How To Make Friends With A New Cat


There's a right way and a wrong way to make friends with a new cat.

You need good manners to make friends with a new cat.

When I got home this evening, a neighbor was trying to make friends with my cat, Belle. Belle’s a cute, tiny tabby, but she’s extremely shy. So the neighbor would take a step forward, and Belle would take a step backwards. This went on until Belle got to a storm drain. Then she disappeared. There are ways to make friends with a new cat, but tromping up to her on the sidewalk isn’t one of them.

When I think about it, the way to make friends with a new cat comes down to good manners and letting the cat take the lead. Let him decide if he wants to become friends with you. And don’t take it personally if he decides he’d rather not.

Manners Matter When You Want To Make Friends With A New Cat

To be honest, I prefer that my neighbors not try to befriend my cats. There are many reasons for that, the main one being if someone gets scratched, it will be the cat’s fault, no matter what the human has done.

Before you try to make friends with a new cat, talk to the cat’s human and make sure it’s okay for you to become friends with him.

There’s one more thing to do before you try to make friends with a new cat, too. It’s a good idea to learn some catspeak first. It’s just good manners to say a few words to the cat in his native language.

  • Blinking slowly at the cat tells him you like him and want to be his friend.
  • Yawning sends a relaxed, reassuring message. So does turning your head away from the cat.
  • Looking a cat straight in the eye appears aggressive. You don’t want to do that!

How To Make Friends With A New Cat

Much to my horror, my cat, Ginger, makes friends with anybody and everybody. But she’s not your typical cat. This is how to make friends with a new cat who’s not like her.

    • Sit on the ground or the floor if you’re inside. You want to get down to the cat’s level. Many cats get scared when a human’s towering over them.
    • Blink and say a few kind words to him. Remember, don’t look him straight in the eye!
    • If you happen to have treats with you, offer him some as a gesture of friendship. But put them a few feet away from you. He might not want to come too close. 
    • Hold your hand out, palm down and let him sniff your hand. Cats learn to recognize friends by scent. 



  • Let him rub against you, but don’t try to pet him right away. Let him get used to being close to you first.
  • If you’re inside, and the cat is very fearful and shy, playing with him with a wand or fishing pole toy is a good way to make friends. So is lying on the floor and making a trail of treats from wherever the cat is hiding to you. 

It could take several days or even weeks to make friends with a new cat, so don’t give up! If you’re patient, he’ll probably become your buddy eventually. 

When You Become Friends

When you become friends with a new indoor/outdoor cat, please don’t invite him into your house. His people won’t be able to find him when it’s time for him to come in. And don’t feed him. He has plenty of food at his house, and his family might be very careful about what he eats. One of our neighbors used to give Ginger some of her cat’s Meow Mix, and I was beyond upset when I found out. My cats don’t have dry food, let alone multicolored Meow Mix!


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