How to Get Your Cat to Like You

Two Parts:Caring for Your CatEnjoying Quality Time with Kitty

Cats are popular pets throughout the world. But they can be very mercurial creatures, showing love one moment and avoiding or scratching you in the next. By establishing a positive relationship with your cat and understanding his behavior, you may be able to get your cat to like—and even love—you.

Part 1
Caring for Your Cat

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    Prepare your cat’s spaces. Cats love sleeping, having alone time, playing, and cleanliness. Preparing comfortable and clean spaces for your cat can help her relax and more readily accept you as her caregiver and “parent.”[1]
    • You may want to prepare a cozy bed for your cat. You can either buy a cushy pet bed or even make one yourself. Cats love boxes and making a bed out of a box with some blankets or towels in it may just be the trick. Consider putting something you wear in the bed to help her get used to your scent.
    • Make sure your kitty has a clean and new litter box.[2]
    • You may want to create a space where your kitty can play. For example, you could purchase a scratching post or have a box of toys she can chew and fetch that you put in an easily accessible area of your living room.[3]
    • Have another space designated for her food dishes. This can encourage her to eat in one place and lets her know that her meals will always be in the same place.
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    Feed your cat regularly. Your cat’s health relies in part on getting regular and healthy food. But you can also use her feedings to help establish your bond and help her love you.[4]
    • Consider feeding your kitty at the same time every day so that she gets into a routine and can approach you when the time(s) comes.[5]
    • Feed your cat a mixture of canned wet food, from which she can also get some moisture, and dry food. You can either mix these or put them in the different dishes.[6]
    • Give your kitty a bowl of water, too. Make sure to fill the dish with fresh and clean water every day.[7]
    • Many feline health professionals recommend feeding your cat at specific mealtimes as opposed to free feeding, which can make her gain weight.[8]
    • It’s best to not feed your cat table scraps, which can upset her stomach.[9]
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    Reward your cat with treats. If your cat is hesitant to come near you, place a cat treat on your hand, call her name, and let the cat eat it. This can show her that she can trust you and enjoy your company.
    • Be careful feeding your cat too many treats, which are often filled with sugar and can contribute to unhealthy weight gain. If you are concerned about this, consider giving her a taste of canned food instead.[10]
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    Clean the litter box daily. Cats are very sensitive to cleanliness, especially that of their litter box.[11] Clean your cat’s litter box daily, or more if needed, to help keep her happy and healthy.[12]
    • Consider purchasing a new litter box whenever you get a new cat and make sure it is large enough for the size cat you have. This can minimize the risk that she smells another cat and doesn’t want to use the box.
    • Litter boxes that are not clean can be frightening to cats, undermining your attempts to get her to like you.[13]
    • Cats do not avoid the litter box out of spite. Instead, it’s a sign that something is wrong. Determine what the problem is and rectify it as soon as possible.[14]
    • The most common reasons cats won’t use a litter box are: the cat is not neutered; she is unhappy with something about the litter box such as size or type of litter; she is sick; she feels unsafe around other cats; she is stressed by something and marking her territory.[15]
    • If you cannot clean the litter box regularly, you may want to invest in an electronic litter box, which will automatically clean the litter as soon as your cat is finished using it. You can purchase these at most pet stores.
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    Promote your cat’s health. A healthy cat is a happy cat, which will make her less likely to snap or dislike you. In addition to feeding and cleaning her litter box regularly, watch for signs of sickness or disease and visit your vet if something concerns you.
    • Not using the litter box can be a sign of a urinary tract infection, which will require that you visit the vet.
    • Like humans, dental issues can be serious and painful for cats. Watch for signs that eating is difficult for her including eating less, weight loss, or eating only on one side of her mouth.
    • Cats also need regular vaccinations against rabies, and distemper. Schedule an annual visit with your vet to get these vaccinations and have your cat’s overall health checked.

