Cats can be fickle creatures. One moment they’re affectionately kneading your thigh, and the next they’re aggressively thwapping your forehead. But for some odd reason, you can always count on cats to be on their best, most tender behavior for the one dude who can’t freakin’ stand them.
So, what’s the deal?
The short explanation is, cats think people who love them are obnoxious and annoying.
“Many cats are drawn to people who dislike them,” says Marilyn “The Cat Coach” Krieger, author of Naughty No More!. “They have good reasons for this behavior. Cats are tiny in comparison to people, and many feel threatened and insecure when strangers walk up to them and try to pet and interact with them. Often, over-eager cat lovers will set up situations where felines feel trapped or cornered by them. Cats need to have the choice of interacting, and they need to feel secure and safe before approaching the human.”
It just so happens that people who hate cats are great at making them feel safe, even if unintentionally. “People who don’t like cats generally ignore felines and give them their space,” Krieger says. “This non-interaction contributes to cats feeling secure enough to come up and greet the human, especially if they’re sitting down. Without meaning to, people who dislike cats often encourage felines to check them out by ignoring them. They’re giving the cat the choice of socializing. Additionally, because the person is usually sitting, he isn’t as threatening as a person who’s standing and walking toward them.”
So, if you love cats and want them to love you back, ignore the hell out of them! “People who are eager to greet and pet unfamiliar cats can take a lesson from those people who ignore cats,” says Krieger. “Instead of walking toward cats, they should just relax, sit down at a distance from the elusive feline, and simply extend one finger in the cat’s direction at cat-nose level. This gives the feline the much-needed choice of advancing or retreating. If she wants to fraternize, she’ll walk up to the extended finger, touch it with her nose, turn her head and rub the finger with her cheek. That’s an invitation for socializing.”
And for anyone who hates cats and wants nothing to do with them, act extra friendly when they’re around. They’ll skitter off in no time.