Don’t you just hate it when you “meow” at a cat and they don’t “meow” back? To be honest, it’s not their fault. Cat Whisperer, Jackson Galaxy, explains that meowing is the cat’s way of trying to communicate with us in our own language but it’s not their natural method. We’ve been trying to introduce ourselves wrong the whole time! Here are the 10 cat introduction etiquette rules:
1. Bond while they’re young.
The cat is capable of social interactions and forming relationships as early as 2 weeks of age. Let the cat feel safe and loved. Avoid letting them feel any negativity and protect them from painful situations.
2. Observe the cat’s body language.
Tail up means they feel like socializing while tail down means they’re disinterested or in hunting mode. If they stare it at you, they’re uncomfortable while blinking indicates the opposite.
3. Make yourself small.
Cats are very sensitive to the body language of humans and other animals. They observe even the smallest shifts. Allowing yourself to seem smaller makes you less intimidating to them. Experts like Dr. Marci Koski, Ph.D., crouch when meeting a cat for the first time.
4. No direct eye contact.
This can come as intimidating to a cat or even aggressive. You can look at it briefly but then pretend to turn your attention elsewhere. Keep eye contact to glancing. Staring is even worse. It’s considered a threat among felines. Blink a few times when they make eye contact with you before looking away.
5. Don’t pay attention to the cat.
When it wants to bond, it’ll approach you and try to get your attention. Sit or lay down on the floor to make yourself seem less daunting. The cat will become more relaxed and will consider you less of a danger.
6. Let the cat sniff or lick you.
Sniffing is how cats say hi for the first time. They have special glands and acute sense of smell that allows them to identify people as well as other animals by their scent. A cat would also lick you as a way of getting to know you.
7. Give treats/food.
Place them on the ground between the two of you until they’re comfortable enough to take it from your hand. Opt for those that emit strong smells of fish, catnip, and other feline favourites.
8. Offer toys.
Playtime is a great way to bond but remember cats like their space. Don’t force them to play if they don’t want to and keep it short.
9. Pet only when they let you.
If they lay on their side or stretch in front of you, it means they’re comfortable enough that they can relax and let you touch them. They can also try to get your attention by lightly holding you with their claws. Avoid trying to pet a cat that’s scared. You’ll know when they lie with their ears back and stiff. Any attempt of physical contact would invite aggression from the cat.
10. ve them their space.
Cats are very independent and like doing things at their own pace. It needs a place where it feels safe, an area they can escape to when they start to become overwhelmed. When approaching the space, never make the cat feel cornered.