Cats are mysterious creatures — pensive, solitary and sometimes downright creepy. What are they thinking? Do they miss you when you’re gone? Are they secretly plotting to kill you in your sleep? These are the things cat owners question sometimes. You’re not alone if you question whether or not your cat even likes you at all. Though they’re quiet creatures, their body language can tell a lot about what they’re thinking and feeling. Here are some signs that a cat is less than happy with their owner.
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Cats can keep a grudge
You’ve probably suspected that your cat can hold a grudge, but were never sure if it was actually possible. After disciplining your cat maybe you’ve noticed that a few minutes later they “randomly” scratch or bite you, or keep their distance from you for hours on end. Yes cats, like humans, are capable of holding a grudge. But before you start thinking back to all the times you wronged your cat, take relief in knowing that cats don’t hold grudges for long. Cats only have an average memory span of just 16 hours at most, which means forgiveness is only a few hours away.
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Cats on their backs with their claws out
It’s hard to resist a kitty lying on its back — it looks like an open invitation for a belly rub! This may be the case, but beware — this position allows them to watch you while they have all their weapons out ready for attack. Notice if their ears are pinned back and if their eyes are dilated. These are signs that your cat is feeling defensive and that you might need a pack of Band-Aids handy before going in for that belly rub.
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Cats with lowered tails
Your cat’s tail is one of the best ways to understand what your mysterious pet is feeling. The height of its tail is a tell-tail sign (get it?) that your cat is feeling happy or upset with you. Generally, the lower the tail, the more likely your cat is in a fearful or hostile mood. If the tail is tucked under its body, they’re definitely not feeling you, so back off.
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Cats who walk away when you come around
Every pet owner knows how heart-wrenching it feels when they enter a room and their pet walks out. We try not to take offense because we know animals don’t operate on the same social code we do, but seriously, how rude! Cat owners are especially accustomed to their pets needing their own space, but if your cat is consistently disinterested in interacting with you, they’re probably not that into you. No offense.
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Cats who hide
As natural predators, hiding is part of a cat’s nature, but if your typically social cat suddenly goes Goth and starts hanging out in dark spaces it’s probably not a good sign. Are they hiding from you? Possibly. But it’s more likely that your cat is uncomfortable in its environment and is trying to find a comfort zone. Excessive hiding can also be a sign of stress, fear or that they’re hiding a medical issue from you. If your cat is naturally nocturnal and standoffish, there’s no need to worry if they’re usually out of sight in the daytime. Also if your cat is new to your home, hiding is just their way of getting comfortable in a new space.
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Cats who bite
Cat bites are one of the most obvious signs for humans that a cat is feeling agitated. Cats know what their fangs are capable of, so biting is often a show of dominance. If they bite without backing away or trying to play afterwards, they’re trying to show you who’s in charge. This is not to be confused with love bites, which are playful in nature and clearly not meant to pierce the skin. If your cat is aggressively biting you or others, don’t take it lightly. Cat bites can cause serious infections and need to be treated immediately.
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Cats that don’t use their litter box
Probably the most irritating sign on the list— a cat purposefully pooping outside of the litter box is a sure sign they’re trying to get under your skin. You’ll be tempted to excuse this behaviour by speculating that they could have done it by accident, but don’t underestimate the intelligence of your feline. It’s possible your cat is telling you they don’t like where you’ve set up their litter box or that they’re having a hard time accessing it.
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Cats who hiss
Let’s be real — hissing is absolutely terrifying. It’s a quick reminder that you have a natural-born predator living in your home. There’s no two ways to interpret this sign; if your cat is hissing at you, it’s definitely not happy with you.
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Cats that are friendly with other people
If your cat warms up to other people, but has a cold demeanor with you, then it’s likely they have a personal issue with you. Remedy this by giving your cat more loving attention and checking that all their needs are filled. Cats know that you’re their owner and that they depend on you for their care. Do they have food, water, and a clean litter? Do they have every reason to feel safe around you? Do you play with them to keep them healthy and stimulated?
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Cats that scratch your furniture
When your cat looks you in the eye and while destroying your furniture, you start to question if they hate you or if they’re just pure evil. This isn’t actually a sign of their like or dislike for you — they’re just marking their territory the best way they know how. The reason why they look you directly in the eye while doing it? That might be just pure evil.
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Cats with twitchy tails
A cat’s tail is like a human’s eyebrows — they convey emotion without having to make a sound. If your cat’s tail is twitching rapidly, it’s their way of giving you a threat. Back off or stop doing whatever it is that’s causing them anxiety.
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Cats with ears flat against their head
Cats press their ears back flat on their head when they’re feeling defensive or aggressive. This is usually the first sign that they’re about to go into attack mode, so it’s a good idea to put some space between you and your kitty. You’ll be tempted to reach out and pet them to calm them down, but your hand coming toward them will be seen as a threat and kitty will react!