Friends We're Not | Why Cats Go To People Who Don't Like Them

Curiosity is one reason why cats go to people who don't like them.
Dear Thomasina...
 Can you tell me why cats go to people who don't like them? No insult, but I don't like cats. So why do they come to me instead of people who love them?
-- Annoyed

Hi Annoyed!
I'm not insulted at all. There's actually a good reason why some cats go to people who don't like them. And I realize there are people don't like cats, and some cats don't like people, so I guess it all evens out in the end.

I like almost everybody!

To answer your question about why cats go to people who don't like them, instinct tells us to be very cautious around people we don't know. So when cat lovers tromp right up to us and start petting away, we're beyond alarmed and leave as fast as we can. No insult to them, but we appreciate having some time to get acquainted before a total stranger starts smothering us in affection.

Why Cats Like You Although You Don't Like Them

The other thing to keep in mind about instinct is that cats are curious and like to check new things out. And that's another reason why cats go to people who don't like them.

Although you're trying to ignore the cat, he's not ignoring you. In fact, he finds you very interesting. And since you're not paying attention to him, you don't seem scary or dangerous. He's pretty sure he can satisfy his curiosity and find out how you smell and maybe even how you feel, and you won't even notice.

Although this may sound counterintuitive (my human typist just had to add that), if you want a cat to stay away from you, pay attention to him. Look at him, walk up to him, and reach out to him. Chances are, he'll leave.

Making Friends With A New Cat

Reaching a finger out to a cat is a good way of getting acquainted.
© vertraut - Fotolia.com
If you should change your mind and decide you want to become friends with a cat, here are some ways to make him trust and like you.
-- Get down to his level. Sit on the floor so you don't look so overwhelming.
-- Blink at him. That's catspeak for "I want to be friends."
-- Reach one finger out to him, so he can sniff if he wants to. This is sort of like a cat sniffing another cat's nose. It's a very polite greeting!
-- Give him some treats, but put them a few feet away from you. They're not going to feel like a treat if he has to stand right next to a total stranger to eat them.

I hope this helps, Annoyed. Hey, if you'd like to try learning to like cats, come visit me. I really know how to turn on the charm and make people love me. But only when I'm in the mood, of course. If you catch me on the wrong day, I might ignore you while you're ignoring me. That's just the way cats are.

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