There is a cat that sometimes comes visits me, and I give sausages to him.But he still won't let me pet him, because he goes back slowly. He comes when I call him,but still, I think he doesn't trust me. He even "asks" me to follow him, but he is scared of me.

2 Answers 2


It's probably been mistreated by someone at some point so it's not likely to trust you easily. If the cat looks homeless, giving it a nice place to sleep that's either in your house, or very near your house is a good idea. Keep feeding it and talking nicely to it. Once the cat learns that you are not a threat, it might let you pet it. It might try to get you to follow, and you probably should, just to show that you can be its new buddy.

Cats express trust and affection by softly closing and blinking their eyes at each other. Almost like if they're sleepy, or falling asleep. If you make these kinds of eyes at the cat, that's a first step. You're telling kitty that you're fond of it and you trust it. If the cat makes these kinds of eyes at you, you're making progress. If you can sit there looking at it making soft eyes, you're already buddies.

When getting ready to pet an untrusting cat, always get down on their level. Standing or even kneeling down makes you seem big and threatening, or like you're getting ready to pounce or jump up. It's best to sit on the ground in a way that it doesn't look like you're going to be easily moving any time soon; sit cross-legged. This lets the cat know that you're trying not to be big and scary, and you have no intention of doing it harm and running off, or kidnapping it. You are just two 'cool cats' hanging out eating some sausages.

So, now you're sitting there and looking at the cat like you're both getting sleepy. Slowly blinking at each other, or looking at each other with softly squinted eyes (not angry squints). Stick your hand out with the palm side facing down, sort of like if you were to add a pinch of salt to your dinner, fingers down and relaxed, maybe even rubbing together a little. The cat might be curious if you have more food that you're holding. Your hand should be at or below its eye level. You can also put some food that's close to you, but just out of your reach. That'll bring it in closer, but DO NOT ATTEMPT TO LEAN OVER AND TOUCH IT! Just let it get used to the idea of you being close. Let it associate you and food, and you and soft eyes, and you and NO quick movements.

If it's happily eating your snacks and your hand is out there, it is possible that after enough of this kind of bonding, when it's finished a couple tiny pieces of sausage, it'll sort of come over and gently fist bump your hand with its head. I still wouldn't attempt to get more pets from it than that, for now. Just let it rub its face on you and sort of 'ask' you to pet it on the head. I'd just pet the cat slowly on the head, sort of combing its fur in the right direction, maybe gentle scratches. Don't try to go under its chest, or pet its body yet. Not until you are fully able to pet it without it freaking out. DO NOT TRY TO PICK IT UP!

Slowly, the cat will get used to the pets and ask for more. If you're petting it and it sort of lies on its side like a dead cat, then you can start to pet the body and maybe the belly. I call these "dead cat snuggles". If a cat exposes its underside, that means it really trusts you because that's its most vulnerable state.

Good Luck!

  • 1
    Note that exposing the belly means "I trust you not to take advantage of my exposed position." Until the cat is VERY sure it trusts you, this is not a request for belly rubs, and you may startle and confuse the cat by, in fact, taking advantage. I know it's hard to resist, but try to hold back until the cat is comfortable wit you touching its belly in other positions. Accept the complement but keep your hands on socially safe parts of the anatomy until you're certain that you're actually allowed. (This is one of the mistakes that gets people scratched unexpectedly. )
    – keshlam
    Feb 25, 2016 at 3:04
  • @keshlam, this is also true for long time relationships. Just because the cat has been yours for years, an unwanted advance into that ultra soft belly fur can potentially earn you a handful of blood. The length of relationship affords us the knowledge that when kitty gets that look in her eye, BEWARE!
    – coblr
    Feb 25, 2016 at 20:58
  • True -- as with humans, it's a matter of learning to read your friend's moods. Normally I can't resist a backrub, but there are times when I need space; same for the fuzzy ones.
    – keshlam
    Feb 25, 2016 at 21:03
  • Just because a cat wont let you pet him does not mean it has been mistreated in the past, some cats are just more cautious then others.
    – Vahx
    Feb 28, 2016 at 17:19

Patience. As many weeks or months of patience as are required. Move calmly, let the cat come to you as much as possible rather than chasing it, don't grab -- hold out a hand to be sniffed and rubbed against rather than trying to pet the cat, until it's very comfortable initiating contact itself. Ferals in particular will often take a long time to decide that they're comfortable with extended contact, if they ever do.

If a cat decides quickly that you're a good human, then either it has been lucky enough not to know any bad humans or you should feel very flattered. Or both.

Think about it from the cat's point of view. King Kong over there seems friendly, but how sure are you? Trust takes time.

  • Yes, My other "guest" cat ( She stays at my yard and In my outdoor couch, and she lets me pet her whenever I want. Or she will come first and rub her face and head to my hand. And when I'm holding my hand higher, she kinda stays in two paws and raised her head.And I think she is friend with this other cat. I don't actually know what gender the other cat is, but I named him( let's hope it's a he) Tom. And Thank you so much, guys!
    – Sara
    Feb 25, 2016 at 9:39
  • 1
    @Sara, yea, if the cats are friends, it's likely that your petting buddy is slowly convincing the other that you're alright. Sounds like you already know how to do this, it's just you've come across a particularly shy fella.
    – coblr
    Feb 25, 2016 at 21:25
  • @fractalspawn Sometimes I "call" Tom , and then let him see how I pet my other cat, Bardhoshe ( it seems like a weird name, but in Albanian it means white) hoping that he will understand that I'm not doing anything bad to her.
    – Sara
    Feb 26, 2016 at 18:50

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