Why Does My Cat Hate Me? How To Understand Your Cat’s Moodiness

Plus, signs your cat might be unhappy 😿

why does my cat hate me

You love your cat more than anything, but do you sometimes get the vibe that he might hate you?

Sure, some cats hiss at people a lot, or seem indifferent to your love and affection, but does that really mean your BFF hates you?

“Hate is a pretty strong word, and [it’s] unlikely that your cat dislikes being around you all the time,” Dr. Amy Pike, a veterinarian from Animal Behavior Wellness Center in Fairfax, Virginia, told The Dodo.

We spoke with Dr. Pike to find out if there are any signs that your cat hates you, plus how you can make him love you again.

Signs your cat’s upset

While it’s not likely that your cat hates you, you can figure out if the things you’re doing make your cat uncomfortable by paying attention to his body language.

“Nonverbal body language is key to understanding their emotions and if the cat is experiencing fear, anxiety or stress from something you are doing to or with them,” Dr. Pike said.

Angry cat body language

You can tell your cat’s angry or unhappy from body language signs like:

  • Ears flattened
  • Pupils dilated
  • Tense body
  • Limbs held close to body
  • Arched back
  • Teeth bared
  • Tail held tight to body
  • Hair raised
  • Body slightly rolled while lying down

Other cues like hissing, biting and hiding can also indicate that your cat’s uncomfortable, stressed or afraid.

Why is my cat upset?

If your cat’s expressing those signs, it might feel like he hates you, but in reality he most likely just hates — or is simply afraid of — something you’re doing.

“There may be things (like petting) that are not always welcome interactions,” Dr. Pike said. To figure out which interactions scare or stress out your cat, pay attention to his body language.

How to make your cat love you

If you’re still convinced your cat hates you, all hope isn’t lost! There are things you can do to make your cat love you.

Get out those treats

If you’re worried your cat hates you, you’re probably not above buying his love with treats. And the good news is this can actually go a long way in terms of your cat’s feelings for you.

“You can help change a negative emotion to a positive (or at least neutral) one by using food rewards to help counter-condition your presence,” Dr. Pike said.

We tried out Tiki Cat Stix on our own cats, and even our pickiest pets became obsessed — so these could probably help win your cat over, too.

Try Tiki Cat Stix from Amazon for $6.94

Be calm around him

Sudden movements can really stress your cat out, so being calm and moving slowly can help make you seem less scary or intimidating.

Your cat can also pick up on your mood, so if you’re angry or annoyed about something, he might feel the need to keep his distance.

Let him approach you

It’s definitely a good idea to have your interactions with your cat be on his own terms. If you’re always trying to play with your cat when he’d rather have some alone time — or he’s just not in the mood — he’s not exactly going to be thrilled.

“Sometimes playing ‘hard to get’ works really well,” Dr. Pike said. “Ignore them, don't make eye contact, sit down and read a magazine while tossing them treats from across the room.”

Watch for happy cat body language

Keeping an eye on your cat’s body language can also help you figure out when he’s happy to have you around or if he likes the things you’re doing.

Happy cat body language includes things like:

  • Relaxed body
  • Natural ear position
  • Closed mouth
  • Normal eye shape
  • Exposed belly
  • Stretching
  • Eyes partially closed
  • Loose tail

The good news is that if you think your cat hates you, he probably doesn’t. And even if he does, it’s not permanent! You can still do things to make your cat love you.

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