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How to Get a Cat’s Attention: 12 Vet-Approved Tips & Methods

Written by: Melissa Gunter

Last Updated on June 4, 2024 by Catster Editorial Team

cat looking man's chin

How to Get a Cat’s Attention: 12 Vet-Approved Tips & Methods


Dr. Marta Vidal-Abarca Photo


Dr. Marta Vidal-Abarca

Veterinarian, BVSc GPCert (Ophthal) MRCVS

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

Learn more »

Have you ever sat and watched your cat walk around you like you weren’t even there? If so, don’t feel lonely. This is a common occurrence that many cat owners experience. Cats are amazing yet fickle animals. One minute, they may want to be the center of attention, and the next, they act like you don’t exist! This leaves many of us cat lovers constantly trying to come up with ways to get our cat’s attention when we want to spend time with them or simply catch a glimpse of our pet.

Here, we shared different ways that you can get your cat’s attention. Of course, not every method will work for your cat, but hopefully, this will help you find something that bridges the gap between you and your kitty so you can get the attention that you deserve.

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The 12 Ways to Get a Cat’s Attention

1. Don’t Be Pushy

Cats are difficult creatures to figure out. When you bring one into your home, your instincts are naturally going to push toward the cat in hopes of forming a relationship. This isn’t the route to take. Instead, take things easy and give the cat a bit of time. This will let you better understand your cat while they learn about their surroundings and decide how they feel about you. Before long, the cat will be the one initiating contact. That’s what you truly want from the relationship.

senior tabby cat sitting on person
Image Credit: Debra Anderson, Shutterstock

2. Be in a Good Mood

Cats are great at picking up on things. This includes your mood. You may want to grab your cat’s attention when you aren’t in the best of moods, but this isn’t great for the relationship. Instead, try to grasp your cat’s attention when you’re in a good mood. Doing this will keep your cat from noticing something is off.

3. Use Toys or Stimulation

If your cat is completely ignoring you, pull out those toys. Most cats love stimulation. Using a feather or crinkle ball is a great way to let your cat know you want to spend time with them. Of course, if your cat simply isn’t in the mood, give it time. They will play a bit later when they are ready.

4. Try Grooming

Some cats love being brushed. It reminds them of when their mothers did it when they were kittens. If you have a cat in your home that is a fan of grooming, whip out the brush when you want their attention. They may see it and come running, or you may need to go over to them. Once they feel the brush, your cat could melt.

5. Offer Pets

When you want to spend time with your cat and they seem to be ignoring you, try petting them. You should know your cat pretty well. Scratch behind their ears, on top of their head, or above their tail if they like. This simple gesture could encourage your cat to spend a bit of quality time with you. Even if it doesn’t, you got a few good minutes with your kitty pal.

woman owner petting and playing with her cat at home
Image Credit: Stokkete, Shutterstock

6. Offer Your Hand

Holding out your hand is another way of grabbing your cat’s attention. An outstretched hand is often associated with petting or playing for cats. If your kitty walks over to nibble your hand, they may want to play. If they simply rub their head against your hand, they’re in the mood for pets.

7. Use the Treats

If your cat has a particular kind of treat they simply love, put it to good use. When you need your cat’s attention and they aren’t willingly giving it to you, offer them a treat. One treat isn’t usually enough for a cat, and they will follow you in hopes of getting more. After the treats, start petting your cat or playing with them to let them know you want their attention.

british shorthair cat reaching for its treat
Image Credit: Nils Jacobi, Shutterstock

8. Call Your Cat

Not all cats are the same. There are kitties out there that will completely ignore you when you call them. Others will come running. If you’re wanting your cat’s attention, call out to them. If they come to you or acknowledge you in some way, make sure you do something engaging to keep their attention. If not, they may not react next time.

9. Talk to Your Kitty

Some cats prefer being talked to above being petted or anything else. If your cat has always reacted to the sound of your voice, try talking to them when you want their attention. You may hear that familiar meow as your cat moves in so the two of you can spend a bit of quality time together.

woman talking to her cat
Image Credit: garetsworkshop, Shutterstock

10. Use Sounds

There are some sounds certain cats will instantly react to. We’ve all heard the “pspsps” sound used to get a cat’s attention. Kissy noises and even the sound of their treat container or bag are other sounds that may snatch your cat’s attention when they are ignoring you.

11. Associate a Word With Feeding Time

Each time you feed your cat, if you use the same phrase, your kitty will catch on. Perhaps you say “yum yum” when you fill your cat’s bowl. When you want your cat’s attention, use that phrase. It should send them running your way. However, it would be best to only do this around feeding time so the cat doesn’t get upset.

12. Give Them Catnip

Most cats out there are attracted to catnip. If you need to get your cat’s attention and they simply won’t give in, pull out this harmless herb. Catnip often initiates play and good feelings for your kitty.

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If your cat isn’t one of those who are attracted to catnip, that feeling will most likely never change for your kitty.

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There are multiple ways that you can try to get your cat’s attention when you need it. Whether you simply want to spend time with your kitty, want to show them something new you’ve brought home, or are ready to feed them, initiating a few of these ways can easily get the ball rolling. Of course, not every tip here is going to work on every cat. Cats love being individuals and will eventually show you how to deal with them when they aren’t wanting to give you the time of day.

Featured Image Credit: Magui RF, Shutterstock

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