Many people know that they should be cautious when meeting a dog for the first time. Not all dogs are immediately friendly, so you must approach and posture yourself to be inviting to them.

Figuring out how to greet a cat can be a challenge too, but we have some tips on that. Continue reading below to learn how to approach a cat for the first time.

Tips to Keep in Mind

Each cat has a different temperament and has had different experiences with humans. Remember this when meeting a new cat for the first time. Consider these tips when meeting a new cat:

  • Let the cat decide pacing. – You’re obviously not going to want to get in the cat’s face and disturb them. If you’re meeting a new cat for the first time, be sure to take it slow and let the cat make the first moves.
  • Ask if the cat is friendly. – If the cat you’re meeting has an owner, just ask how they do with meeting strangers. If they are timid, be sure to respect their space. If they are the kind of cat to jump straight into your lap, you’re certain to get some happy cuddles.
  • Use a treat if meetings are difficult. – If the cat you’re trying to greet is having a hard time warming up, don’t be afraid to try to try and convince them. A favorite treat or a fun toy may be just what the cat needs to warm up to you.

With these tips in mind, let’s look at how to greet a cat for the first time.

How to Greet a Cat Properly

Here are some simple suggestions you can use the next time you’re trying to greet a cat for the first time.

For the Cat You Already Know

Most times, when you come home from work to your cat there doesn’t need to be any instructions for greetings. You two already have a relationship so you both know what to expect.

Just remember that your cat has needs of their own. Look to their body language to know how to respond to them. Of course, if your cat has a normal posture and is facing you, they’re looking to you for attention. A cat who rolls onto its back and exposes its tummy is probably looking for some rubs, though they may also be playing a trick on you. The exposed belly gives them the perfect vantage point to use claws and teeth.

If you’re greeting a cat that you are familiar with, use what you know. You’ve probably already built a good relationship. One last word of caution if this is your own cat. Make sure you greet them appropriately but do so away from the front door. You don’t want your cat associating the door with fun times. You want to be safe in the home when interacting with your cat.

For Cats That Are Used to Humans

Maybe your friend or neighbor has a cat that you don’t get to meet very often. How would you approach this meeting?

Going back to one of our first tips, let the cat set the pace. Do not approach the kitty, no matter how cute they look. They might need their own time alone for a bit, but they can join you later.

You can use one of the following approaches to greet a friend’s cat for the first time.

Offering a Finger

If you meet a cat who’s interested in meeting you, offer them a finger. This is a very non-aggressive way to show them that you’re interested in meeting them. Allow the cat to sniff your finger. They may then choose to rub their cheek on it. This allows the cat to put their scent on you, thereby marking you.

All you must do is offer your finger to the cat at about head height and a few inches away. If the cat is interested, they’ll close the distance remaining.

Take the Whole Hand

If you think the cat would like to meet, you can offer them your hand. The cat should likely have their tail up or horizontal, as this shows they are content. Offer them your hand the same way you would offer them a finger, head level and aimed at them.

The cat can sniff at your hand and this tells them a lot about you. They’ll be able to tell if they want to start a relationship with you.

Signs to Look Out For

There are some body language cues you should keep an eye out for when you greet a cat for the first time. Looks at their tail. If the tail is hidden away, or if their ears are very high or very low, now might not be the best time to approach them.

Obviously, if the cat shows any kind of aggression, you don’t want to try touching them. If they hiss or swat at you, best to try again a different time. The cat might not be very friendly, or they just might not be in the mood for greetings just yet.

Meeting a cat for the first time can be a fun experience. Reading and speaking their language will make you much more successful.