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How to approach cats?

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 
I'm not too accustomed to cats!

I see people when I go for walks just going up to cat (not strays or ferals) and petting them and the cats look content. How do I go about this? Do I put my hand out and let them lick it?

Someone said to put a little vaseline on my hand and let the cat lick it off and then pet them?
post #2 of 7
I'm not too sure about the vaseline because it contains petroleum i'm sure?.
post #3 of 7
When I appraoch a cat I don't know well I stick my fist out and let them smell me. If they seem ok then I'll try to pet them and see how they react. That said it isn't a good idea to appraoch a cat you don't know. You never know if it is feral or stray and what it's temperment might be like. My guess is that most of these people you see know the cats some how.
post #4 of 7
You can tell a cat is feeling friendly and confident if it walks up to you with its tail up in the air.

Not all cats like to be petted by people they've just met, but a good way to greet one is to reach out a hand at about its nose level and see if it stretches forward to sniff your hand. That is the way cats greet each other (except they usually sniff butts afterwards and I have a feeling you are not too into that!). Some cats, the ones who really like petting, will push their heads into your hand.

You really have to look at what the cat is "saying" and take it on a case by case basis. Each cat is different.
post #5 of 7
I talk to them first and watch their body language. Usually you let the cat approach you unless you get down to their level.

Talk in a soft tone of voice and go from there.
post #6 of 7
One important thing is to stoop down, not stand up, towering over the cat.
post #7 of 7
Cats like affection on their own terms. They will usually let you know if they want you to give them a pet! I was raised with dogs, so until I met my husband and his cats, I didn't really know how to deal with them. But, they like to give you a sniff (like dogs) and then their body language will tell you if they want a pet. Speak to them in a soothing voice (like you would to an upset baby), stoop down and move a bit slowly. You want them to know you mean them no harm, so quick sudden movements will just scare them!

Strays or ferals will probably not even let you come that close to them (particularly ferals). We have a huge mix of cats that hang out around our house - a feral or two, a pub cat and a few house cats. You can always tell which is which, as the house cats will usually run straight up to us, the pub cat will cautiously allow you to stroke him and the ferals bolt when you get within ten feet of them.
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