In order to have the best relationship with a cat, you must treat them as an equal. Your relationship must be altruistic. Their happiness comes first. Cat owners will joke that they are slaves, but in actuality, they love serving their cats, because when a cat sees that you are for them, they are also for you. I wish I could say the same about most humans.
Make some meals with ingredients you can both eat, and invite him/her to the dinner table. I let them eat off my plate, like we are going at the same wild buffalo we just took down. You can also give them their own plate, but always allow them to your plate, so they can see the food is the same as theirs.
You can also toilet train them so they have the option to use the toilet if they so choose, while also providing them with a litterbox. If you travel with your cat, toilet use can come in handy (have some alcohol pads for wiping the toilet seat so your cats paws stay clean). Sometimes you can use the garden at the airport, or wherever, but sometimes you can't.
If you have nice furniture, delight in the artistic rendering your cat will add to it. Look at the bigger picture of happiness.
Cats are more similar to humans than dogs. A cat will follow you because they believe you are acting in their best interest. Whereas a dog will follow you blindly because you are the pack leader. Excuse me, I guess that makes cats more similar to smart people.
Just like people, there are many cats that were not brought up in a loving way, and they will have trust issues. Always use positive reinforcement, and never punishment. Always show compassion and understanding.
article about bonding: https://www.petplace.com/article/cats/pet-behavior-training/bonding-in-cats
youtube instructional video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5530I_pYjbo
If you want to have a good relationship with your cat, you must learn to play like a cat. It's fine to use your hand as something a kitten attacks. That's how kittens play with each other, and in the process, they learn not to bite each other too hard. Those that say that playing with your kitten like another kitten, will cause unwanted behavior when they are adults, they don't know how to have a better relationship with a cat (for example, kittenlady.org).
Likely, they aren't treating the cat as an equal, treating the cat with respect, and letting them tend to your needs. Cats want to please you, if you allow that to happen by treating them with respect. If they see that they can take care of your emotional needs, especially the boys, they will feel important. You will form a coalition.
I have the honorary title of being a cat. I taught my cat how to eat its prey. With a bird he brought in, I plucked the feathers and cut into the body with a knife, then put the bird on his food bowl. He watched very intently as I plucked. Fast forward, and I am vacuuming feathers on a regular basis, with much pride that my cat is being the best cat he can be. No leftovers: only feathers, and an occasion a beak. I did get up one morning, to find a live bird that looked up at me, too scared to move, as if pleading for mercy, and my cat no where around. I peed and went back to bed. Just because I feel bad, is no reason to deny the nature of cats to which I have chosen to identify with. Another time, he was brutalizing a mouse by whacking it with his paw. I bent down and snapped the mouse’s neck with two fingers, to teach my cat how to kill with mercy. Thinking back, I think he may have been taking out his rage because a neighbor lady was being cruel to him. My cat taught me that he would follow me on walks, and I taught him to look both ways before crossing the street, and eventually this led to our going backpacking together, with him wearing a loCATor collar so I could find him if he strayed off while we set up camp. On the trails he usually led in front, and I could tell him which fork of the trail to turn to by telling him “no no” if he was going the wrong way. If it was a long day he would start to trail behind, and I would then carry him. He had amazing stream jumping ability. He also allowed himself to be tossed. Although he hated being tossed onto the bed, when I actually had to toss him to get over a ravine, he was prepping his hind legs as I was about to toss him, and my heart filled with pride at what a trusting and courageous companion I had.
I have been and always shall be, your friend: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2GHoW_x86eU