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.
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.
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.