Do you have a cat who routinely seems to head toward the one visitor in your home who doesn’t like cats? Is it some kind of radar? Does your cat take pleasure in watching your guest’s eyes pop out of their head in fear of the approaching feline? You can relax because it’s not some kind of kitty conspiracy.
The reason your cat can zero in on the visitors who dislike cats or the ones who are highly allergic is that person, in almost all cases, makes absolutely no attempt to interact. There’s no direct eye contact and you can bet that visitor won’t reach down to pet or hold your cat
From the Cat’s Point of View
Cats are territorial and from their point of view, your home is their territory. When guests come over for a visit some cats view them with suspicion. After all, these visitors have an unfamiliar scent and move and sound not at all like familiar family members. The cat lovers who visit your home may rush right over to the cat to greet him without paying attention to body language and signals that the cat is giving that clearly say “back off.” The guest who immediately approaches your cat doesn’t give him time to do any kind of scent investigation or make a determination about whether the approaching human is friend or foe. The cat haters or the people with cat allergies, however, will ignore the cat and this gives him all the freedom he needs to check them out at his own pace.
A Better Approach
If you know your cat views guests with suspicion, then inform them beforehand not to initiate any interaction. Let your cat feel comfortable enough to approach in his own time to do a scent investigation. The guests shouldn’t look directly at the cat, talk to him or attempt to touch him.
After a few visits where your cat realizes he has the choice of whether to interact or not without the fear of being grabbed and held, he may start relaxing enough to approach more quickly. When that happens, inform your guests to merely reach out and extend an index finger for the kitty to sniff. This is the equivalent of nose-to-nose sniffing that cats do with each other. Nose-to-nose sniffing is a very polite greeting and, if after that initial greeting, one or both cats want further interaction they will move toward each other. So if your cat sniffs the guest’s index finger and decides he’d like to be petted, he’ll probably rub against the finger or move closer to the guest. If he doesn’t want further interaction, he’ll stay in place or move away. Just make sure your cat always has the choice of whether to socialize or not.
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