Cats have unique personalities, but they all speak the same language. Learn how to get a cat to like you, and you’ll quickly befriend every cat you meet, whether you’re adopting a new kitten or visiting a friend’s house. In ten simple ways, you can easily become a “cat whisperer.”
1. Wear soft clothes.
If you’re planning on meeting a new cat, wear something soft – a sweatshirt, sweatpants, a loose dress, or any garment that would make your lap a comfy place for the cat to snuggle.
Laying together is a powerful way to bond with a cat. All you have to do is sit or lay near it; many cats will naturally come close to take advantage of your warmth. Don’t pick up an unfamiliar cat or place them in your lap. Let it happen organically, on the cat’s own terms. Sitting still, in a relaxed pose, is the easiest way to become a cat’s target for snuggling.
2. Bring treats.
All animals feel calmer when there’s food nearby. Use food as a bridge, but don’t use it to lure the cat to come closer than it’s ready to. Most cats find Temptations cat treats irresistible. If you don’t have time to make a trip to the pet store, you can also try very small amounts of cheese, eggs, meat or fish. Dehydrated meat treats are tempting, high-protein treats; just make sure it’s not made with garlic, herbs or spices. If the cat does not belong to you, ask before offering a treat. Some cats have food allergies or intolerances.
3. Approach with care.
Cats have ingrained instincts to fear birds of prey – anything swooping down from above. Avoid stooping over the cat, approaching from the front, or making sudden movements. Spending time in the kitty’s space (but not getting in their face) will allow them to settle in your presence and become familiar with you at their own pace.
4. Fake a yawn.
Cats may yawn to communicate with other cats. It’s their way of saying, “I’m relaxed, we’re safe!” Yawning shows that you are not a threat, and communicates that you are in a calm, relaxed state. Yawning is contagious between species, so you just might get a yawn in return.
5. Let the cat pet you.
As the cat approaches you, they may begin to rub their face against your hand, legs or body. You may be tempted to pet their back. However, many cats prefer to control how they are being stroked. It’s better to rest your hand near their face or body and allow them to rub against you.
6. Slow-blink like a cat.
Let eye contact happen naturally. When you catch the cat’s eye, lower your eyelids and blink slowly, just like a cat basking in the sun. If the cat likes you and feels safe around you, they might just “slow blink” right back.
7. Breathe deeply.
Taking long, slow, deep breaths shows the cat that you’re calm and relaxed. This will also help you slow down and become in tune with the cat. Deep breathing also slows down your heartbeat.
8. Play hard to get.
You can make a kissing noise or whisper “pssh pssh pssh” at a cat to get their attention, but don’t reach for them. Instead, look away the moment they look your way. This is a great way to evoke a cat’s curiosity and encourage them to come closer to you.
9. Get a box.
Cats are instinctively drawn to boxes. Set down a cardboard box next to you and wait for the cat to leap inside. Curling up inside an enclosed space lowers the cat’s stress levels and makes them feel safe. Once they’ve settled into the box, you may decide to reach a hand inside to stroke them, or you can use a toy to play “peek a boo” over the edge if the cat is feeling playful.
10. Speak or sing softly.
Cats respond best to high-pitched sounds. You can hum, sing or speak softly to get a cat’s attention. They may find a low tone threatening, even if you naturally have a deep voice.
Do you remember how you first bonded with your cat? Share in the comments!