I have had eight cats in my lifetime. Lucky me! It's not hard to understand cats once you get to know them.
10 Signs a Cat Really, Truly Hates You
Cats can be funny creatures. Sometimes they have funny ways of showing affection— like headbutting your hand—and they have some funny ways of showing displeasure, too, like pooping on your clothing or drawing blood. So funny!
Below is a list of ten signs to look for to know if a cat doesn't like you. If you see one of these signs once, it doesn't necessarily mean your cat hates your guts, but if the behavior gets predictable and if it's combined with these other expressions of feline disapproval, it's probably a sign that somebody isn't your biggest fan.
1. The Cat Hisses, Growls, Bites, or Sinks Its Nails Into Your Skin
Signs like these should be hard to ignore. Hopefully, you realize that these are obvious signs of a cat's displeasure. Hissing, growling, biting, or slashing, or digging their nails into your skin are fairly clear indications that a cat is not happy with you. Of course some cats do play a little rough, and most cats will give a love bite now and then, but if your cat bites you hard enough to break the skin, that is one pissed-off cat.
2. The Cat's Tail "Looks Mad" (Lowered, Puffed Up, or Lashing)
How can a tail "look mad," you might ask. . . but once you learn how to read a cat's tail to interpret its mood, life with the cat will be much easier. Sometimes a cat's facial expression is hard to read (and some claim cats always look mad!), but the tail often gives them away. To know how a cat really feels, just look at its tail.
If its tail is lashing around, puffing up, laying low and stiff, or dragging on the ground, your cat might be annoyed, on-edge, stressed, defensive, or fearful.
A twitching isn't necessarily a bad sign—sometimes it's playful—but when the tail whips back and forth like a whip, it's usually a sign to stay back.
3. The Cat Poops or Pees on Your Stuff
Sure, accidents happen, but there's a good chance that was no "accident" at all. Cats are known to use their excretions as eloquent means of communication. Some cats use their poop like a little hate note to convey their displeasure. When they're upset, cats often "forget" the litter box, and when they are feeling threatened or stressed, they mark their territories by urinating in random places or spraying walls to lay claim. That poop on your pillow is likely a very loud and clear message, one that means exactly what you think it means.
(There are many different reasons why a cat might miss the litterbox. Explore all the options before you jump to any conclusions.)
4. She Ignores You or Avoids Eye Contact
Sometimes, when a cat doesn't like something, it will simply pretend it's not there. This applies to people, too. Cats are very adept at giving cold shoulders. If a cat refuses to look you in the eye, if it won't look when you call or react to your presence, you know you are a persona non grata. It's almost like a cat could ignore you out of existence.
5. The Cat Disappears Whenever You Come Around
Cats are often private and independent creatures, it's true. Still, even the most standoffish cats like a cuddle and a pet every now and then, or at least a meal. If your cat never, ever asks you for affection and even disappears whenever you come in the room, there's a good chance it's avoiding you on purpose.
Cats will scatter when they don't feel safe and they'll slink off when they are feeling stressed. If your cat is hiding from you, it's a fairly clear sign that the cat doesn't want you to see her and she doesn't want to see you.
7. She Seems to Like Other People... Just Not You
Sure, it's natural for someone to have better chemistry and rapport with some than with others—this is true between people, too. Cats are notorious for playing favorites, and some cats are just cooler than others, never warming up much to anyone. But if your cat turns to others for pets but consistently snubs you, runs up to say "hi" to others but always slinks off when you enter the room, this is a clear sign that the problem is not them, it's you.
6. Its Ears Flatten and Turn Back
Along with the tail, the ears are another telling feature of a cat's emotional state. When those ears turn to the side or fold back, it's a good clue that the cat is feeling on edge and defensive.
8. She Doesn't Relax When You're Around
Sleep puts a cat in a vulnerable position. A happy cat will lie down, relax, snooze, and even expose its belly as it sleeps. He will not do any of these things if he does not trust you. The less comfortable a cat feels, the less likely he'll be to let down his guard.
9. The Cat Won't Touch or Be Touched
When a cat trusts you, it will offer many physical expressions of closeness. It will lick you, rub you, groom you, and sleep on you. But if you are a dangerous creature, a cat will not let you get close enough to inflict damage. If a cat insists on maintaining distance, it's a good sign that the cat does not have faith in your intentions. If you don't get any head-butts, lap-sits, or leg-rubs, it's probably because the cat does not trust your motives.
10. The Cat's Eyes Are Dilated or Thin as a Line
When a cat's pupils get big, round, and black (dilated), it's usually caused by fear or excitement. When the pupils constrict to narrow slits, it's a sign of anger, agitation, or arousal. So either way, a cat's eyes can give you insight into how they feel about you.
Do Cats Hold Grudges?
According to Sam Westreich, PhD, they don't really hold grudges, but they certainly do remember. And it's widely understood that the memories that last the longest are those that involve pain—via insult or injury. Memories that are associated with a strong emotional or physical reaction last longer. So although a cat doesn't hold a grudge the same way a human might, their survival depends on remembering and avoiding threats, so if you've ever posed a threat to a cat—even inadvertently—it may become a barrier to your friendship with that animal.
Will a Cat Ever Forgive?
According to John Bradshaw, author of Cat Sense: How the New Feline Science Can Make You a Better Friend to Your Pet, “Cats don’t forgive, and once they realize a person is causing them anxiety or hurt, they keep away.”
So How Long Will a Cat Stay Mad?
The length of the snubbing you get depends on how bad your transgression was. If you went away for the weekend or accidentally stepped on a tail, your cat probably won't remember that for quite as long as, say, if you squirted him with a squirt gun, stopped feeding him the good food, or stole his favorite human away from him.
It might not be too late. If you really try, you may be able to make it up to the cat and earn trust.
What did your cat do to make you think it hates you?
How to Make Friends With a Cat & Signs a Cat Really Loves You
How to Befriend a Cat: Becoming a friend to a cat takes time and love. However, as many cat lovers will agree, your efforts will be worth it.
12 Signs Your Cat Really Loves You: Cats may sometimes act like they don’t care, but if you pay attention, your cat is likely sending you many signals that you are their favorite human.
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. It is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, or formal and individualized advice from a veterinary medical professional. Animals exhibiting signs and symptoms of distress should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.
gyanendra mocktan from Kathmandu,Nepal on May 19, 2021:
You have taught me very interesting and subtle art of cats'behaviour which I knew nothing about.
I don't have any cat at my home. But sometimes cats show up from my neighbourhood. They either enter through the door or windows. They look around in the kitchen first and then other rooms Then they disappear. They don't mew.
However, During the winter i find a cat sleeping either on my qulit or on the carpet. Then as soon as the day breaks the cat disaapears
Interesfingly, the cat leaves behind poop on the quilt or on the carpet!
After reading your article, I've learnt why the cat did that and also I 've learnt how to behave with them if I want the cat to pay a regular visit in other to chase away the rats.
Linda Crampton from British Columbia, Canada on May 18, 2021:
This is an interesting and useful article. Strangely, I stepped on the tail of one of my cats yesterday. It was painful enough for him to vocalize, but I made a big deal of apologizing to him. He accepted the apology very nicely and seemed to forgive me right away, which was a relief.