If you are thinking about adopting a new cat, you may be feeling a little nervous about bringing him or her home for the first time. Logically, you want to make sure that your new furry friend is going to accept you and embrace its new surroundings. Any cat lover knows that you can’t just force your love onto a cat. It takes a bit of finesse to gain their approval. Here are six tips to introduce yourself to a new cat.
1. Don’t Hover Above Them
The best thing you can do is begin by getting down to their level. Imagine how you would feel if there was a giant hovering above you. Sit down on the floor during the initial introduction. Making yourself smaller helps a cat feel more comfortable.
2. Extend One Finger
Instead of beginning by presenting your entire hand for the cat to sniff, start by extending only your index finger, and allowing the cat to come to you. It will likely begin to sniff or lick your fingertip.
3. Let the Cat Take the Lead
The next thing the cat might do is rub its head on your hand. This means that everything is going as it should, for now. Don’t make the mistake of petting the cat just yet. Petting the cat too soon might cause it to become afraid of you.
4. Avoid Prolonged Eye Contact
To cats, when you stare at them in the eyes, they view it as a sign of aggressiveness or perceive it as you trying to confront them in some way. You can certainly look at the cat, but avoid staring into their eyes for long periods of time.
5. Pay Attention to Body Language
Every cat has places on its body where it likes to be petted and places where it wants you to leave alone. Pay attention to body language such as how its tail is moving, if it is staring at you or if it turns its head quickly to look at you. These signs may mean that the cat has become overstimulated. If this is the case, the cat may strike out and claw or bite you to make you stop.
6. Leave the Cat Alone if Necessary
It is in a cat’s very nature at times to not want to interact with you at all. Never force a cat to pay attention to you, and don’t take it personally. It doesn’t mean that the cat doesn’t like you. It just means that it has its own reason for wanting you to stay away. If you honor its request and leave them alone for now, he or she is more likely to come to you later with a positive demeanor.
What About Meeting Your Friend’s Cat?
All of the same suggestions apply here, in regards to meeting someone else’s cat. However, it would be wise to stay a step ahead of the game and ask the cat’s owner ahead of time where the cat likes to be petted and where it doesn’t like it.
Keep in mind that even if you have met your friend’s cat before, you may need to reintroduce yourself again. This is because you might smell different, look different or act differently than you did last time you were there.
Remember that every cat has its own unique personality. Providing that you acknowledge and respect its wishes about how to approach him or her and pet them only when and where they wish to be petted, you will start things off on the right foot.