We all know cats have a reputation for being…well…naughty. They wake us up in the middle of the night and can’t help but knock our favorite possessions to the floor. They’re even experts at the judgmental stare-down. But despite that tough feline facade, cats can be big softies when it comes to their personal feelings. As intelligent animals, cats are capable of feeling a wide range of emotions. They can be happy and excited, but they can also feel sad and disappointed. Just like humans, cats can feel several different emotions during any given day, and they occasionally have their feelings hurt by their closest friends.
Obviously, we never want to hurt our cats’ feelings. We can’t control every part of life, but we can control our own actions. Sometimes we end up hurting our cats’ feelings without even realizing what we’re doing.
Check out these potentially insulting behaviors that are hurting your cat’s feelings.
Making Loud Noises
Cats have a good reason for jumping and hiding whenever they hear a loud or startling sound. According to Vetstreet, our feline family members can hear sounds around 1.6 octaves higher than humans. They’re even more sensitive to high-pitched sounds than dogs.
Every noise in your house contributes to irritating noise pollution. From the mechanical rumbling of the AC to the random sounds that come from the television, your cat’s ears pick up a lot. This can often cause what’s called “acoustic stress.” Constant and especially loud noises can affect your cat’s well-being, and they might take it personally when you fail to keep it down.
Shouting at the TV when your cat is curled in your lap is a guaranteed way to hurt your cat’s feelings. Don’t be surprised when they get up and leave. Making loud noises shows you don’t always respect your cat’s sensitivities, and it could cause your cat to avoid spending time with you.
You can’t prevent all loud noises, but you can do you best to lower your voice when your cat is nearby.
Wearing Strong Smells
In addition to sound sensitivity, cats also have a strong sense of smell. They use odors to learn about their environments and navigate the world. There are some smells that cats love, like catnip or even your dirty laundry. But on the other end of that spectrum, there are certain scents that cats can’t stand.
Cattraining.com lists citrus, bananas, cayenne pepper, lavender, and rue as natural scents that cat’s despise. They are also offended by the smell of their dirty litter box and some strongly scented soaps and deodorants.
Spritzing yourself with lavender-scented shampoo every morning is a good way to hurt your cat’s feelings. That scent is off-putting to them, and it’s often used as cat repellent. If you occasionally smell like something your cat doesn’t like, your cat might think you’re trying to keep them away.
Besides those specific scents, cats are often offended by anything that smells too strongly. Especially strong smelling soaps, lotions, or deodorants could irritate your cat’s olfactory system and hurt their feelings.
Leaving Them Alone
It’s true that cats aren’t as needy as other pets, but that doesn’t mean they enjoy always being on their own. They’re social creatures, and they thrive with regular attention and companionship.
Some cats are perfectly okay with being left alone all day, but most of our feline family members feel dejected when their humans stay away for too long. Even if they don’t want to be in your lap, they still like knowing that you’re nearby. They might be picky about being pet, but that doesn’t mean they want to be left completely alone.
If you have a busy life, it’s important to set aside quality time with your cat. Let them know that you’d never abandon them, and they can count on you to show up on a regular basis. If you hurt your cat’s feelings by leaving them alone too often, it’s easy for them to become depressed.
Pushing Them Away
As curious creatures, cats have a habit of inserting themselves where they don’t belong. They love to “help” with household chores, and they always need to know what you’re doing. That nosey behavior can be cute, but it often gets them into trouble. As a result, we humans have developed a habit of gently pushing our cats out of the way.
When your cat is pawing at your scissors while you’re trying to use them, pushing them out of the way seems like the obvious thing to do. Not only is it irritating, it’s also dangerous. But pushing your cat away, regardless of the circumstance, is a good way to hurt their feelings.
Cats can’t help their curious nature. They want to know exactly what you’re doing, and they love being involved. But the next time your cat puts their face somewhere it doesn’t belong, take a second before you push them away. Instead, offer a quick pet and redirect them somewhere else. A blatant shove will hurt their feelings, and it’ll probably make them even more determined to see what you’re doing.
Forcing New Friendships
Not every cat is interested in meeting all your house guests. Sure, some of our felines approach strangers with curiosity and confidence, but that isn’t always the case. Most cats are reserved around new people. They’re not especially trusting, and they want to take introductions at their own speed.
When you force your cat to interact with new people, you’re essentially disrespecting their feelings. Chasing them down and handing them over to a stranger stresses them out. They might react with aggression or be so traumatized they choose to spend the rest of the day in hiding.
It’s always best to let your cat make new friends on their own. Don’t force them to interact, and tell others to respect their space and their feelings.
This rule also applies to animals. You can’t expect your cat to become best friends with a new pet right away. Give them time and space to make their own decisions.
Leaving Out Old Food
Stale food is one of the ultimate ways to insult your cat. For one reason or another, cats appreciate being served fresh food. They don’t like when the stuff in their bowl sits out for too long, and they’ll usually refuse to finish it off.
It could be part of their finicky personalities, or it could stem from an ancient instinct that protected their ancestors from eating rancid meat. Either way, cats feel appreciated and understood when their families respect their desire for fresh food.
It’s a good idea to only feed your cat what they can eat in one sitting. Free feeding can leave you with wasted food, and scheduled meals will help keep your cat on a reliable routine.
Every cat is different, and what is insulting to one might not matter to another. In general, however, the behaviors listed above have a strong potential to hurt your cat’s feelings. If you avoid those feline faux-pas and think about your cat’s unique likes and dislikes, you’ll be better equipped to stay on your cat’s good side.