How to Befriend a Cat / by Caitlin Unsell

For many of us, when we see an unfamiliar cat we recognize it as an opportunity to make a new friend. If you love cats but can't seem to become the "cat whisperer" you've always dreamed of, it could be that you're not quite approaching kitties in the right way.

Whether you're befriending a cat at NEKO Cat Cafe in Seattle while getting your morning coffee, meeting a friend's cat, or saying hi to a random stray, NEKO has a few tips for you two to become the best of buddies. 

1. Make eye contact with the cat and get down to their level. Picture a giant stranger towering over you trying to get close. Human or cat, it's alarming. Being closer to their height will make you feel more approachable. 

2. Keep your distance at first and hold out your hand. If the cat isn't feral (meaning it wasn't born in the wild) and it's just a stray, you have a much better chance at a good friendship outcome. If the cat is interested, it will likely hesitate but show interest.

3. Use treats as a bribe. If you have something to give, you immediately become a much more alluring person to the cat.

4. Move slowly, staying low and holding out your treat. If you move too quickly, the cat could get spooked and you could lose your chance. 

5. If the cat responds, let him/her sniff your hand first before reaching for some face scratches. Animals are super sensitive to smell, so allowing the cat to familiarize itself with your scent is important. (Plus, it will remember you later by scent if you two meet again!)

6. Reach out for some pets! If you've gotten this far, you've done it! You've successfully made a cat friend. :)

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