Your new roommate's cat is adorable, but she always runs away when you walk into the room. Or maybe your new boyfriend has a feline roomie who persistently stares at you from across the room but won't let you pet her. Most cats need some time to warm up to strangers, but that doesn't mean you can't take steps in starting an amazing relationship with a new friend! These tips can help you master the process of charming an unfamiliar feline.
Don't Force It
Cats tend to make their feelings clear, so if you're dealing with a kitty who would rather disappear than let you pet him, he's not just playing hard to get. If you become impatient and get too aggressive in your approach, you'll probably scare him and ruin any progress you've made up to that point. Respect the cat's boundaries and follow his lead. Try to get his attention by inviting him to play with you and a favorite toy, but don't be offended if he doesn't immediately take the bait!
Serve Up Some Love
Use a social trick that is as old as time: food. A tasty meal or treat is a great way to get on the good side of a person, and it works equally well for many animals. It may still take some coaxing, but even a shy cat has trouble resisting something tasty like Freshpet's grain free cat food
, which includes a range of tempting recipes to entice virtually any cat.
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Photo courtesy of GloGirly.com[/caption]
This “friendship-through-feeding” approach is a particularly good idea if the cat in question lives with someone you see often, like a romantic partner. You can even try feeding the cat at regular mealtimes for a while. Establishing yourself as a food source makes it clear that you're a great person for a cat to befriend. It's also a good idea to keep some treats in your pocket, just in case the cat comes close enough to sniff you. If you smell like something he enjoys, he just might stick around.
When you finally get close enough to make contact, don't dart your hand out quickly or try to grab the cat. The ideal process for petting a cat the first time requires some finesse. Extend your hand slowly and let the cat sniff it. If she rubs up against your hand, you're in. Pet her using gentle scratches at the base of the chin or behind the ears, rather than patting the belly or stroking the cat's entire body. Starting small with slow, gentle motions is the best way to avoid startling or annoying your new four-legged friend.
Using a combination of these approaches over time should make you irresistible to a shy cat. Just be patient and know that you'll make friends eventually. Trust us - Good things like cat cuddles are worth the wait!