There is a reason why, of all the people walking on the street, a stray kitten singles you out and follows you around. Until you give it what it wants exactly, chances are that the kitty cat will try to catch up until its little legs get tired and achy. If it seems to be happening all the time, you may be wondering: Why do stray kittens follow you?
Stray kittens follow people because they are hungry. In some instances, they do so as they want attention. Stray kittens seek the assistance of people if they have no homes or lost their mothers or owners. However, stray kittens follow people, too, simply because they are naturally curious animals.
Unlike stray adult cats, stray kittens are not very good at expressing themselves very well because they lack life experiences and are still learning how to use their clumsy little bodies for various reasons. Due to this, you may find it a challenge to figure out why one is following you around, obviously wanting something from you.
Continue reading if you are looking for an answer to the question: “why do stray kittens follow you?” Below, we will discuss several reasons, thus allowing you to do the right step the next time one decides to chase after you.
Breastfeeding kittens drink milk every two to three hours or every four to six hours, depending on how old they are. On the other hand, fully weaned kittens eat food three to four times a day. Since they are rapidly growing and developing, it doesn’t come as a surprise why weaned kittens are constantly hungry.
Unlike house or pet kittens, stray kittens do not have access to food all the time.
It’s for this reason exactly why stray kittens will do anything necessary to pacify their rumbling little stomachs, including approaching people to beg for some food. Especially if the stray kitten that’s following you is meowing with a higher pitch than a regular kitten meow, it’s very much likely that it’s hungry.
Needless to say, you can keep a hungry stray kitten from following you further by giving it food. The good news is that a hungry little cat will eat just about anything and everything when it’s starving.
This doesn’t mean, however, that you can give it whatever you have within your easy access.
For instance, it’s a terrible idea to give chocolates to a stray kitten. Milk, cheese and other dairy products are a no-no, too, because kittens that are fully weaned are essentially lactose intolerant. So, in other words, offering them anything with lactose, such as a dairy product, will give it an upset stomach and diarrhea, too.
But be warned: The stray kitten might make it a habit to approach you and ask for food each time it chances upon you!
Let’s get one thing straight before anything else: stray cats and feral cats are two different cats.
Stray cats are cats that are lost or have run away from their homes. So, in other words, they are socialized and dependent on humans. It’s for this reason why stray cats are often unkempt and thinner than feral cats because they are not used to hunting for themselves. Stray cats are also friendly felines.
On the other hand, feral cats are cats that never had any contact with humans, which is why they are unfriendly, or people frighten them. However, some feral cats were once stray cats that fully lost their socialization abilities and needs.
Stray kittens are friendly and thus might approach or follow people because they tend to acquire the behaviors and skills of their stray mother cats. Unfortunately, it’s not unlikely for stray kittens to grow up into feral cats, particularly if they fail to become tamed and socialized.
In some instances, a stray kitten will follow you around because it’s looking for a home. It’s either the little animal is no longer happy with living outdoors or has lost contact with its mom and siblings.
Having a home is extremely important for stray kittens to survive. This is especially true since, according to data from various scientific studies, approximately 75% of free-roaming kittens, such as stray ones, died by six months of age. The data added that the leading cause of death in free-roaming kittens, if identifiable, was trauma.
Just because a stray kitty cat is following you doesn’t mean that it wants to live in your home — it could be that it’s looking for its home. Needless to say, the stray kitten could have strayed from home or been abandoned.
The presence of a collar is a surefire sign that the stray kitten was once a house or pet kitten. Getting in touch with the owner, whose contact details are printed on the collar, is the rightful thing to do. Most especially if the owner is desperately looking for the stray kitten, contacting him or her can save both the owner and pet from unnecessary misery.
In case the stray kitten doesn’t have a collar, don’t lose hope. It could have a microchip that bears a unique ID number for identifying the baby cat’s owner. Most veterinarians and shelters alike agree that kittens can be microchipped once they reach eight weeks old. However, it’s possible for younger kittens to be microchipped, too.
Since the stray kitten that’s clinging to you could have a microchip, usually implanted in the skin between its shoulder blades, it’s a good idea to take it to the nearest vet or shelter for scanning.
If it has a microchip, the stray kitten’s owner will be contacted. It will be adopted out if no owner shows up within the stray waiting period. Here’s a great idea: adopt the stray kitten after the stray waiting period since it probably likes you a lot. After all, you’re the one it followed of all the people on the street.
While growing and developing, play is an integral part of the lives of stray kittens and kittens in general. That’s because play, especially predatory play, is essential for young cats to learn communication and hunting skills. It’s while they are being weaned when kittens will show interest in playing.
Even if a stray kitten doesn’t have a mother or any siblings around, it can still have some fun and learn valuable skills, too, by chasing or stalking objects in the environment and batting, swiping or propelling them with its paw.
However, things can quickly get boring for a stray kitten, which is why it will always look for a different type of play.
This is when it’s likely to turn to people to obtain the kind of interactive play that it can’t get from its mother cat or brother and sister cats since they’re not around. Fret not because, in most instances, it’s totally fine to pet a stray kitten — click here to check out an informative article on this matter.
By the way, just in case you decide to adopt the stray kitten, many cat health and behavior experts (yes, some people do specialize in cat health and behavior!) recommend playing with your pet kitty cat once or twice daily. Every session should be approximately 15 minutes long.
Other experts suggest playtime ranging from 20 to 60 minutes a day, divided into 10- to 15-minute sessions.
