Hey kitty friends, lets learn some cat body language!
If you’re like me, you love meeting new cats – but how do you make a good impression on a cat? If you were meeting your new boss, you would probably say “Nice to meet you” and shake their hand right? So what is the equivalent in cat language?
If a cat has no interest in you there’s no point in trying to swamp them with affections or endlessly click your fingers at them. If a cat is ignoring you, you can try the “slow blink” and avoid staring at the cat too much. You could bribe them with treats (if their owner allows it). Once the cat approaches you and indicates it would like to interact, then you can go to the hand shake.
The Cat Hand-Shake
Shaking your cats paw isn’t going to work, it will probably just piss the cat off. So how would you translate a handshake into cat language? First you slowly put your hand out, down low for the cat to approach and sniff. You should avoid moving too suddenly, and make sure you freeze your hand in place as it is being sniffed so that your hand is very non-threatening. If you don’t smell suspicious (like a vet) – then the cat will bow their head a tiny bit as if asking you to pat them. I sometimes think it looks like they are bowing to receive their knighthood!. This is literally them saying “You don’t smell suspicious, I think we could be friends” even if feels more like “You meet my requirements as a human-slave, pat me to begin your contract”.
Very enthusiastic cats may not wait for you to pat their head – they may launch into a cheek rub or a headbutt against your hand. The end result is the same, you have a new friend.
First impressions count
I’ve certainly taken an immediate dislike to humans whose first impression is arrogance or rudeness before and cats are no different. By trying to pat a cat before they have “cleared” you to do so, you open yourself up to them grabbing you with claws or teeth, or you may scare them and they could scamper. It would be the equivalent to being hugged by a complete stranger on the street. You have to wait for “permission to pat” from a cat!