How to Get a Cat to Like You

Two Parts:Developing Positive Interactions With Your CatAvoiding What Your Cat Does Not Like

By nature, cats tend to be more independent than dogs.[1] Although your cat’s independence may look like she is being standoffish or aloof, she can actually become very affectionate with you. Her affections will help improve and deepen your relationship with her. Depending on your cat’s personality, getting her to like you and bond with you may take a lot of time and patience. No need to worry, though—the more your cat likes you, the happier she will be, and the happier you will be with her.

Part 1
Developing Positive Interactions With Your Cat

  1. Image titled Get a Cat to Like You Step 1
    Learn her body language. As your cat gets more comfortable with you, she will demonstrate body language that shows she likes you. Understanding this body language will help you gauge how comfortable your cat is with you. For example, she may demonstrate head bunting, in which she will lower her head and rub the top her head against your head or other body part.[2] This is a clear sign that your cat has affection for you.
    • Your cat has scent glands near her ears, so head bunting is a way for her to leave her scent on you.[3] She may also rub her cheek against you to mark you with her scent.[4] Marking you with her scent is one way of her communicating that she likes you.
    • To show you that she likes you, your cat may establish eye contact with you and softly blink. The eye contact demonstrates that she trusts you.[5] Softly blinking back at her will show her that the trust is mutual.
    • Imitating some of your cat’s body language back to her, such as the head bunting and soft blinking, will deepen your bond with her and show her that you have affection for her.
    • Other examples of her affectionate body language include soft purring, kneading you with her front paws (“making biscuits”), sitting on your lap, and licking you.[6][7]
  2. Image titled Get a Cat to Like You Step 2
    Provide her with plenty of toys. Toys will keep your cat mentally and physically stimulated in your home. This type of environmental enrichment is a great way to get her to like you. Your cat may prefer certain toys to others, depending on her personality. For example, if she likes to chase things, she may enjoy toys that dangle from a pole.[8]
    • If you have an older and/or more sedate cat, she may prefer a toy that she does not have run or chase after, such as a catnip-filled toy that she can play with when laying down.[9]
    • Be sure to rotate the toys on a regular basis so that she does not become bored with her toy selection.[10]
    • If you do not want to spend a lot of money on toys, you can also turn common household items into toys for your cat. For example, empty toilet paper or paper towel rolls and paper bags with the handles removed can be fun for your cat to play with.[11]
    • Be mindful of toys that your cat should not play with—ribbons, strings, rubber bands—due to the potential of her swallowing them. Swallowing any of these toys could lead them to getting stuck in, and wrapped around, your cat's intestines. This would lead to serious medical problems requiring extensive veterinary care. These medical problems could be even fatal.
    • Also, be aware of toys that have smaller components, such as plastic eyes, that your cat could remove and potentially swallow.[12]
    • If you are unsure about which toys would work best for your cat, talk with your veterinarian or visit your local pet store for additional advice.
  3. Image titled Get a Cat to Like You Step 3
    Schedule regular playtime with your cat. Your cat is likely very independent and can probably entertain herself.[13] However, she still needs to have regular interactions with you to bond with you and like you. Cats tend to be most active at dawn and dusk,[14] so it would be good to schedule your playtime with her at these general times of day.
    • If your work schedule allows for it, schedule play sessions at dawn and dusk, with each session lasting 5 to 15 minutes. Keep in mind that older or overweight cats may not have the endurance for long play sessions.[15][16]
    • No matter what time of day you play with her, make sure that your playtime is at about the same time each day. This will give her something to look forward to, and will help you develop and maintain regular and positive bonding sessions with her.[17]
  4. Image titled Get a Cat to Like You Step 4
    Maintain a regular feeding schedule. You may not realize it, but feeding your cat is an opportunity to bond with her. In addition, it is very important that your cat see you as her food source. For these reasons, it is preferable to feed your cat at specific times of day, rather than leaving food out for her all day.[18]
    • Ideally, the first ingredient of her food should be a protein, such as turkey or chicken.[19]
    • Because of the wide variety of cat food available at your grocery store and local pet store, consult with your veterinarian to determine which type of food would be best for your cat. Depending on your cat’s age and current health status, some foods may be better for her than others.
    • How often you feed your cat partially depends on her age. Kittens up to 6 months of age should be fed 3 times a day. Twice-daily feedings are good for cats who 6 months of age to 1 year old. Beyond 1 year of age, once-daily feedings should be sufficient.[20]
    • Certain medical conditions, such as diabetes, can also influence how often you feed your cat.[21]
    • The amount to feed your cat will depend on several factors, such as her size, activity level, and age.[22][23] Although there is no 'one size fits all' approach to how much to feed your cat, there are some general weight-based recommendations for dry food: 5 lbs (1/4 to 1/3 cup), 10 lbs (3/8 to 1/2 cup), and 15 lbs (1/2 to 3/4 cup).[24]
    • Consult with your veterinarian about the amount and type of food you should feed your cat at feeding time.
  5. Image titled Get a Cat to Like You Step 5
    Give your cat treats. Giving your cat the occasional treat can also be a good way to get your cat to like you. Treats should make up only a small part of your cat's diet (10 to 15% of her daily diet),[25] since they provide little nutritional benefit. A helpful rule of thumb is to give your cat treats no more than 2 to 3 times per week.[26]
    • Cat treats are available at your local pet store and grocery store.
    • In general, do not treat your cat with human food. In fact, some human foods (e.g., grapes, onions, raisins) are toxic to your cat and should be avoided.[27]
    • Catnip is an excellent treat for cats.[28]
    • Treats are useful when rewarding her for good behavior.
  6. Image titled Get a Cat to Like You Step 6
    Pet your cat. Petting is another great way to bond with your cat and get her to like you. Cats love to be petted near the areas of their scent glands: base of the chin, base of the ears, the cheeks behind the whiskers, and the base of the tail. Your cat actually derives enjoyment when she rubs these areas against you or your furniture to mark her territory. Similarly, she will love when you pet her in these areas.[29]
    • Keep in mind that your cat may not want to be petted all the time, or for long periods of time, even when she’s looking relaxed and content. If her body language tells you that she is overstimulated by petting (dilated pupils, fur twitches, tail wagging like a dog),[30] or she tries to move away from you, give her some space to be alone. Let her dictate how much she is comfortable with you petting her.[31]
    • When you pet her, gently stroke your hand in the areas where she likes to be petted. You can even talk to her in a calm and soothing voice to make the experience more enjoyable for the both of you.
    • In addition to petting your cat, consider brushing and grooming her,[32] if she will let you. Brushing and grooming are ways for you to learn the areas in which your cat likes, and does not like, to be touched.
  7. Image titled Get a Cat to Like You Step 7
    Have quiet interactions with your cat. This is especially useful if you have a timid or anxious cat. Keeping your interactions quiet and calm will help her warm up to you and become more comfortable with you. Examples of quiet interactions include sitting quietly on the floor or reading a book on the couch when she is in the room with you.[33]

