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How do I know if my cat is mad at me?

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 
This may be a silly question. I'm still trying to figure out my cat/cats in general.

Sometimes she lets me pet her for a while, and then all of a sudden she tries to hit me, so I stop and just wait until she wants attention.

Sometimes her eyes look like she is frowning - like people, but I can't tell if it's because she is tired or what else it could be.

So, what are some signs that a cat is mad at you? Whether it is body language or facial expressions. What's the best way to deal with it and make them happy again?
post #2 of 4
Quote:
Originally Posted by TinySalmon View Post
This may be a silly question. I'm still trying to figure out my cat/cats in general.

Sometimes she lets me pet her for a while, and then all of a sudden she tries to hit me, so I stop and just wait until she wants attention.

Sometimes her eyes look like she is frowning - like people, but I can't tell if it's because she is tired or what else it could be.

So, what are some signs that a cat is mad at you? Whether it is body language or facial expressions. What's the best way to deal with it and make them happy again?
Let me start by saying ALL cats are individuals. So what makes one cat "angry" may not make another cat "angry". But in general the best way to make a cat "not angry" with you is simple leave it alone or give it time to calm down.

The verbal ways you can tell a cat is "angry" with you are noises such as growling or hissing. Other ways you can tell your cat is "angry" is from how the cat has its ears placed. In general ears set forward means the cat is "happy" or friendly. While ears set back on the head means the cat is "angry". The last easy way to tell if a cat is "angry" is if it swishes/wags its tail. This is a sign of agitation in cats.

I am sure I have missed some but that gives you a good start.
post #3 of 4
One of my cats wags her tail when I'm giving her scritchies, and it's pretty obvious she's enjoying the attention. It's different from the side-to-side tail lash; it's more like the motion of a windshield wiper.

Both of my cats will lay ears back and lash tails when they are play-fighting, but there is no hissing or screaming going on.

Cats don't frown with their eyes. If they are relaxed and their eyes are partly closed, or if they blink at you, those are signs of trust. I've been around cats since I was 3, and I'm still surprised when someone comments to me that they think a cat is frowning at them, but the cat in question is just sitting there with a neutral expression on its face. Next time you notice your cat looking at you, try a slowed-down blink with both eyes at her. Do this enough and your cat will realize that you're using her language, and may start doing it back. Likewise, if your cat blinks at you, blink back.

Look also at whisker position when engaged with your cat - forward means interested, far back is defensive. But if you are scratching a cat on one side of its head, it may pull the whiskers back on that side; that's normal.

If you are petting your cat, look for signs of relaxation like the 'sleepy' eyes. If your cat doesn't seem to enjoy what you're doing, try something different or give the cat a break. Some cats don't enjoy petting on their torsos, but only on their head, back of the neck, and ears.

If your cat bats at you, she may be trying to play-fight, she may be trying to chew on your fingers (one of mine does this as a sign of affection, I think it's because when she was teething as a kitten I was the only thing she wanted to chew on, and the habit stuck) or she may be signaling 'enough.'

Cats live 'in the now' and don't stay angry at people or circumstances after the negative stimulus stops. They can, however, exhibit conditioned responses, just like many animals.
post #4 of 4
Some cats get overstimulated when you pet them too much; I guess it starts to feel irritating. I wouldn't say she's Mad when she hits you with her paw, she's just letting you know you need to stop.

When a cat's eyes are half-closed, it's actually because they are happy or content.

Ears back, tail lashing, mouth open, hissing, swipping at you with claws would all be signs of anger.
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