Obedient domestic cat giving paw
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The ‘Cat Handshake’: How To Introduce Yourself To A New Cat

Have you ever wondered why people who don’t like cats are often the first people cats will seek out in a room?

It’s not just because many cats like to be independent and unpredictable. In fact, the way that these people interact with cats can provide some pretty strong clues about the best way to introduce yourself to a cat.

What’s the best way to do a “cat handshake” and make a great feline first impression? Here are some tips for introducing yourself to a cat properly.

Don’t Pet A Cat Without An Invitation

One thing people who dislike cats do is not pet cats immediately.

Cats will often shy away from strangers who are overly outgoing. People who stay away from kitties and don’t try to pet them end up actually helping them by giving them more time to adjust to the human presence.

The lesson is this: Let a new cat approach you first. Don’t pet them until they approach you and give you an invitation.

Pet A New Cat Carefully & Slowly

People who don’t like cats also tend to be slower in their movements. Don’t squeal over a new cat and try to pet too fast or rough when they approach you.

Instead, just offer your hand to them, knuckles first. Give them a chance to sniff your hand and get used to your scent.

Then they may push your hand with their head. Pet softly and not for too long at first. With a new cat, it’s all about playing hard to get.

Avert Your Eyes & Then Do A Slow Blink

A ginger cat lays on the bed and sleeps with closed eyes and pulling out the front paws. Shallow focus and grey blurred background.
(Picture Credit: Mark_KA/Getty Images)

People who don’t like cats tend to also avert their eyes or look at cats for just a moment at a time. For some reason, cats like this from new people!

So don’t stare right into kitty’s eyes for a long period of time. When you do have their attention, do a slow blink. This means that you close your eyes slowly, hold them closed for a moment, and then open them slowly while looking at the cat.

In cat language, this means “I trust you.”

Watch Out For These Signs

Some cats are just too shy or too feral to bond with you the first time you meet them.

If a new cat is hissing, twitching their tail, or just running away from you, don’t try to pet them.

If you extend your hand and they run away like they’re scared, then don’t reach out to them again until they approach you and get even closer to you. Shy cats need to feel like they’re in charge of the interactions.

Introductory Play

playing kitten
(Picture Credit: lacaosa/Getty Images)

If you want to draw a new cat out of their shell, sometimes a good toy is the way to do it. Play time that involves stalking or swatting is best.

A wand toy that has a feather at the end can be really tough for a cat to resist. A cat laser pointer toy that shines a red dot might also get them to play a little.

Remember, when interacting with a new cat, the key is to proceed slowly and even be aloof for a while until the cat approaches you. If the cat belongs to a friend, ask if the cat is shy or likes to be petted. Then let the cat make the first move.

If you follow these tips, you may have a new friend before you know it!

Have you ever introduced yourself to a new cat? Got any tips for beginners? Let us know in the comments below!


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