Cat etiquette: How to properly greet a cat

Velvet paws can sometimes be very demanding creatures in many areas; so also with the greeting. A cat is best greeted according to the "cat protocol", which means that you follow certain rules. Otherwise, in the worst-case scenario, you will get scratches or a cat bite. After getting to know each other, most cats enjoy being petted extensively - Shutterstock / TungCheung

Unfortunately, not everyone always follows the greeting protocol when it comes to greeting a cat. However, a lot can be done wrong. Children in particular see a sweet kitty, charge directly at them and try to heart or lift them up - this rarely works out well, because the cat is frightened, becomes afraid or can react aggressively when this happens.

Cats are careful with strangers

It's actually not that difficult to greet a cat. It is particularly important that you do not rush into anything. First things first: Never try to hug the cat if you don't know the kitty. Also avoid hectic movements. Cats need time to get to know you as a person with all your senses. While we humans often only react to strangers by seeing and hearing, cats do things differently. They first rely on their sense of smell to interpret others - for example, to find out whether there is a danger or not. Basically, cats are very careful when it comes to making new friends. This basic skepticism towards strangers is instinctive and serves to protect them.

This is how you should greet a cat

Give a cat time to meet you. It's best to bend your knees or squat down. A polite distance is recommended at a distance of half a meter or one meter from the fur nose. Then stretch your index finger forward or offer the velvet paw the back of your hand without touching the cat. How the cat reacts and whether she wants to get to know you at all depends on her character and the respective situation. At best, the kitty comes up to you and sniffs your hand.

If the tiger wants to get to know you better, it will probably rub your cheeks a little on your finger or hand. Cats have pheromone glands here that they use to mark others. In a way, you can interpret the giving of the head like a handshake among people or like a greeting kiss. If everything goes well and the kitty is open to you, you can slowly begin to stroke it.

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The perfect environment for getting to know each other

The circumstances of getting to know each other can play a big role in whether a strange cat acts openly or reluctantly. The environment can make a significant contribution here, both negative and positive. Ideally, you greet a kitty in her familiar surroundings. You should have opportunities to retreat and feel good. Loud noises, stress and things that distract the cat from the greeting are not good. Generally there should be a calm and pleasant atmosphere in the room.

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