Part 2
Avoiding What Your Cat Does Not Like

  1. Image titled Get a Cat to Like You Step 8
    Refrain from petting your cat on her belly. Knowing what your cat does not like will help you avoid doing the things that could jeopardize your bond with her. Unlike dogs, cats generally do not like belly rubs. In fact, if you try to rub her belly, she may instinctively react defensively by extending her claws and trying to bite you.[34]
    • In the wild, cats are aware that they can be predator and prey at the same time. The belly houses the most vital organs,[35] so if you reach for her belly when she is unaware of your harmless intentions, her prey mentality might be triggered and she may do all she can to protect that area of her body.
    • When your cat is stretched out and showing her belly, she may feeling very relaxed and comfortable in her environment.[36] However, she might be demonstrating defensive behavior.[37] To be on the safe side, do not mistake the showing of her belly as your cat's invitation to rub her belly.[38]
    • Even though some cats may not mind their bellies being rubbed, it is best to avoid this area and pet your cat only in the areas where you know she enjoys being touched.[39]
  2. Image titled Get a Cat to Like You Step 9
    Do not force interactions with your cat. As mentioned before, follow your cat’s lead when it comes to how much she wants to interact with you.[40] Forcing her to play with you, or trying to pet her when she does not want be petted, will probably make your cat like you less. She may even become fearful of you because she does not trust that you will her respect her space.
    • Just as your cat can show you affectionate body language (e.g., purring, head bunting), she can also let you know when she's had enough and wants to be alone. For example, if she starts growling, hissing, or spitting, give her some space and alone time until she calms down.[41]
    • Your cat may also simply become physically tired from playing and will probably stop on her own.
    • Avoiding forced interactions is especially important if your cat is timid.[42]
  3. Image titled Get a Cat to Like You Step 10
    Do not yell at or physically punish your cat. Physically punishing your cat is not effective, since she will not be able to make a direct association between her behavior and your punishment. Instead, consider giving her a timeout, during which you simply leave the room without talking to her or interacting with her.[43] Soon enough, she will realize that certain behaviors result in you not interacting with her (a negative result in her mind) and will discontinue those behaviors.[44]
    • Physically punishing your cat will likely make her fearful and wary of you.[45]
    • Rather than yelling at her, you can try giving her a firm ‘no’ in a stern voice when she demonstrates bad behavior.[46]


  • Be patient! Your cat will decide how comfortable she wants to become with you and when, so do not rush or force the process.
  • Remember that not all cats like to be held or picked up.[47] Pay attention to your cat’s body language to determine if she wants or likes to be held.
  • If there are multiple people in your household, be aware that your cat may not bond equally with each member of the household. She may end up liking or bonding with one person more than another.[48]
  • Although catnip can add to a cat’s enjoyment during playtime, not all cats react the same to catnip. Some cats may become relaxed, while others may become overstimulated and start to engage in aggressive play.[49] Monitor your cat to see how she reacts to catnip.
  • If your cat does not seem to be warming up to you, consider talking to your veterinarian or a cat behaviourist for additional guidance on bonding with your cat.
  • When a cat pulls his face away and ducks, it usually wants time to relax.
  • Be sure if it's new to your home to give it time to explore the house and become familiar with it. Don't worry if you don't see the animal for awhile, should it venture into dark corners or under furniture.


  • Strings, ribbons, and rubber bands can cause serious and potentially fatal medical problems for your cat if she swallows them. Keep these items out of reach of your cat.

Sources and Citations

Show more... (46)

Article Info

Categories: Getting a Cat