You will not have a hard time figuring out when the best time to play with a kitten is. That’s because it is the tiny feline that will usually take the initiative to have some fun if it’s in a playful mood. The problem is that when a kitten initiates play, the session could run endlessly and escalate into overly aggressive play, too!
It’s no secret that felines are some of the most curious creatures on the face of the planet. Their curiosity helps them survive and makes them adorable in the eyes of humans.
Kittens are several times more curious than their adult counterparts. It doesn’t come as a surprise since they’re just beginning to discover the many wonders that life has to offer. And one of those wonders is you, which is why a stray kitten may follow you the moment that its inquisitive eyes come across your presence.
Sometimes, it’s not you that may catch the fancy of a curious and bored stray kitten but what you have.
Charms and key rings clanging, chunky necklaces and bracelets jingling, peasant sleeves or scarf waving in the air, six-inch heels clacking, bassy tunes leaking from a pair of headphones — these things and many others can definitely grab the attention of a stray kitten and leave it mesmerized.
A stray kitten or any other feline is also attracted to colors such as bright green, bright orange, black and white, as well as patterns such as polka dots, stripes, zigzags and leopard prints. Wear clothes that come in any of these colors or bear any of these patterns, and you are sure to make the heads of stray kittens turn toward your direction.
The problem with a stray kitten is that it can be so engrossed with the thing about you that has fueled its curiosity that it can lose focus on everything else, such as an open manhole, speeding car or fast-approaching feral dog!
It goes without saying that kittens see their mother cat as their parent. However, some kittens grow without a mommy cat, such as those that got lost after roaming around or whose mom got impounded or hit by a car.
Either way, it’s very much likely for kittens, very young ones, most especially, to look for a replacement for a parent that’s not around. It’s what’s called imprinting, and it could be one of the reasons behind why a stray kitten is following you around — it firmly believes that you are its parent despite the fact that you’re a person.
Being the owner of a kitten is entirely different from being the parent of a kitten. There’s something about being imprinted as the stray kitten’s parent that places you in a position of responsibility that’s so much greater than normal.
Instantly, you are a parent to a living being that you (or your other half) didn’t carry in the womb for nine months.
If you are imprinted on the stray kitten’s mind that you are its parent and planning to welcome it into your home anyway, the two of you could have a relationship that goes beyond the usual pet cat and cat owner bond. You are non-biological (obviously) parent and little one.
A Stray Cat Won’t Leave — Now What?
It’s not just stray kittens that can follow people around but also stray adult cats. In some instances, they show up on people’s properties or doorsteps, evidently begging for food, affection and a home.
Having a stray cat that constantly pays you a visit can be both endearing and stressful — you must be its most favorite person in the neighborhood, and now you feel compelled to return the favor in the form of regularly putting out food for it or giving it a home. Either way, it can leave you confused and sleepless, especially if you love cats.
And now you may be wondering: What to do with a stray cat that won’t leave?
Take a stray cat that won’t leave to the vet to check for a microchip. If it has a collar, contact its owner and arrange for a pick-up or drop-off. A stray cat without an owner may be adopted or taken to the shelter for adoption or undergo the trap-neuter-return (TNR) program for population control.
Ignoring a stray cat that won’t leave will not solve the problem. What’s more, it will only contribute to the number of hungry and homeless felines out there that are suffering and dying unnecessarily.
Fret not if a stray cat seems to like you, which is why it doesn’t seem to want to leave. That’s because welcoming it into your home is not always the step that you can or need to take. First and foremost, you need to establish whether or not it’s someone’s pet. If the stray feline is someone’s cat, you should try your best to contact or locate the owner.
Here are the steps that you should take if a stray cat refuses to leave:
- Win its trust. Dealing with a stray cat that doesn’t want to leave will be easier if you win its trust rather than make it feel unwelcome. This is why you should regularly put out food for it and give it drinking water until you are ready or have the time to take the next step.
- Take it to the vet. Carefully place the stray cat in a carrier and take it to the vet to see if it has a microchip. Worry not if the vet refuses to check for a microchip free of charge. That’s because you can always take it to the nearest animal shelter to check if the stray cat has a microchip.
- Contact the authorities. You may also get in touch with the local police or animal control-related agencies to leave a description of the stray cat — its owner may already be looking for it. You may also put up posters containing your contact details or post them on online support groups.
- Adopt the cat. If no owner shows up within the stray waiting period, which typically runs for five to seven days or sometimes for just 48 to 72 hours, you may arrange for adopting the stray cat, if you feel that it’s the right thing to do and you want a pet anyway, from the shelter.
Taking the necessary steps when a stray cat won’t leave will surely take a little of your time and energy. However, if you want to do your share in reducing the number of felines suffering and dying only because they do not have homes or have gone missing, the effort will certainly not go to waste.
Just Before You Run Away From a Stray Kitten
Adult cats are naturally curious and clingy animals, and kittens even more so. If a stray kitten is following you, it’s for certain that it wants something, ranging from food, attention, fun to a home.
Letting a stray kitten follow you without you doing anything about it could cause the little furry animal to stray away from its mom and siblings, pick up serious health problems, preyed upon by predatory animals or run over by a car. No matter the case, you could easily wind up guilt-ridden knowing that you didn’t do anything about it.
Above, we provided various answers to the question: “why do stray kittens follow you?” Stray kittens may try to get the attention of people for different reasons, but one thing remains true: the people they approach can do many different things that can change the lives of these tiny meowing creatures for the better.