Stray cats aren’t completely antisocial since, unlike feral cats, they once lived and interacted with people. And while it might be scary or strange to have a cat follow you all the way home, you shouldn’t be all too surprised as it’s a common occurrence. The main question, however, is what does it mean when a stray cat follows you?
A stray cat can choose to follow you because he is hungry and hopeful of getting a meal from you, or he’s just curious to see where you’re going. A stray cat in desperate need of shelter or attention might also decide to follow you around.
In this article, we’ll take a closer look at some of the reasons why a stray cat might choose to follow you and what you should do in such situations. Ready? Then let’s get straight to business.
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What It Means When a Stray Cat Follows You
Before we get started, you might want to check out this YouTube video of a stray cat who follows a couple straight into their home:
It’s pretty normal for stray cats to follow people home. Let’s now discuss some of the reasons why a stray cat might follow you home.
The Stray Cat Might Be Hungry
Hunger is one of the main reasons why stray cats follow people. Unlike cats that live indoors, stray cats don’t have strict meal schedules, which means they’re likely to skip more than one meal a day.
A hungry stray cat might follow you while meowing, or he might choose to shadow you silently. And since cats have an impeccable sense of smell, they’re likely to follow you when you’re eating out or if you’re carrying food.
Once the hungry stray cat has picked up the scent, he’ll most probably follow you until you get home. And if you yield to the intelligent feline’s demands, chances are he’ll be coming over to your place for more food.
So if you aren’t too comfortable about a stray cat frequenting your home, then it’s best to refrain from feeding him, especially outside your home.
But you can give him a slice of your meaty takeout if you want to help him secure a meal.
The Cat Might Be Curious
Cats are known to be naturally curious animals, meaning a stray cat might follow you out of curiosity. Stray cats that live close to where you’re going might follow you just to keep a close eye on you and know more about your intentions.
He might follow you for a few minutes, then stop once he determines that you have no ill intentions or pose no threats. A curious stray cat will follow you as covertly as possible, meaning he won’t be meowing as persistently as a hungry cat.
A Cry For Attention
Another reason why a stray cat might follow you is attention-seeking. Stray cats are similar to pet cats in that they’re both used to people and thrive when they receive some attention.
So a stray cat might follow you in pursuit of those warm cuddles that he badly misses.
Be warned, though, that stroking a stray cat increases the chances of being followed all the way home. As a result, you should refrain from stroking cats with tags or collars as they most probably have a home. These cats can easily end up lost if they follow you for long.
One way to know a stray cat is seeking attention is by listening to his meows. He’ll probably meow gently trying to tempt you to give in and give him a couple of strokes.
Granted, not all stray cats will meow or plead for attention as some breeds are more social than others. Therefore, instead of giving in to his demands, try as much as possible to keep walking and he’ll probably get tired and look for another passerby to harass.
The Cat Might Be Looking for Shelter
Besides hunger, shelter is also among the most common reasons why stray cats follow people. Remember, stray cats know a lot about living with people, so maybe he’s just shooting his shot to see if he’s found a new parent.
He might follow you all the way home and still stick around despite being locked outside. Stray cats that look for shelter usually do so after receiving a positive response from the person being stalked.
To avoid such situations, it’s highly advisable to ignore stray cats by not giving them those highly encouraging pets or even food.
A Cry for Help
Cats associate humans with help. They know we love them and also know we provide both shelter and food, so they’re likely to follow you when they need some form of assistance.
It could be that they’re scared, lost their homes to a big storm, or they got lost and are looking for their owners.
You might even see bruises that indicate a fight with other animals within the area. If you see an injured stray cat following you, chances are he’s asking for help or is tagging along as a form of security.
Actions To Take if a Stray Cat Follows You
As we’ve already established, it’s perfectly normal for stray cats to follow people. But what actions should you take up if a stray cat wants to be your VIP bodyguard?
Examine the Cat
Cat people always have a soft spot for cats, and if you’re one of them, you should first examine the cat before giving him food or even taking him in as your newest furry friend.
Check for tags, collars, or any type of details that can tell you more about the cat. If he appears malnourished and has no tag, chances are he’s an experienced stray cat and has no home. In such situations, giving him a snack or meal won’t do much harm as he might be severely hungry.
But if you encounter a healthy stray cat with a tag, giving him food isn’t advisable as he’s probably being fed at home.
Try Contacting the Owner
If the cat has a tag or a collar with contact information, then you should try reaching out to the owner. You can also check on social media to determine if you’re dealing with a lost cat. If he’s lost, it’s advisable to contact the owner to come for his cat.
Alternatively, you can also take a picture of the cat and post it on social media to see if someone will claim it.
Ignore the Cat
If you’re not big on cats and don’t want anything to do with the cat, then the best option is to keep walking until he leaves you alone. If the stray cat appears hungry and malnourished, giving him some food might be a good idea, especially if you’re far from home.
But if you’re almost reaching home and don’t want the cat to hang around your place in search of food, then it’s best not to feed or give him any attention.
Ignoring the cat is the best idea if the prospect of interacting with stray cats doesn’t appeal to you.
Should You Chase a Stray Cat Away
While some people might prefer chasing away stray cats, it’s usually best to ignore them if you don’t want anything to do with them. As a rule, however, you should not throw an object or try scaring a stray cat away.
These cats are usually harmless and will leave you alone if you deny them attention and keep walking.
Stray cats are very similar to pet cats, the only difference being one stays at home, and the other lives out in the streets.
Therefore, if you spot a stray cat following you as you head home or to work, there’s no need to panic as they tend to stalk people every once in a while.
The trick is to either ignore their calls and keep moving or pay attention to see if he’s a lost cat in search of its owner. Either way, trying to chase or hit the cat isn’t advisable as they usually mean no harm.
- The Spruce Pets: Why Cat Smell Everything
- Upgrade Your Cat: What Does It Mean When A Stray Cat Follows You
- Alleycat: Feral And Stray Cats—An Important Difference
- My Pet: When a Stray Cat Shows Up at Your Door
- PetMd: What to Do When A Stray Cat Adopts You
- YouTube: Stray Cat Follows Couple Right Into Their Home
Pam is a self-confessed cat lover and has experience of working with cats and owning cats for as long as she can remember. This website is where she gets to share her knowledge and interact with other cat lovers.