Why cats and dogs are attracted to people who don’t like them

Why, you wonder, would pets want anything to do with you when you aren't even looking at them?

If you're not a fan of animals, you probably look with dread out of the corner of your eye as your best friend's cat or your boyfriend's dog trots over to lick, jump, or rub themselves all over you. Why, you wonder, would their pets want anything to do with you when you aren't even looking at them? Turns out, that's what they like most about you.

In the wild, eye contact is a way challenge another animal and to show power and aggression. Even though dogs and cats have been domesticated for thousands of years, some form of this natural instinct is still in their genes. Animal lovers will make a beeline straight for the cat or dog, similar to the way a predator would approach prey in the wild, and this can spook them. 

Surprisingly, the best way to make friends with a cat is actually to keep your distance, Slate explains. When you glance at the cat and look away and try not to touch her, you're actually making yourself look the least threatening. Similarly, though dogs are naturally more social animals, some don't like the attention and petting from strangers, especially if they're a little shy, Vetstreet noted. 

The best way to keep your personal space is to pretend to be interested in the pet, PetMD suggested. You'll either unnerve them or they'll eventually get bored.

This content post is provided by the pet experts at Hartz®.

Category: Dog Training and Behavior