Much like us two-legged folk, cats can be extroverts and introverts. Some lap up the attention and are quick to totter over to their new human friends, while cautious kitties will take their time to get to know you. But don’t worry, we’re here to help you make a great first impression.
Top 10 tips to befriend a cat
1. Back off
Your first temptation when you see those big adorable eyes might be to run over and say hello, but this could startle your new friend. If they run away, just leave them be. Felines need time to get accustomed to your scent, sound, and presence before they realise you’re not a threat. Rest assured, curiosity will take over and you’ll soon hear the pitter-patter of paws coming over to you.
2. Don’t lean over me
Great! The curious kitty is getting closer to being your forever friend. Now it’s time to get down to their level, or if you cannot do that, simply avoid leaning over them. Allow them to make the first move which will normally happen through a gentle rub against you — cats rely heavily on scent, so this is the perfect way for them to get to know you.
3. Keep calm
If you talk in a soft, slow tone, cats are much more likely to warm to you with ease. Keep a calm demeanour by avoiding loud noises, sudden bursts of movement and make sure you announce yourself before walking into a room. Unexpectedly disturbing their catnap could frighten them and set you back when building a feline friendship.
4. Slow blinking
As primates, we prefer to look at other living beings in the eye. Unfortunately, this can cause kitties to be uncomfortable. So when befriending a cat, try half-closing your eyes and blinking slowly, then peacefully turning away.
5. Be their new playmate
A great way to bond is playtime. You’re unlikely to meet a cat that doesn’t enjoy chasing something — whether it’s a homemade toy or pet shop fishing rod— and this activity also helps build their physical and mental health.
6. Avoid that fluffy tummy
Don’t assume a cat is asking for a tummy tickle when they lie on their backs. While exposing their belly and neck makes them vulnerable and is essentially a sign of trust, most cats do not appreciate tummy tickles from people they are unfamiliar with. In fact, this affectionate act is likely to be met with aggression.
Whether they’re clawing your cashmere jumper or naughtily pawing at the fishbowl, never raise your voice to a cat. Shouting will not teach them positive behaviour; you’ll simply scare them and lose any trust you’ve built. What’s more, you could risk them retaliating.
8. Keep your hands to yourself
As natural hunters, cats can easily confuse your hands for prey to paw, claw, and play with. To avoid injury and make sure your feline friend does not see you as a toy to attack, never use your bare hands to play.
9. Save them a space
Cats love to elegantly walk around and mind their own business. Feel free to admire their beauty from a distance, but do not follow them. This can make them feel threatened, especially if you end up accidentally cornering them. Of course you’re only looking for a cuddle, but a cat’s affection cannot be rushed.
10. No one likes a tease
Tricking or teasing a cat with toys like lasers may cause a cute reaction, but can lead to a lack of trust and build behavioural issues. Receiving an unexpected fright could even result in an injury, which is no way to make friends with any kind of animal.
Ready to befriend a cat using these top 10 tips?
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