry one is alive in part thanks to you and your reminder to look for lumps & bumps. I had my eye on what looked like a small wart and the vet commended me for finding it in time through his thick mink-like fur. It was a marble size cancerous tumor. (That was his third near death experience.)

  3. My sweet kitties are so loyal and loving. Maybe it’s from having a hard start in life, but I feel they deserve the very best for food and treats and there is none better than Science Diet!
    It’s made such a difference! I would really appreciate winning this for them. What a Thanksgiving gift it would be!
    Connie Marie

  4. Amy I really enjoyed your blog and video. My cats deserve special treats because well they’re SPECIAL to me. I love them unconditionally and they love me the same. Being homebound they give me so much companionship and love. Ironically, I have been thinking about getting one of those cat puzzle toys and put some treats in it for them to get. Since they’re getting older I thought it would be great exercise for them. We all have so much to be thankful for at this time of year and they’re excited about the possibility of winning some treats. From me, Thomas, Macy, Termite, Blackie and Snooki best wishes for you and your husband to have a great weekend.

  5. (Don’t add this to the contest since I already won a gift box from one of the other contests – and our furball is snubbing every bit of it except the Drinkwell that came alone with! LOL Though sadly I think had the treats not been too hard for his sensitive teeth he actually wanted those. He can’t do Greenies for the same reason. He outright SNUBBED the canned food, I couldn’t believe it.)

    A lot of the time for me, getting cats to be friendlier has been a simple matter of having the time to just sit there with a hand out (even if on the floor), looking away from the cat long enough to let them come up and sniff. Make sure you don’t move too quickly or you’ll have to start over. Never try to pet while they are still sniffing. Let the non-cuddler make the first move.

    If they start rubbing on you, you’re usually good to (slowly!) lift your hand, encourage them to put their head under. If they let you, scritch the top of the head, but don’t try to scratch the ears right away – anything they think is a grab might cause them to run off, and again you’ll have to start over. It’s a slow process, you have to be okay with waiting for the animal to make the moves when you’re dealing with a shy critter.

    We’ve been letting my dad give treats (and sometimes chicken) to Anubis when he comes over, since Anubis has been leery of him ever since he heard me call him “dad” (LOL he was fine with him until that – there is only the One True Daddy and all other Daddies are false Daddies) – it seems to be helping.

    • Great tips for fearful/leery cats. Glad Anubis is beginning to accept your Dad, too (the “pretender” LOL!). By the way, will keep you in the drawing for the food–and if you win, that’d be a great holiday gift to a local shelter or other cat loving family!

  6. My husband and I run a cat rescue/shelter operation and we do it on a thread budget (A shoestring budget would be like having a million bucks to us.) out of our own pocket and the generosity of others. We’d love to feed HIlls cat foods, but since we’re feeding between 75 and 100 kitties at all times, we have to feed what has been donated and, if that runs out, whatever our tiny pocketbook will allow. Of course, they never go hungry, but it would be great to give them a special, high quality treat. As rescue kitties, they’ve already been through so much, any little extra is really, really special to them … and to us. A HIlls treat would be awesome! Thanks for considering us!

  7. Let’s see. There is Mama Sara and three siblings (seniors). Lady Bug and Carl siblings (seniors). Katy Katleen(Calico), Izzi Belle (senior), Little Man, Abby Gail, and Pink (youngest 2yrs).

    All Rescues. We sure could use some extra morsels to help tide us over one month….

  8. Pingback: Ask Amy: Cat Wants Pets When I Get Up & FREE FOOD ANNOUNCED! | AMY SHOJAI'S Bling, Bitches & Blood

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