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How To Get a Cat’s Attention: 8 Simple Ways

Nicole Cosgrove Profile Picture

By Nicole Cosgrove

cat owner looking at her pet

A cat owner’s love is unconditional. We love our cats regardless of their seemingly uninterested and aloof nature. But sometimes, we can also be needy and crave their attention. Even though your feline companion might not enjoy cuddling up with you or being held, don’t assume that your cat will always ignore you since you can strengthen your bond in several ways.

However, maybe it’s not your cat you are too concerned about. Maybe there is a stray that visits regularly, and you are thinking about adopting it, but you can’t get its attention, or you are trying to get along with your friend’s cat. If you are seeking attention from your feline friend or a potential new companion, there are some simple tips that will work for either situation.

The 8 Ways to Get a Cat’s Attention

1. Be Relaxed

Cats need to feel safe around their owners, and stray cats need to feel safe around unfamiliar people. When you are relaxed or feeling at ease, your cat will feel more relaxed and at ease too. If you are too overbearing or force attention, your cat will likely dart off and avoid interacting with you. Cats understand body language, so if you seem uneasy, they will likely feel uneasy and avoid interaction. If you are trying to earn the trust of a stray cat, a relaxed and aloof demeanor will attract its attention and encourage it to make the first move.

Playing “hard to get” and not paying much attention to your cat is like reverse psychology and usually gets their attention.

close up of savannah cat looking up
Image Credit: Kolomenskaya Kseniya, Shutterstock

2. Watch Your Body Language

Cats understand body language very well. A cat is more inclined to hide or avoid you if it feels scared, so making a new cat feel at ease is essential when meeting it for the first time. Your own cat will also feel unsafe and avoidant if you are showing signs of anger or frustration.

When you meet a cat, crouch down to its level so it doesn’t feel intimidated. You can do this too with your cat when you return home and greet it or when you want to get its attention and interact. Direct eye contact might be perceived as intimidation, and body language that is solely directed at the cat could come across as unfriendly.

3. Provide Stimulation for Your Cat

Cats need to expel energy; otherwise, they can become bored. You can provide your cat with an enriching environment by using puzzle feeders and toys, a cat tree, and a cat scratcher. Consider buying interactive toys you can enjoy with your cat to help strengthen your bond, which will surely get its attention.

You can do the same for a stray by leaving some toys outside, which may entice it to come closer and earn your trust, and if you are visiting a friend, offer a toy to their cat with the owner’s permission.

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Tony and Cheetah playing on Hepper Hi Lo Cat Scratcher

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4. Give Your Cat High-Quality Treats

You can easily get your cat’s attention by providing a high-quality treat such as chicken or turkey. Your cat will love it and will most likely pay you more attention. However, be sure not to give your cat any treats when it displays unwanted behavior, such as begging, as this will only reinforce it. Provide your cat treats when it is calm and content.

You can also give a treat to a stray cat or a friend’s cat with permission. When the stray cat visits, you can offer it a treat by leaving it on the ground. Stay safe, and never try to feed it with your hand; strays are unpredictable, and you don’t know if they will try to scratch you.

5. Pet and Groom Your Cat

Cats are natural groomers, and some can find being brushed to be soothing and relaxing. If it dislikes brushing, perhaps a belly rub or a scratch behind the ears will be more to its liking.

If your cat doesn’t want to be petted or groomed, don’t force it, and try again when your cat is more receptive. If you can make a routine of it, even better. Your cat will know that it will get some attention, which means it will be more relaxed, and you will more likely have its attention.

6. Talk to Your Cat

Talk to your cat in a calm and soft voice. According to a recent study,1 talking to your pet in a high-pitched voice and using long vowels, like you would with a baby, is all it takes to attract their attention. The study also claimed that your cat could tell you apart from strangers. If your cat doesn’t enjoy petting too much, talking to it will be more effective in getting its attention.

You can also talk softly to a stray to get its attention and earn its trust. You may notice it may be more willing to approach when you talk to it without approaching it. When visiting a friend, talking to their cat will be the most effective way to get its attention.

woman watching and talking to her cat
Image Credit: VH-studio, Shutterstock

 7. Associate a Phrase with Feeding Time

You may remember as a child when your mom shouted, “Dinner time!” from the kitchen, you would often come running! This classic conditioning can help get your cat’s attention, especially when you don’t know where your cat is.

Some cats also learn to respond to the sound of the cat bowl scraping on the table or even a shake of their cat food container. When they hear food-associated sounds, you will definitely have your cat’s attention.

8. Try Catnip!

Many cats get a pick-me-up and delightful “high” from this safe herb. When you pair catnip with a unique toy, your pet will be more satisfied. If your cat enjoys catnip, it will be fail-proof in getting its attention.

cat eating and enjoying catnip grass
Image Credit: Fercast, Shutterstock

A Happy Cat Is a More Attentive Cat

You are more likely to get your cat’s attention if you have a happy and healthy bond. Once you get to know your cat, you will know when it’s the right time for cuddles, playtime, and feeding. When you know how to respond and initiate interaction with your cat, you are more likely to get its attention when you try. Here are some tips for keeping your cat healthy, happy, and attentive.

  • Feed your cat a healthy and balanced diet that it enjoys.
  • Offer your cat delicious and nutritious treats, especially when you want to reinforce good behavior.
  • Provide an enriching environment by offering toys, puzzle feeders, scratching posts, and climbing trees.
  • Help your cat stay well groomed. Brushing sessions with your cat can strengthen your bond if they enjoy it!
  • Provide your cat with structured playtime each day.
  • Spend some extra time cuddling and relaxing with your cat.
  • Teach your cat some tricks. Cats are smart and enjoy interaction when being trained. It is a great exercise for mental stimulation and bonding.
  • Know when to stop. If your cat doesn’t want to play or cuddle, give it some space.


Sometimes, your cat will approach you looking for attention without your cue, but if you want to capture your cat’s attention, you can try our suggestions. Always give your cat the option to leave if they want to, and never push them to interact with you. If you observe their behavior, your cat will let you know when they want some attention. Although cats may not readily give attention like dogs, it is all the more rewarding and special when they do.

Featured Image Credit: U__Photo, Shutterstock

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