Cats have their own general behavior patterns that are different from other animals. If you are used to being around only dogs, for example, you may have difficulty assessing a cat’s mood and general disposition. Although cats have different individual personalities, there are common behaviors that will help you tell when a cat is friendly and welcoming. This is helpful when choosing a cat to adopt, or for general safety around cats.
Call to the cat in a quiet voice. Some friendly cats will approach you right away, although some may be more shy. While this is not the only way, by any means, to tell if a cat is friendly, cats that respond this easily to a human greeting them are very likely friendly cats.
Observe the cat as it approaches you. If it rubs its face to your leg or rolls over on its back at your feet, exposing its stomach for petting, then this is a further indication the cat is friendly.
Stroke the cat. At this point a friendly cat may rub against your hand or may even begin to purr.
Pick the cat up slowly with your hands supporting the upper chest of the cat and the rump. Cats that are not friendly and welcoming may resist this immediately, so be prepared to let the cat down quickly to avoid being clawed or bitten. Most friendly cats, however, will allow holding.
Look at the cats pupils, tail and ears. If the pupils are widely dilated, the cat is probably upset at being held by a human.
Whether the cat is standing or being held, the friendly cat’s tail will be limp or held straight. The ears will be held straight up and not held back and flattened to the head.