Here’s a tough one: How can you let your cat know that you are mad?
There are countless articles detailing the many signs that cats display when they are angry. But what if the tables are turned? It’s certainly easy to know when humans lose their cool, but cats are a different creature altogether.
Bridging this communication gap would require a bit of understanding about how your cat comprehends human behavior.
How To Let Your Cat Know You Are Mad? It certainly helps that cats are believed to be able to read the facial expressions of their owners. Therefore, they might just be capable of deciphering your frowns. Other ways to let your cats know you are mad would be to walk away or to be silent. These behaviors are understood by cats as a negative response.
In this article, you’ll learn the many ways you can tell your cat that you are angry. At the same time, you’ll also learn how not to let your cat know you are mad, as certain actions on your part will be detrimental to your cat. Let’s get started, shall we?
Three harmless ways to show that you are mad
1. Frowning at your cat
Suppose you are annoyed at your kitty and it shows on your face. Would your cat get it?
A study published by Galvan and Vonk in Animal Cognition in 2015 found that domesticated felines behave differently when their owner is smiling, as opposed to when their owner is frowning.
When owners appear to be happy, the cats in the experiment would spend more time in contact with their owner. They would also show more positive behaviors such as a relaxed body posture.
The opposite is true when the owner displays an angry expression that manifests in a clenched face and furrowed eyebrows.
What does this mean for you?
It shows that your cat pays attention to you and are sensitive to your emotional gestures. As simple as it sounds, frowning at your cat while clenching your first and sitting upright would send the message that you are mad.
The study also revealed that cats do not respond the same way to unfamiliar people. When they are around strangers, cats would show the same amount of positive behavior regardless of whether the person is smiling or frowning.
This suggests that cats learn the ability to read facial expressions over time.
Therefore, the closer you are with your cat, the higher the chances that your cat can read the emotions that you physically express.
Now, before you go thinking that your cat is so intelligent that it knows exactly when you are angry, you should also consider that the results were so because these cats have learned to associate positive disposition with owners displaying rewarding behaviors towards their cat.
If so, cats are simply smart enough to get what they want – rather than actually understand how you feel. If cats cannot truly grasp that you are angry per se, what kinds of behaviors can you display that your cat will associate as “negative”?
We will get to that in the next two points.
2. Ignoring your cat
If you need to let your cat know that you are mad, chances are, you’re trying to discipline it.
One of the best ways to do this would be to ignore your cat. Just walk away to another room, leaving your cat behind alone. You could also give your cat the silent treatment and refuse to respond to your cat verbally or physically.
Now, why would this work?
Most cats out there crave attention – some more than others. This attention makes them feel loved and in fact, domesticated cats need attention for their emotional well-being.
When you take away this attention temporarily… trust us, your cat will notice.
Your cat might even pull out all the stops to get your attention through techniques like meowing, staring at you, waiting outside your door or jumping on your lap.
But if your cat has misbehaved and needs to know that their misbehavior is not welcome, then ignoring your cat would do the trick. Just don’t do it for too long, though!
3. Taking away positive rewards
In a similar way that taking attention away from your cat will help them understand that they are receiving a negative treatment from you, you could also take away other positive rewards such as treats and games.
Do you have a tendency to reward your cat for good behaviors? For example, when your kitty is being friendly and affectionate, do you shower them with pets, give them treats or start playing with them? These are all gestures that cats would appreciate.
If you don’t already have the habit of rewarding your cat’s good behavior, you can consider doing so. (Just hold a reign on the treats as too much is unhealthy.)
Why should you do this? Well, it’ll actually make correcting a cat’s bad behavior easier. We’ll get to that in a bit.
Now, when your cat is displaying bad behavior, do the opposite of rewarding them. Apart from ignoring them, you can abruptly stop a playtime, take away their toys, and not give any treats.
This obvious contrast in your response, from day to night, is likely to be felt by your cat. They will learn to associate their bad behavior with a negative consequence.
When making all these efforts to discipline a cat, you must remember that repetition is key. It is only when you are consistent that a cat can slowly learn that this one particular behavior of theirs is garnering a negative treatment from you.
Otherwise, your cat might get confused as to what’s causing you to be “mean” to them.
Why you should not scold your cat
It’s obvious to you that shouting is a sign of anger. But how do you know that cats understand shouting as a bad thing? After all, when you shout at your cat, you are giving it attention – and as we mentioned, cats love attention!
Indeed, you might not have realized that some cats could unwittingly perceive our negative action as a positive one.
When this happens, your cat would repeat the very misbehavior that you are trying to correct, negating your efforts. So be mindful not so scold your cats.
Why you should not beat your cat
Have you ever struck back at a cat that clawed you?
