How to Make a Cat More Friendly

How to tame a feral cat, how to tame a feral kitten. How to earn your cats trust and have a friendlier pet. Learn the basics on making a cat more friendly and cuddly.

If you want a friendly cat the best thing to do is start with a friendly cat. When people get a kitten there is no guarantee it will grow up to be a friendly cat. There are a few things a person cat do to help shape their cat into being more friendly, and a few things they should not do. Some of these tips will also work well for a person who is trying to befriend a feral (or wild behaving) cat.

Food

Food is the best way to befriend a cat, while they should have dry food out at all times, you can earn the trust of a cat, or kitten, by offering it a small amount of canned food only when you are there. In the case of a feral cat, the first few times you may have to put the canned food out when you are not there so it knows to look for it, and eventually you need to put the canned cat food out and stay around while it eats, talking softly. After a while start touching the cat while it eats. In this way it associates the sound of your voice, and your smell with food – some people will even go so far as to put an article of used clothing under the bowl so the cat becomes accustomed to their smell.

The food used should be a mush type food, not chunks in gravy, chicken or turkey is often good. Although fish has a stronger smell to attract a cat, fish is not particularly good for cats on the whole, even though they love it.

Feed only a teaspoon, or two at a time, and try feeding this several times a day – especially if the animal is a young kitten.

Treats

Treats can be offered in a similar way, if the cat is shy at first throw the treats farther, and over time only offer the treats from your hand.

Holding

If you are trying to teach a young kitten to be friendly you actually have to force them to be held. In the case of very unfriendly, and feral, kittens, this can be quite a challenge, but must be done. With feral kittens you want to hold them until they stop hissing and trying to escape, it may take several holding sessions, over several days, and the kitten should not have the option to escape, many people who tame feral kittens keep them in small cages until they have become social.

When cats are older, and are other wise tame, you want to let them go gently when they squirm, however you still want to find time to hold the cat regularly.

Be aware, cats are very smell oriented, they do not like strong perfumes, or the smell of oranges, you should try to avoid smelling offensive to a cat you are trying to befriend.

Other Tips:

  • Above all if you want a friendly cat – you have to plan on spending a lot of time with it, bribing it to like you.
  • Certain breeds of cats are noted for being friendlier than others.
  • Kittens from farms tend to be less friendly but will learn with time and patience, just as a feral kitten will.
  • Selecting a friendly cat is the best way to ensure a friendly cat, noting that friendly kittens do not always grow into friendly adult cats.  Animal shelters generally have many friendly cats for adoption.

Note:

Declawing often has an adverse effect on a cats behavior. Many declawed cats have heightened Flight or Fight responses, making them more distrusting of being held. It is important that people are understanding of these cats, who will often bite if disturbed.

formerly wild cat

photo by author - you would never know he was born feral would you?

Avoid

In order to have a friendly cat, one that likes to be picked up and held, a person has to be careful the cat does not see them as a play mate. You can roll balls for the cat to chase, or use toys, but avoid using your hand as a toy. When you become the cats playmate it is less likely to want to cuddle with you and be friendly. If a cat does start biting your hand as a toy (in contrast to a declawed cat biting out of fear) you need to put the cat down and walk away, it will learn that biting ends the attention it is getting.

Do not let children, or other pets, chase a cat, as this will often make it less friendly.

Authors Note:  Brenda currently has a house full of cats, only 2 of which were tame and friendly from the start, the others were born feral and had never been touched by human hands, but are now currently friendly cats.

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