If you corner a cat, pick it up and don't let go or chase it around as it will dart away, squirm or run as fast as it can. So, when you try to approach a cat, pay attention to its body language. If the cat begins to back away, stop moving forward.
Consider making comforting and non-threatening sounds. Try making soft kissing noises towards the cat as though you were speaking to it or saying things to it in a soft encouraging tone. A cat cannot understand what you are saying but it certainly can recognise your friendly signals or gestures.
When you see your cat around you, hold out your hand in a way so that he or she can sniff it. This allows the cat to see what's up with you and to experience the interaction on its own terms. Never forcefully grab your cat as this will scare the animal and create negative feelings in you pet. Also, if you use force your cat will start to avoid you by hiding or staying outdoors away from you. If your cat does not come to you when you stretch out your hand, put a small piece of cat-food in your fingers to entice your pet to come close.
Although a cat might roll around and expose its belly, be aware that they often bite or scratch when their lower backs, flanks and/or belly are touched. This will vary from cat to cat as the animal will probably forgive you quickly but in the meantime, you've got a scratch on your hand.
If you are petting a cat for a while, even if the animal is vigorously purring, be wary of it suddenly lashing out. If your cat is prone to these reactions, try petting it for a while, stopping and waiting until it looks in your direction, rubs you hand or knee, or moves towards you for more affection.