Why Do Cats Flock to Me? I'm Not a Cat Person!

CatChannel and CAT FANCY cat behaviorist Marilyn Krieger, CCBC, shares ways to attract cats to you, whether you are ? or are not ? a cat person.

By Cat Behaviorist Marilyn Krieger, CCBC | Posted: December 22, 2011, 3 p.m. PST

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Q: Even though my new wife is a cat person and I am a dog person we both love all animals. We adopted a gray tiger-stripe kitten and she has become attached to me. Then we adopted a Munchkin kitten who came from a farm, almost dying from malnutrition, whom we nursed back to health. Both cats sleep with me and follow me around like puppy dogs.
 
Even though I’m not a cat person, cats for some reason take to me. Cats who normally hide when strangers appear often come and jump in my lap. I have no idea why cats are attracted to me. I know it frustrates my wife because she does everything to love cats and they do not show her love in return. What can we do to have cats show her the love they show me?

A: Sometimes, people who are not particularly partial to cats find they are cat-magnets when they visit homes where cats live. Even though they would rather not fraternize with the resident cats, these reluctant cat-charmers find that cats favor their laps after they sit down and make themselves comfortable. Often this phenomenon frustrates some of the other guests who are doing everything they can think of, and then failing to become the focus of the cat’s attentions.

Cats often favor people who ignore them and they ignore the people who adore them. How people approach or ignore cats’ factors into how cats behave towards the individuals around them. Cats respond best to strangers when they feel safe and have a choice of interacting with them. Often people who love cats, in their attempts to socialize with them, will approach and hover over them or reach out and try to pet them. Even though their intentions are good, many cats will not respond favorably to these overtures.  

These same cats often like the seated person who ignores them. When a person sits, they are closer to the cats’ level and appear less threatening to the cat. Additionally, ignoring the cat allows the cat to fraternize on his own terms, when he feels safe.

Your wife can become a cat-magnet through non-action — not approaching or trying to pet them. Instead, she should sit quietly on a chair, allowing the cat to make the first move.

She can influence the cat to socialize through a formal cat greeting. Sit a few feet away or across the room from the cat. Extend one finger toward the cat, at cat nose level. If the cat wants to say hello, he will approach, touch the outstretched finger with his nose, then turn his head until the finger is on his cheek. This is the invitation to pet the cat’s cheek, neck and back of his head.

Patience is important. If your wife is in a hurry to socialize with the cat, most likely the cat will choose to avoid her. Another factor to consider is each cat’s history. Some cats do not trust people and prefer never to talk to strangers — others need a little more time to overcome their shyness. Your wife should not take it personally.
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Reader Comments

Thomas    International

12/26/2013 7:51:13 PM

Cats choose people, not the other way around. We think we are in power, and the reality is in many situations we are not. This is why so many people don't like cats, they are like women. They choose do as they please, with whom they please and when they please.

Michalle    Portland, OR

1/3/2012 2:11:58 PM

Our cat Smudge picked my husband when she was a kitten by sitting at his feet. He didn'tfuss at her and acted calm. She is definitely a daddy's girl! This article is very good.

lou    N'ton, MA

1/2/2012 5:00:00 AM

I am a cat person and thanks for the hints

-    -, KS

1/2/2012 4:43:18 AM

-0-

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