How To Gain The Trust Of A Stray Cat

It's difficult to get past the distrust of a cat that lives on the streets, espeically if they have been abused. However, with persistence and respecting certain rules, you can approach them. It is possible to win their trust by giving them something to eat.
How To Gain The Trust Of A Stray Cat

Last update: 09 November, 2018

Any animal that lives on the streets will be distrustful of humans, especially if they have been abused in the past. If you want to gain the trust of a stray cat, you need to be very patient and follow a few key steps. With time, you’ll be able to take them home!

Tips for gaining the trust of a stray cat

Whether you’ve seen one on the street, or one that has just appeared on your patio, a stray cat will most likely not trust you because they don’t know you.  Usually, gaining a stray cats trust is much more challenging than a dog. However, you shouldn’t let this discourage you because you’ll be able to give them a home if you become their friend.

1. Respect their space

Unless the cat is in danger, it’s best to initially let them be where they are at, that way they can fell safe and protected. A lot of stray cats run away from people because they probably had a bad experience with humans.  Therefore, you need to show them that you’re different.

Respecting their safe space is the first step to gaining their trust. You can approach them only until the point where he starts to look nervous, meows or bristles their fur. Gradually, you will eventually be able to get closer without them considering you as a threat.

2. Give them food

This definitely one of the best ways to get the cat to trust you.  In order to do this, you will need to remember a couple of things. First, choose food that has a strong smell, such as a can of tuna or a bag of wet food. They love them both!

Stray cat eating in the street

Leave the bowl or container in a place close to their location and move away. Don’t wait around to watch them. Even if he’s really hungry, they’ll wait till you’re far away before eating. Even once they’re eating, don’t try to approach them or try petting them.

One good idea is to always give them some food at the same time each day and use some repetitive behaviors. For example, shaking the bowl is a good way to let them know you’re near if you use dry food, or open the bag of wet food in front of them can grab their attention. Maybe you’ll have to repeat this process for a couple of weeks before you can approach them while they’re eating. 

3. Get a little closer each time

Every time the cat comes out, you should give them food, that way you can gain their trust. Walk around them, always giving them about three yards of distance between the both of you. Don’t make any sudden movements or you’ll scare them and you’ll have to start all over again from square one.

Once you notice that the cat starts to look at you in a less fearful manner, you can “bribe” them with a treat or special food like a piece of chicken, fish, etc.

Stray kittens eating

4. Speak their language

In order to gain the trust of a  stray cat, you’ll need to treat them as an equal. Therefore, you’ll need to let them get close to you first, allow them to rub against your legs or arms — this is the way cats rub their pheromones on objects  — which is how they ask for affection.

One trick, if you manage to get close enough to them, is to look at their eyes and blink slowly. Although you might find it hard to believe, it’s a sign that they can feel safe by your side.

Cats are very special creatures, especially if they have lived on the streets from a young age or have escaped a home where they were abused. Don’t give up on them and be happy every little step you take towards gaining their trust.

You’ll see that soon you’ll be able to get close to them. If you’re able to approach, before taking them home, make sure you take them to a vet for a full examination.

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