Part 2
Enjoying Quality Time with Kitty

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    Interact at the appropriate times. Just like humans, there are times when it’s best to give your cat some space. Allowing him to clean or sleep in peace can help him trust and like you and forge a strong bond.[16]
    • Avoid moving, petting, or playing with your cat when he is washing himself, eating, drinking, or sleeping. Doing so may scare, stress, or annoy him, which could result in an unpleasant reaction.[17]
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    Be gentle and loving. Always be gentle and loving with your cat. This demonstrates to him that he can trust you and may make him more likely to approach and seek out quality time with you.
    • Always pet and pick him up softly, keeping in mind that he is a lot smaller than you are.
    • Never squeeze your cat or pull his tail.
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    Let your cat approach you. Although you might be tempted to show your kitty love by following him and picking her up, this often goes against cat behavior. Allow your cat your approach you whenever he wants to help him relax and feel comfortable getting your attention.[18]
    • You can teach your cat to come when you call him—for food or otherwise—with simple training methods.[19]
    • Never chase your cat or use a loud voice with him. This can scare him not only in the moment, but also in the future.
    • If your cat doesn’t seem to want to come to you, try enticing him with a treat or some catnip.[20]
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    Position yourself at your cat’s height. If you squat, lie, or kneel down to the same level as your cat, you may appear less threatening. This may make him feel more relaxed in your presence and more likely to form a strong relationship with you.
    • You may find that lying down on the floor helps draw him to you.
    • Sitting on the sofa or in a chair may also be another way to get your cat to comfortably approach you.[21]
    • Since cats like to watch other small animals, consider lying or sitting near a window, which can provide him entertainment and give you the option of petting him while he perches.[22]
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    Stroke your cat. Cats are very alert and observant, which requires them to frequently hold up their heads. Pet and stroke your cat as he likes to relax her and help him to like you more.[23]
    • You can massage your cat’s neck or any other area that he might like such as his back, under his chin, or even his belly.
    • With time, you will recognize the spots on which your cat likes to be stroked and petted and you may find that he seeks you out for this.
    • Make sure to always be gentle when petting your cat.
    • Pet your cat as a reward for doing something good such as using his litter box. You may even want to offer occasional pats as you place his newly-filled food dish on the floor.
    • If you want to pet your cat and he is reluctant, just hold your hand out and let him sniff it. He might rub his cheek on your hand and feel more comfortable with you petting him at that juncture.
    • If you cat likes, allow him to fall asleep on you as you pet him.
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    Reciprocate your cat’s affection. One of the best ways to get your cat to like you is by showing affection beyond basic care. Petting, stroking, and playing with him helps form a bond of trust and love between you and your cat. Some typical ways your cat will show affection that you can reciprocate are:
    • Bumping heads. This is the way a cat says hello. It stimulates the oil glands in the front of his ears, leaving his scent on you. If he bumps your head, bump him back gently.
    • Presenting his butt. Your cat may back up to your face and lift his tail. This means he wants you, his parent, to clean him. You can reciprocate by blowing gently at his bum, which he will associate with you and your cleaning style.
    • Kneading you. This is a sign that your cat is happy and associates you with his mother. Allow him to knead as much as he likes to help him relax and forge your bond.
    • Licking you. Grooming is one way that cats establish a common scent among their clan. Licking allows him to claim you as his own and may help further promote your relationship.[24]
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    Talk to your cat. It’s important that your cat knows his name, so talk to him often and refer to him by name. If he meows, talk back to her. This can make your cat happy and more likely to seek you out when he wants attention.[25]
    • For example, if it’s close to your cat’s mealtime and he starts to meow, you can say “Are you hungry, Sam?” and carry on the conversation as long as he continues to meow.
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    Play with your cat. Cats are naturally energetic and require enrichment through play to stay happy and healthy. Playing with your cat and providing him with toys to stimulate him can help him stay happy and get him to like you more.[26]
    • Give your cat a variety of toys including ones that he can throw himself, ones that require your interaction, and others that give him the opportunity to “hunt.”[27] Most pet stores will offer different types of toys to stimulate your cat.
    • When using toys that require interaction with you, such as wiggling or dangling options, talk to your cat and offer him pats for playing well.[28]
    • Give your cat other opportunities to play, too. Place paper bags without the handles or boxes around the house, which will allow him to explore and investigate.[29]
    • Create a “cat tree” near a window that allows your cat to watch birds, squirrels and other small animals.[30]


  • It may take up to a few days for a cat to approach you; don't be discouraged if it doesn't happen quickly.
  • If you pick up or hold your cat, let her go when she wants to. Holding your cat against her wishes may traumatize her. If a cat knows you will put her down if they squirm they will grow to trust you a lot more.
  • If a cat scratches you, be sure to wash it thoroughly with hot water and a mild soap.
  • If your cat hisses at you, leave the room until she calms down. If you need to stay in that room, avoid looking at or touching her, and maintain a healthy distance to help her relax.
  • Don't play rough with your cat, it may lead to feelings of stress or anxiety resulting in random attacks.
  • Don't wake your kitty when it's sleeping.
  • Try not to pick her up if she doesn't like it. This can stress a cat out a lot!
  • Try stroking her under the chin. A lot of cats love this!


  • Toys with strings and feathers can be dangerous or fatal to a cat if swallowed. Use these toys only when you are supervising the cat, and put them out of the cat's reach when you are done playing.

Things You'll Need

  • Favorite toy or treat
  • Cat food
  • Cat litter & litter box
  • A bed

Sources and Citations

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Article Info

Categories: Cat Training