This might seem like a natural response and a tit-for-tat – but will any good come out of it?
The answer is no. Neither should you bite your cat’s ear. The myth that biting a cat’s ear shows dominance is sticking around for a pretty long time now. In this article (Read it here) we show you the ugly truth about that.
You should never, ever hit your cat. First of all, you could injure your feline. Second of all, your cat might return the favor, this time in self-defense.
Cats also get stressed when they are punished in this manner. They could get anxious and insecure. When stress overwhelms your cat, their first misbehavior could heighten and your cat might even start to display other bad behaviors.
Hitting a cat will also cause fear to fester inside your cat.
Their misbehavior might not stop – especially when you’re not around – but what will stop is the loving relationship that you have developed with your cat. Instead of being affectionate towards you, your cat might start to scurry away at the sight of you.
This is especially so in the case where your cat did something wrong without intent – like peeing outside the litter box due to an undiagnosed medical condition.
Especially litter box problems occur because of human mistakes. If your cat poops or pees outside the litter box, we recommend reading our articles below:
- 4 reasons why your cat is not covering its pee!
- 5 Reasons why your cat is not covering its poo!
- Why your cat poops in the tub and what you should do now!
Getting to the bottom of your anger
To get to the crux of the matter, you should examine the very reason you got angry at your cat. This is important.
In general, cats display behaviors that feel natural to them. When they are scratching your sofa or jumping on the counter, they do not necessarily know that they are being naughty – they might not even comprehend what is naughty behavior.
When you get angry at your cat, remind yourself this.
After that, think and investigate the reasons why your cat could be acting out in a particular manner. Here are two examples:
(1) Your cat is busy climbing and chasing things around the house
If your cat seems hyperactive, it’s likely that it has excess energy it needs to use up. It is expending this energy by clawing its way up your curtains and running after invisible toys.
What you can do to moderate this climbing and chasing is to ensure that your furry friend has many avenues to do what it needs to do.
Set up cat trees, climbing towers, and other cat furniture so that your cat can explore and jump at designated locations.
You should also put aside 20 minutes of your time each day to play interactive games with your cats. For the hours you’re not in the house, leave some toys that your cats can play with alone. In our Ragdoll article here, we show you 15 awesome cat toys!
Just like humans, cats do get bored! As a responsible cat owner, you should find ways to keep your house cat entertained.
(2) Your cat is sharpening its claws on furniture
If your cat is scratching your couch, you’re joining a worldwide community of frustrated cat owners who face the same problem.
Cats love to do this not because they are trying to annoy you; they do this to keep their claws in shape and to leave markings on the couch as a way to mark their territory. It’s also a form of stretching exercise for your cat.
To solve this, you first need to redirect your cat’s scratching to a proper item meant for the very purpose.
Buy at least one scratching post (we recommend the ones you can see in our Ragdoll article here) and place it strategically around the house, preferably near the victimized couches.
The scratching post has to be sturdy enough to support your cat’s weight. You can get them in various shapes and sizes and let your cat decide which ones it likes best.
Another way to keep your couch safe from scratches would be to squirt water on your cat when it is starting its clawing.
You can also cover the sides of the said furniture with double-sided tape which cats do not like, or remove your cat’s access to the furniture entirely. There are certainly many solutions for you to try just for this problem only.
The goal: molding your cat to be a good housemate
All in all, it is perfectly okay for you to teach your cat to display good behavior by positive reinforcement and discourage your cat from displaying unwanted behavior through negative reinforcement.
After all, your cat is your housemate and it should be amenable to your rules.
You just have to be patient and understanding when you are disciplining your cat. Never show your cat that you are angry in ways that will harm them.
By keeping your cat’s interests at heart, you’ll be able to solve your problem over time while maintaining a good relationship with your furry companion.
How do you know when your cat is mad at you? When a cat is angry, it would vocalize in the form of hissing, growling or moaning. Its tail may swipe back and forth, and the hairs on the tail might stand up too. An angry cat’s ears would lay flat or turn sideways, while its body would either hunch close to the ground or arch backward. The cat could also start swatting at the object of its anger.
Do cats purr when they are mad? On the contrary, purring is typically a sign of contentment. When your cat is happy, it will purr. It could purr on your lap or even while it’s eating! Take note that cats might also purr when it’s trying to comfort itself or when it’s feeling sick or anxious.
Do cats get mad when you leave them? It is more likely that cats get anxious or lonely, rather than mad when their owners leave them. Being social creatures, cats do not like to feel abandoned. Some cats are sensitive to their owner’s usual routine and they are affected when they sense a change in this routine. Separation anxiety is not so easy to spot in cats until it becomes severe, but it does exist.