You Can Hurt Your Cat’s Feelings – Here’s Why

You can hurt your cat’s feelings because they experience a variety of emotions from sad to happy and everything in between.

Unlike humans, your cat won’t respond to feeling hurt in the same way that you or I do, so it’s important to determine the cause of their discomfort to help them feel better.

Cats are a highly intelligent species who have a range of seriously complex emotions – which means that they can also become hurt by them as well.

You may be wondering how exactly your cat’s feelings can get hurt, and the truth is there are a lot of different ways that this can happen.

While cats are stereotyped as being uncaring animals, the reality is that they have a range of emotions that allows them to feel happiness, anger, sadness, and more.

There are many circumstances that can hurt your cat’s feelings, and they vary in how severe they are.

While some are more obvious experiences, you might be doing things that you don’t even realize make your cat upset.

So how can you hurt your cat’s feelings exactly?

 

1 – Ignoring or pushing your cat away can make them feel bad, even if you don’t do it intentionally.

Even if your cat is a total sweetheart, the truth is that these creatures are curious and nosy about their environment.

Sometimes, this means your cat might be persistently getting in the way of something, so you might feel compelled to push them away.

Before you do, consider if you would like it if someone pushed you away just for wanting to be a part of something that interested you.

Instead of pushing your cat away, try gently redirecting them and offering them a few pets or treats in the process so that they don’t feel like a burden.

You might not even know that you’re pushing your cat away if you’re sleeping or not paying attention.

If this is the case, do your best to be more aware of your kitty and make sure to spoil them with extra attention and affection if they seem upset when you wake up.

 

2 – If you don’t give your cat fresh food and water, it could cause more of a negative reaction than you might think.

It’s incredibly important for your feline to always have access to good food and water – meaning their bowls should be clean, and the contents inside fresh.

Not only does it hurt your cat’s feelings if you don’t make sure they always have fresh food and water available, but it can also be dangerous for their health.

Dry food and wet food are both viable options to feed your cat, but both food types have different lifespans once they hit the bowl.

Dry cat food can be left out for several days, because it’s made without enough moisture content to attract much bacteria to it. Despite this, your kitty is more likely to want to eat it if it’s replaced at least once per day.

Wet cat food can be left out for a few hours, though different brands have different recommendations.

You should leave it down for anywhere between 1 and 4 hours to minimize the risk of bacterial contamination.

Raw food is another popular option for feeding your cat, but since it’s created using uncooked eggs and meat, it’s at even more risk for breeding bacteria when left out for a long period of time.

Because of this, you should remove raw food from your cat’s dish right after they finish eating, and no more than 30 minutes after you’ve put it down.

Water can also be a breeding ground for bacteria, so it’s important to provide your pet with fresh water daily, or as often as needed if it becomes contaminated with food or litter.

By giving your cat fresh food and water frequently, you let them know that you’re happy to provide them with the basic care they deserve. This will equal a happy, healthy kitty.

 

3 – If you don’t regularly clean your cat’s litterbox, not only is it gross, but it also might hurt their feelings.

Can you imagine if you went to use your toilet and found that it hadn’t been flushed in days and you couldn’t do anything about it?

You might be disgusted and uncomfortable, which is how your cat feels when you don’t clean out their litterbox frequently.

Even if you have a large litterbox with high quality litter, that doesn’t mean that you can neglect scooping it for days on end.

By failing to keep your cat’s litterbox clean, not only will it hurt their feelings, but they might also start using other parts of your house to do their business instead. This isn’t a fun experience for you or your kitty.

Pet owners recommend that you clean your cat’s litterbox at least once daily, but you might have to do it several times a day if you have a multi-cat household.

 

4 – Skipping out on your cat’s normal routine can make them feel hurt because cats are creatures of habit.

If you normally feed your kitty every day at the same time or schedule playtimes and then suddenly change this routine, it might hurt your cat’s feelings.

Felines don’t do very well when it comes to major changes in their lives. In fact, it can have a serious impact on their health by creating stress and potential sick symptoms in more severe cases.

While feeding your cat an hour late or missing a single round of playtime might not have serious detrimental effects on your cat’s wellbeing, it could hurt their feelings.

Skipping small things might seem insignificant to you, however you are your cat’s entire world, and it’s a big deal to them.

While you might go to work, hang out with friends, and regularly do many things that don’t involve your furry friend, your cat only knows their life with you in it.

Because of this, it’s especially important to make time for your cat and stick to a routine that works for both of you, so they won’t feel like less of a priority in your life.

 

5 – Just like it might hurt your feelings to get yelled at, it can also hurt your cat if you shout or raise your voice at them.

Many cats are stereotyped for being uncaring and emotionless, but the truth is that they are very sensitive to the things that go on around them.

Shouting or raising your voice at your animal can very easily hurt their feelings, as they don’t handle this type of negative response well.

You might shout at your cat because they:

  • Knocked a cup off a table
  • Destroyed the laces on your favorite shoes
  • Ate through your phone’s charging cable
  • Put their paw in your drink

When it comes down to it, these are all situations where your cat isn’t intentionally trying to make you mad, and they won’t understand why you’re yelling at them for it.

Even if they do something more severe, like going to the bathroom outside of their litter box or scratching your couch, it’s never with the intent to upset you.

Therefore, it’s very important to never yell at your cat over the things that they do. In the same way, you should NEVER get physical with your animal to punish them.

You shouldn’t ever “discipline” your cat, but instead you should:

  • Gently redirect your cat from negative behaviors
  • Promote and reward positive behaviors
  • Pay attention to whether your cat is acting out due to an underlying health issue

This should never consist of yelling, hitting, kicking, or any other type of abuse.

