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Why Do Stray Cats Like Me? 6 Likely Reasons

Nicole Cosgrove Profile Picture

By Nicole Cosgrove

man playing with orange cat outdoor

Cats are generally known to be aloof, while some are more affectionate and aren’t afraid to show it. Some people can also be more appealing to cats than others, attracting cats to their feet whenever they are nearby, whether they are cat people or not. This phenomenon happens with stray cats, and if you find it happening to you, you may be wondering why stray cats tend to like you.

There are tens of millions of feral and stray cats in the United States, and while many of them may shy away or fear people, some will yearn for human interaction. Your overall body language and energy may pique a stray cat’s interest, but in this article, we will explain why you may be a magnet for stray cats.

The 6 Reasons Why Stray Cats Are Attracted to You

1. Your Smell

A sense of smell serves a significant role in our lives, and it does the same for cats. It can trigger a memory, trigger emotions and even warn us of danger. Cats are similar, and even more so because they are natural hunters and have a keen sense of smell. They use it to communicate and acquire information about their surroundings.

Each person has a unique odor, and with a cat’s amazing sense of smell, they can easily detect you. If they like what they smell, they may follow you and let their guard down to satisfy their curiosity.

The smell that a stray cat may detect on you could also have come from food. If you just met a friend for lunch, or you are bringing hot food home, the smell may be lingering on your hands or wafting from your packet, and that’s enough to make a stray cat like you.

cat walking with the owner
Image Credit: Piqsels

2. Your Body Language

Cats use their bodies to communicate and may read our body language too. A stray cat may be interested in how you walk and move your body. If your posture is non-threatening and your body language comes across as friendly, stray cats may be drawn to you and feel safe around you. If you have a cat as a pet, you may have noticed how your body language affects their response. For example, if you meet them at eye level, they will meet your gaze and sniff you or rub against you. If you tower over it, your cat may feel intimidated and dart off.

If you are light on your feet and calm in how you react to a stray, it will make them feel safer and give them space to approach you first, as opposed to someone who is heavy-footed, flustered, and unappealing to cats.

3. They Need a Favor

Some cats are shy and aloof, while others look for attention. Some strays that approach you may be looking for some attention and needing a favor, such as a back scratch or even a quick game. Perhaps they are also hoping for a treat. If a stray is looking for a favor and you are approachable, they will surely be drawn to you.

If you are in an area where there are a lot of stray cats, they may be used to the attention and have learned that by making contact, they may receive a favor. They will likely approach anyone that comes into their space, meowing and showing affection in the hopes of a reward.

Woman and cat resting in hiking trail

4. Your Personality

While your body language may be friendly and attractive to stray cats, your personality will make them stick around. Cats are usually more trusting of higher voices—especially baby-like voices with extended vowels. Although cats are usually attracted to this tone when it’s their owner, if you are friendly and approachable, it could also work for strays.

Cats are sensitive to human emotional signals and can be intuitive to how you feel. You will be more approachable if you are happy and in a good mood. If your personality is generally friendly and outgoing, a smiling face will generally be more welcoming for any cat, especially a stray.

5. They May be Seeking Companionship

Some Stray cats are familiar with human companionship and may be yearning for it from any willing human. If you are friendly, calm, and approachable, a stray longing for friendship may be drawn to you. Cats feel love, and a stray that has experienced that love before will likely go out looking for it again.

Stray cats can usually be socialized for adoption. If you are making a connection and suspect a stray is “adopting you,” perhaps you could consider making it your companion.

a woman petting a street cat
Image Credit: Piqsels

6. You May Resemble a Previous Owner

A stray cat may be attracted to you and grow a liking to you because you may resemble a previous owner. Perhaps your voice, appearance, or scent are similar. In that case, you would be familiar with this stray cat and trigger feelings of love and companionship.

Why Are Cats Attracted to People Who Don’t Like Them?

If you are not a cat person and don’t usually respond positively to stray cats or cats that belong to friends, but they still show a fondness for you, you may wonder why stray cats seem to like you even though you ignore them.

By ignoring them, you may come across as a calm and quiet person, which cats gravitate towards. They prefer someone more aloof than someone who wants to shower them with hugs and kisses. By ignoring a cat, you are providing the choice and the space for them to approach you first, and a stray on the lookout for shelter, food, and companionship will be drawn to someone who feels safe.

What to Do with a Stray Cat?

In instances where a stray cat is drawn to a stranger, it may end up “adopting” that person as their owner. If you experience this with a stray cat, there are some options that can benefit both you and the cat.

  • First, you will need to check for identification first to see if the cat is lost and already has a loving owner. This could be a tag on the collar with contact details or a microchip, in which case you would need to go to the vet.
  • You can offer the stray some food and water, keeping in mind that this may result in the stray coming back for more. If you don’t mind the cat returning, choose a safe and suitable spot outside your home where the cat can keep returning to.
  • You can offer the stray a warm and safe space, especially if it’s cold or raining. You can find an old towel or blanket and make a cozy spot somewhere sheltered for the cat.
  • Try to keep the stray cat away from your other pets and children in case of infection. Consider handling the cat with rubber gloves initially.
  • If the stray appears scared or unsure, avoid getting too close as it may scratch or bite you.
  • Sometimes, identifying a stray from a pet can be difficult. If you are unsure if the cat is a stray, you can put a collar around its neck that includes your name and contact number to help locate the owner. If you don’t hear from anyone, it would be safe to assume it is a stray.
cat owner talking to his pet
Image Credit: Piqsels

Adopting a Stray

If you are happy to adopt a stray cat into your home, there is a transitioning process that you need to consider. Stray cats should not be captured and kept indoors for the night right away. That could be terrifying, stressful, and harmful to your long-term goal of having a domesticated cat.

The stray has most likely been living outdoors without companionship for a while, and you will need to earn the cat’s trust. You will also need to have all the supplies ready at home and be prepared to take them to the vet for a complete checkup.

You can earn the cat’s trust by giving it a meal every day, and in the meantime, you can get all the necessary supplies ready. Each time you feed the cat, you can bring the bowl closer until it feels safe to come inside.

Always approach the cat calmly and gently and only if it seems okay with it. Be patient with this process; you don’t know how long the cat has been alone or its history, so some strays may take longer to trust and adapt than others.


A stray cat will be drawn to quiet, calm, and friendly humans. If your overall body language feels safe and you allow the cat some space, it may decide to approach you. Many stray cats yearn for human interaction because they have had it before. If you are not particularly a cat person, it could be your lack of interest that makes them like you, but if you are a cat person and a cat magnet, a stray cat could easily be your new companion.

Featured Image Credit; naciye karagoz, Shutterstock

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