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Winning the Cat Over

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If you’re dating somebody who has a cat, your best strategy is patience, said Sophia Yin, DVM, MS, an animal behaviorist in Davis, Calif. “Cats generally wait until they’re ready to come to you, so let them take the lead.”

Here are a few more suggestions:

  • On first approach, get down on your knees. It’s less threatening to the animal than if you loom large in the fully upright position.
  • When the cat does approach, put your hand out so it can sniff you.
  • Let the cat get used to your smell before you try to pet it. Once it gets used to it, it’ll loosen up a bit. “If it comes close to you, you can try to pet it,” Yin said, “but not if it’s acting neutral or twitching its tail. Then, I’d wait.”
  • Give toys and treats since cats are more inclined to be nice when they realize you come bearing sustenance.
  • Let the cat take the lead in terms of being affectionate.
  • Don’t pick up the cat since most don’t like it. Also, go easy on loud noises or sudden movements.
  • When you and the cat are more familiar, learn what the cat likes (a good chin scratch, a belly rub) and then do it regularly.
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