Don’t approach a cat on the sidewalk who does not know you

I don’t think it is wise to approach a strange cat on the sidewalk. There is nothing special to say on this topic but it is quite important. It is very easy and pleasant to say hello to a domestic or stray cat on the sidewalk (pavement in the UK). It may work out nicely. However, it may also cause a very regrettable accident which could be very distressing to the person and injurious to the cat.

Cat on sidewalk

Two useful tags. Click either to see the articles:- Toxic to cats | Dangers to cats

The problem is this: cats are very cautious and often run away from strangers. They may approach a stranger but the normal response is caution to extreme caution. The latter behavior can lead to the cat running into the road.

This scenario is very much on my mind when I approach a cat on the pavement (sidewalk). Truly, it is best to ignore them unless the cat approaches you or you’re sure the cat is safe. Far too many cat deaths occur on roads.

Tragic example

There is a tragic example of this on Facebook. Adil Barhoun is a member of a TNR community. He says that he got a call to rescue a kitten who had a very bad eye infection which is so common in stray kittens.

He approached the kitten who ran into the street. A fast moving car ran over the kitten and killed him/her. That’s it, end of story and a very rapid end it was.

At the same time Adil was injured. I’m not sure how. He says:

“I got myself injured during this failed rescue but I learned my lesson…the hardest way. It’s really one of [the] saddest experiences to be the cause of an animal’s death while you are supposed to help him. RIP little kitty.”

Now I don’t know if Adil was on a sidewalk and you can’t blame him. I am sure he is a great guy. However, he was near a road and the first thing that would have crossed my mind is: cars – traffic – danger – death. It was practically certain that the kitten would run. It is just a question of where he would run. Very sad.

5 thoughts on “Don’t approach a cat on the sidewalk who does not know you”

  1. The only person really at fault was the one that let a female cat outside to breed and make kittens that are born homeless and at risk. While anyone engaged in rescue needs to understand animal behavior I hate laying the blame on those that risk their own life and limb and funds to save the messes created by negligent pet owners.

  2. This is very sad. A difficult situation, it may have been made worse by other people flapping/squealing, all the panicky stuff that people can do when they are trying to help but don’t know what they should be doing.

    I limit myself to a slow blink, maybe a small hello chirrup, then keep a sideways eye on how the cat responds. It can be tough when a super friendly cat approaches, & I have to stop myself immediately petting the puss.

    Recently managed to get a very old neglected (and owned! Grr!) cat to the vet, with the help of a very kind and calm young lad, who stayed with this poor old puss (confused, probably hyper T) whilst I ran home for car and cat carrier.

    This young man, about 13yrs old, was a joy to behold, he had an instinctive knowledge of exactly how to calm the cat and kept him away from the kerb edge just positioning his body, sideways on, kneeling down, talking gently, finger offered for a nose tap, he was absolutely brilliant.

    Wouldn’t it be wonderful if all children were taught safe behaviour around all domestic species?

    I have heard of one project where primary school children were giving some education in safe behaviour around dogs, but this seemed to be a one off.

    We have to get safety & compassion into the minds of humans long before they hit adulthood.

    • He’s not that beautiful! He’s fat. He’s a street cat so all you have to do is go out into the street and find one but just make sure no one owns him! Thanks for visiting and commenting, Cheryl.


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