Cats May Prefer Humans Who Play “Hard To Get”

Written by: Dina Fantegrossi
Dina Fantegrossi is the Assistant Editor and Head Writer for HomeLife Media. Before her career in writing, Dina was a veterinary technician for more than 15 years.Read more
| Published on April 4, 2017

Have you ever encountered a gorgeous cat only to watch helpless and heartbroken as it showers some anti-feline impostor with affection and ignores you completely?

Why is it that cats seem determined to convert these hard-to-get humans into cat lovers? Could it be that their aloof behavior is more appealing to felines than our over-the-top displays of devotion?

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Let’s break it down from a cat’s point of view. A person who isn’t a kitty fan will likely attempt to ignore the animal completely. On the other hand, hopeless cat enthusiasts cannot resist directing our laser focus onto the object of our desire. We make a beeline for the kitty in question, speak in a high-pitched voice, and do everything in our power to make friends.

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As difficult as it may be, if you want to win a cat over, you have to play it cool! Let the feline make the first move by approaching you in its own time. Offer your knuckle so the cat can get your scent. It will probably rub its cheek along your hand. Here comes the hard part – ignore the kitty for several minutes while it sniffs around your legs and grows accustomed to you.

The goal of the next step is to always leave the cat wanting more. Offer one head-to-tail stroke – no more! – and stop. After a few minutes, you can make contact again for a few strokes, but make sure that you are the one to end each session.

Eye contact is a complicated subject when it comes to cats. They tend to see direct eye contact as aggressive or threatening, so our adoring stares may be met with suspicion. Meanwhile, the non-cat person who hardly glances at the cat inadvertently comes off as safe and irresistible. Hence, your lap remains cat-less as some ingrate gets all the head-butts that should rightfully be yours!

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In order to turn the tables, try staying quiet, adopting a relaxed posture, and gazing at the cat with slowly blinking eyes. As opposed to eager, intense eye contact, this calm, slow blinking is a sign of friendliness and affection. If kitty returns the gesture, you’re golden! Essentially, the “long, slow blink” is cat-speak for “I trust you enough to close my eyes in your presence.”

The next time you encounter the cat, start with a slight nod and little to no eye contact, followed by the knuckle and the single head-to-tail stroke. Add in the long, slow blinks and you have yourself one intense kitty friendship in the making!

H/T to Slate

Featured Image via Flickr/Evan Blaser

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