I am trying to understand the behaviour of a stray cat which daily comes outside our gate and meows. My friend and I give her milk. She then drinks it and starts moving in between our legs with tail vertically up straight. When I try to move back, she comes toward me. When I try to touch her, she starts looking at my hand. Although she is very small, I am afraid of her nails. But when she is drinking milk, I can touch her on her head, until she is drinking. I really want to pick her up :3

My question is: what does the cat's behaviour mean? Is she getting friendly and wants attention or want me not to touch her?

  • 2
    You've been claimed!
    – PCARR
    Nov 8 '16 at 19:16


I found this for you and I'm pretty sure it's valid information. Most cats make it a point to mark their owners and while the cat in question here is a stray, she associates the milk you give her with you and doesn't want any other cat to be receiving it.

So she marks you to tell other cats to stay away.

Also, I understand you're afraid of her nails, but perhaps instead of moving to pet her immediately (never reach behind an unfamiliar animal's head), you could let her sniff your hand first. Scent is important.

It's also important to take it slow. Don't rush any interactions, especially that of picking her up. A lot of cats, even indoor ones, don't enjoy being held. Let her initiate the contact. Sit down with your legs crossed and wait to see if she'll approach you. If she does, take it as an encouraging sign and let her sniff your hand.

She might even climb into your lap from there, who knows?

As an added morsel : when a cat has its tail straight up, that means it's happy to see you! - Mariah

  • I forgot to mention --- cats' tails are indicators of their mood. hillspet.com/en/us/cat-care/behavior-appearance/… does an excellent job of describing some common poses cats adopt with their tails and bodies in general.
    – riah
    Mar 7 '16 at 21:42
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    I'll add: initially, don't pet the cat; offer her a hand and let her decide if she wants to rub against you. After she has done that a few times you can consider slowly extending the contact.
    – keshlam
    Mar 7 '16 at 23:42
  • 1
    Thanks :3 I will try offering her hand and will see her reaction.:3
    – berserk
    Mar 8 '16 at 4:40
  • The cat tried to bite my hand. And even tried to slap it ;_; cc @keshlam
    – berserk
    Mar 9 '16 at 18:43
  • Well, that's your answer for now. Either you moved too suddenly or she's not ready for contact she doesn't initiate.
    – keshlam
    Mar 9 '16 at 21:07

On a side note, most cats are lactose intolerant, and drinking milk can give them diarrhea.





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