How to get a cat to like you

How to get a cat to like you? How to get a stray cat to like and trust you? How to get a cat to come to you?

I’m going to answer these questions in this post, from experience of feeding feral cats for many years and having four feral cats living in my house.

How to get a feral cat to come to you

Put cats food in a a bowl and walk away. Do this for a while until the cat seems more at ease with you. Stand a bit closer to it every day, but not if it seems nervous.

It may take a long time for the feral cat to trust you, and it depends on the cat’s personality. It’ll take longer with a very frightened cat.

Sit down so the cat won’t be intimidated, and stay at a distance for long periods of time. This takes time and patience. You can read a book or play with a tablet. Avoid looking at the cat too much. Cats know when someone watches them, and it makes a cat who doesn’t know you nervous.

After a while, when the cat gets used to you, you can start taking to it. Place cats treats at a distance, and when the cat seems comfortable and not so afraid, put the treats closer and closer to you.

Choose the right cat

I have four feral cats living in my house, three of which have been adopted as adult cats. My Amiga won’t get off my lap. She loves being petted but won’t let me rub her stomach. Princessa rubs against me but won’t let me pet her. Hazelnut lets me pet her but almost never sits on my lap, and she’s been with me since age five weeks. Chocolate Paws won’t let me go near him, but he only shows up for mealtimes, and not every day.

Each cat has a different personality. Choose a cat that’s not too skittish. Some feral cats are actually friendly to strangers, although this is rare. I’ve had a feral cat jump on my lap while waiting for the bus, and he let me pet him.

Even if a cat is scared of strangers, she can still be a lap cat. My Amiga is scared of strangers. But a cat who’s very anxious, like my Princessa, may not allow petting. Princessa only allows me to pet her when she rubs against me, and only from the middle back and down, and she hisses sometimes when I do that. She’d claw me to death if I as much as try to touch her head or ears.

How to get a feral cat to trust you

You don’t want to scare the cat away with loud noise or too much moving. Be as quiet and still as possible.

Let the cat come to you. Wait until she seems comfortable with your presence and with being close to you, and then call her over and tap you hip gently. It’s an invitation for the cat to sit on your lap.

Don’t make too much eye contact. It scares cats.

Blink at the cat slowly. It soothes them.

When the cat seems comfortable with you being near, hold your finger to her nose and let her sniff you.

You can get a feral cat to love you. Feral cat can be loving if you take the right steps. Mine are crazy about me, so I know it can be done. Good luck.

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8 thoughts on “How to get a cat to like you

    1. Just trying it in itself is fun, an adventure, and then the reward you get when the cat likes you.

      I had a cat who won’t let me pet him for days, and scratched me when I tried. It took months until he started sitting on my lap, but then he won’t get off my lap. He’d practically lived on my lap.

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  1. I have not had much experience with feral cats. I used to work for Welcome Wagon where I would visit people who had moved into a new neighborhood or to this city from out of town. I remember one home had a cat, and the lady said that it wouldn’t come anywhere near me. Well, as they say, famous last words. That cat came up on me and got in my basket (we had to carry a basket with gifts) and when I was ready to leave, had a difficult time dumping the cat back out of the basket. I think they were really surprised. It was quite funny.

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    1. Cute and hilarious!

      I’ve had that happen to me with dogs. I had asked a few dogs owners if I can pet their dog, and they shrugged and said I could try, but the dog doesn’t let strangers pet it. And then the dogs came to me and let me pet them, and some wagged their tails and licked my hand. I’m good with animals.

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  2. That has been my experience with dogs too. I love animals and am not afraid of dogs even if they are barking at me. Of course I am not stupid and won’t get near a dog that looks vicious, or approach it too quickly. But often the barking has nothing vicious behind it.

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    1. I love petting dogs, but I do watch out for the barking ones. Sometimes dogs bark in greeting, which isn’t a problem at all. There’s one dog who’s so enthusiastic about me petting her, that whenever she sees me, she barks and pants and stands on two. I don’t mind this, but when a dog barks in fear, I won’t touch it. A frightened dog can bite. And then sometimes they bark angrily. There’s barking, and then there’s barking.

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