Why are cats perversely attracted to people who dislike them?

Some people think that domestic cats, rather perversely, are attracted to people who don’t like them. And if this is true at least to some extent, it deserves an explanation. And the reason is probably fairly straightforward namely that in a room of people where one or two dislike cats and into which a cat wanders, those that are fond of cats will normally look at him or her and stretch out their arms to greet him. They might make some noises indicating their general glee at seeing such a beautiful creature!

Domestic cats might make a beeline for cat-phobic people because they are more passive than those who want interact with the cat but are strangers
Domestic cats might make a beeline for cat-phobic people because they are more passive than those who want interact with the cat but are strangers. Image: MikeB
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By contrast, the person or persons who are fearful of cats or who don’t like them, are more likely to be quiet and retiring. They won’t be waving their arms around and saying anything. They will keep quiet, not look at the cat to try and avoid eye contact while the cat lovers are staring at the cat in admiration.

I guess you can see what I’m getting at. The cat lovers are strangers to the cat and they are doing things which make the cat feel uncomfortable such as being stared at, waving their arms around and making strange noises.

The more passive person who wants nothing to do with the cat then becomes more attractive and so they make a beeline for them.

If this argument is true, the best M.O. (modus operandi) for the cat-phobic person is to lean forward towards the cat, stare fixedly at him with their eyes wide open and make agitated hand movements. They might also ask the cat to jump on their lap in quite a loud and unnatural voice. This will deter the cat without doubt whereupon they can then relax and let the cat interact with the cat lovers with whom they share the room.

4 thoughts on “Why are cats perversely attracted to people who dislike them?”

  1. Is anything 100% these days? Even death and taxes can be avoided. But, seriously, I think it both depends on the cat and how they have been treated/brought up by their ‘owner’ (or their history.) Most of my cats will run away from strangers, whether they try to be friendly to them or not. I don’t think them ignoring them would help. The gestures and noises mentioned in your story could both attract and repel a cat, depending on their temperament and experience of humans.

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