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Why Does My Cat Follow Me Then Run Away? (Scared?)

If you have noticed your cat has been following you but then running off it may have confused you and left you wondering why…

Why does my cat follow me then run away?

Your cat may follow you then runaway because it might not trust fully yet, could be trying to play, or might be hiding an illness. If this is a new behavior, pay attention to any changes like new smells in the house or changes in your behavior like if you’ve been gone for a day or even overnight. These can affect your relationship.

So, now you know. But, how can you tell if your cat is genuinely scared of you? And, will it be obvious if it’s just playing? why would a random cat follow me? Keep reading for these answers, and much more…

3 Main Reasons your cat may follow you and runoff:

In this section I will break down each of the three points I briefly mentioned earlier:

01. Lack of trust

Your cat not trusting you completely stems from them avoiding unwanted attention from you. If you’ve picked them up, taken them to the vet recently, or they aren’t comfortable with you petting them yet, this may be a sign that they are avoiding your hands.

You stand much taller than your cat does, and your giant stature may be intimidating to a new cat. Be patient with them and learn to rebuild trust.

How can you rebuild trust with your cat?

You can start to rebuild trust by calmly existing around them without attempting to pet them (just sitting or standing near them). They should become more comfortable with you and you can begin to hold your hand out to them or slowly introduce petting when the time is right.

02. Your cat being playful

The second answer, about being playful, is as simple as it sounds. Your cat may be playing a game of tag with you or want you to follow them. You could try the same thing by engaging with your cat then hiding or leaving the room to see if they follow you. Your cat has energy.

03. Illness

The third answer, about illness, stems from a cat’s instinct to hide weakness from predators. If this following and running away behavior is new, consider this possibility. Check that your kitty has regular bowel movements and is not vomiting more than normal.

If you sense that your cat has had any recent changes in peeing, defecating, or vomiting, take them to see a vet. At the very least, they can calm your worries and confirm that nothing is making your cat sick.

Why do cats follow their owners?

Cats follow their owners because they trust them and maybe seeking attention or play. It may be a sign that you have an affectionate cat that wants your company. You might also see this from behaviors like your cat sitting near you.

How can you tell if your cat is scared of you?

Why does my cat follow me then run away?

A cat outside in the grass.

When your cat avoids your touch or runs away from you, it may be a sign that your cat is scared of you. You might have picked them up or pet them without their permission in the past and have since lost their trust.

What can you do to stop your cat from being scared of you?

There are several things you can do to help build trust with your cat. Start by calmly placing yourself in their company, then start giving them treats when you are near them to bring a positive association. You should then get to pet them regularly.

Your cat may be more independent, but most cats highly value human attention. You should start trying to get yourself in your cat’s good graces.

01. Be near them

Begin by standing or sitting near your cat when they are distracted, such as when they are eating from their food bowl. Stand with your hands in your lap or tucked away behind you so they do not view you as a threat. Do this consistently until they casually approach you.

02. Treats & petting

Next, you should try introducing treats and petting. Sit near them and on different occasions give them a treat from your hand or pet them. This will help them get used to your touch. Cats will appreciate sniffing your hand before you pet them, but they might be wary at this stage at first.

If you have been successful at slowly gaining your cat’s trust, you should be able to pet them or at least approach them without them running away from you.

How can you tell if your cat wants to play with you?

Your cat will want to play with you if they are turning back to watch that you follow or stopping and waiting expectantly for you to come to engage with them. They can also tell you they want to play if they wait in the same spot where you normally play with them.

Cats can be creatures of habit and will signal to you that they want to play by sitting on a particular pillow, for instance, or meowing at you near their toys. They may also lead you to their toys.

If your cat runs away toward their toys or their play spot, follow and play with them! And if you don’t have time to play with them, get them started playing with a toy mouse or something they play with themselves.

It may help to establish certain times of day when you consistently play with them. This could be 15-10 minutes or longer. Playing at the same time can help if they are interrupting your work or getting in the way of making food.

Could your cat follow a stranger and run away as well?

Cats may seek attention from a stranger and try to play with them by following them and running away. Cat owners believe that cats may be able to sense when people are friendly toward cats. They might have sensed this in the stranger.

They may also try to play with strangers if they have not been getting enough attention at home or if they are generally playful and high-energy cats.

Why do random cats follow me?

Random cats may follow you if they are hoping to get food or affection. They may also be lost and trust you to help them find their home. Random cats follow children to serve as playmates. They can be looking for pets. If they approach adults (taller humans), they might be looking for a new home or more human affection.

Outdoor cats sometimes approach other families because they are looking for extra food on the sly. Lost cats may have been chipped, in which case you should take them to the vet so they can help find the cat’s owner if they have one.

Why has my cat become so clingy?

Your cat may become clingy if they are wanting more attention from you. Cats can start to sit around or follow you (what if its leading you? click here) suddenly if they are seeking attention or want to play.

Why would my cat suddenly run away from me?

Will my cat come back if I let it outside?

A cat outside.

They might be trying to play or could be trying to show you something. They may also be telling you they don’t want to be pet or picked up. This is common if they don’t fully trust you yet.

Why would my cat run away from me outside?

Your cat may run away from you outside because it’s trying to play or leading you to something. Outdoor cats sometimes catch and kill small mice (click here to learn what to do with it) or birds and maybe trying to show you their accomplishment.

Your cat could also be trying to ask you to follow and chase after them. This is a form of play, and as long as you aren’t worried about them leaving your home, this should be a healthy form of activity.

Could your partner’s new cat start following you?

Your partner’s cat may follow you if they are seeking attention or food once they have gained your trust. They may sense a cat lover in you: if you don’t like cats, there are things you can do to curb this behavior.

If you don’t want your partner’s cat to follow you, you can try playing with them in set areas or keeping them off of surfaces using double-sided tape (Click here to see my best one, on Amazon) on paper or aluminum foil. Having specific times for play will help to reinforce that behavior when you are ready to spend time with them.

Lindsey Browlingdon