Some people have trouble with this. True story: my brother once asked me how he could avoid stepping on his cat, Katrina. He was baffled and finally asked his little brother, me, for help. Sadly, I never liked my big brother much and resisted any inclination to do him favors, but with an abundance of sympathy for his cat who didn’t like him much either 😎, I provided some advice.
For a cat it is a ‘looking-up world’ 👀.
I always start with a supposed cat problem by seeing things from the cat’s point of view, and usually end up finding that it’s a human problem. I told my brother that at their level their view of us is our feet. While they are good at watching our feet, we still need to telegraph where we’re going with them so they can avoid them. They can’t read our minds, although they are better at reading us than the other way around. I’ll continue…
My advice to my brother was keep his eyes on where Katrina was, first of all, to avoid stepping on her; simple enough advice but I knew he wasn’t doing it! As you walk through your house remember it’s her house too, and again they see it at floor or foot level.
Aim your feet. When you step toward your cat, providing you look to see her there in the first place, give her an idea where you’re going, either to one side or the other. Pick a lane, in driving parlance.
Humans give each other signals at eye level, but this is different for cats. They can’t look way up at your eyes to see where you’re looking as well as keep an eye on your feet. When you pick a direction, stay with it.
That’s where my brother kept going off the rails; he kept trying to change direction, usually after he already stepped on the poor thing to step on her again or accidentally boot her across the room. Cats learn by watching, and if they watch you do something predictably, they’ll respond accordingly.
If you’re not predictable what else could you expect from them other than an unpredictable response? So, both Katrina and my brother kept doing this side-step dance. My brother’s cat never knew where he would step and hence if she came out at all from living life under the bed, she’d just run back under there until dinner time, whereupon she’d get stepped on.
So, to review.
- Observe. Look to see if and where your cat is before you take a step. Watch where you’re going.
- Choose a direction and let them see it before you proceed and stay the course.
- Take your time. Walk slower. What’s your hurry? You’re at home, relax.
Hope this helps someone.
P.S. from Michael. On rare occasions (about twice in almost 7 years) I have stepped on my cat’s paw. He has screamed and scrammed. The reason? I failed to look where he was. I was too preoccupied. Too rushed. I guess if you live with a cat or cats you have to watch out for them under your feet especially in the kitchen when they might think you are getting food for them. They are up close then and in the danger zone. You turn around and bang….scream…scram.