By yelling or hurting your cat, you will only create a dynamic where they are scared, upset, and feel hurt by the way you’re treating them – which will only make things worse.

 

6 – Not providing enough forms of enrichment and mental stimulation can hurt your cat’s feelings.

Have you ever felt like you were bored out of your mind?

Humans can do a lot of different things with their lives, but your cat is limited to the home you provide them with.

This means that it’s up to you to give them things to do, both with you present and when you’re not there to spend time with them.

If your cat doesn’t have enough stimulation, it can hurt their feelings to know that their best human friend doesn’t care to give them opportunities to have fun.

If you’re not sure how to add more enrichment to your cat’s life, try adding:

  • Cat furniture such as cat trees and scratching posts
  • Plenty of toys to play with
  • Treat-dispensing puzzles
  • Hideaways and beds
  • Platforms and perches

In addition to giving your cat plenty of things to do without you, make sure to also spend enough time with them. This can mean playing with a laser pointer,chaser toy, or simply letting them enjoy your company.

 

7 – Your cat needs more than just food and water, and if you neglect the special care they require, you might hurt their feelings.

When you adopt a cat, remember that there’s a lot more to it than just giving them food, water, and a clean litterbox.

Your cat might be considered relatively low maintenance, but they still require regular veterinary check-ups, health care, and grooming to lead a happy, healthy life.

This includes:

  • Getting regular wellness checks done by your vet to ensure the health of your pet
  • Grooming and trimming your cat’s nails
  • Providing them with a balanced and nutritious diet to prevent digestive issues
  • Following up with your veterinarian for vaccinations, dental, and other treatments as needed

When you look at the bigger picture, your cat is much more than just a cute, fuzzy pet to play with.

They’re a living being that requires a few extra things to keep them happy and healthy, and it’s important that you meet those needs accordingly.

If you don’t make sure your cat is feeling their best, they may begin to act out and feel hurt by the lack of intervention from you. Do your part and keep on top of your kitty’s health just like you would your own.

 

How to Not Hurt Your Cat’s Feelings

While it might seem like your cat is more sensitive than you realized, it’s not hard to keep your kitty happy if you’re conscious of the way you’re treating them.

Many people view animals as nothing more than pets, but that’s a dangerous way to think of them, because it allows us to feel like it’s okay not to respect their feelings.

The best thing you can do to not hurt your cat’s feelings is to identify the things you’re doing that might hurt them and do your best to stop those actions.

In addition to this, if you’ve already done something to hurt your cat’s feelings, you should try to make it up to them.

This doesn’t have to be anything drastic. You can:

  • Spend extra time with your cat
  • Give your cat attention in a way that they enjoy such as by cuddling with them or playing with their favorite toy
  • Keep a schedule to meet their basic needs such as mealtimes and litterbox scooping
  • Offer them treats and pets, especially after you’ve hurt their feelings

Just like small things can hurt your cat’s feelings, it doesn’t take much to make them happy again. But how exactly can you know that they’re upset in the first place?

 

How to Know if Your Cat’s Feelings are Hurt

There are many ways that your cat may express hurt feelings to you.

These reactions can vary based on your cat’s personality and temperament, as well as the circumstance that caused their feelings to be hurt in the first place.

The most tell-tale sign that your cat’s feelings are hurt is their body language.

Cats can’t speak human languages, so they use their bodies to communicate with us instead. Understanding your cat’s body language is the first step to knowing when you’ve hurt their feelings.

It’s important also to note that the same body language from your cat can mean different things depending on the situation. Pay close attention to what’s happening around them to better know what their body language could mean.

 

Your Cat’s Body Posture

The way your cat positions their body can indicate how they’re feeling.

If your cat is sitting or lying down and facing you with a relaxed body, then they are feeling calm and content.

If they lay down or sit with their back turned to you, it could be because they’re feeling upset about something.

An arched back can further indicate anger or fear, while a hunched or curled position may mean that your cat is frightened or nervous about the situation.

If you’ve hurt your cats’ feelings, there’s a strong chance that they’ll create distance and angle their body away from you while they come to terms with those emotions.

 

The Motion of Your Cat’s Tail

Your cat’s tail is another major indicator when you hurt their feelings.

A calm, relaxed, or happy cat will have their tail lifted in the air, gently following behind them. It may vibrate if they are feeling especially excited about something.

If your cat is feeling scared, anxious, or shy, their tail might face downward or even be tucked between their legs.

An agitated cat tail may swish, flick, or thump against the ground while they work out feelings of anger and annoyance.

When you hurt your cat’s feelings, it’s most common for them to become sad or annoyed, depending on the circumstance. It’s important to pay attention to their tail and body language together, as this can indicate how you’ve made them feel.

 

Your Cat’s Pupils

Your cat’s eyes can tell you a lot about how their feeling, based primarily on their pupils.

The pupils are the center black part of your cat’s eye, and their size and shape can indicate what kind of mood they’re in.

If a cat’s pupils are normal, they’re relaxed. However, if their pupils are dilated, there’s a reason for it.

Pupil dilation can be the result of many emotions, such as:

  • Excitement
  • Fear
  • Anger
  • Surprise

This is where it’s important to pay attention to your cat’s surroundings and what’s causing their pupils to dilate.

If they’re in a scary situation, their pupils might dilate to express fear. At the same time, if they’re in a playful mood, they might dilate before they spring to attack a toy.

Additionally, the way your cat blinks can also let you know how they’re feeling.

The infamous slow blink is known to be a sign that your cat is feeling calm. If they slow blink directly at you, it’s considered to be them showing you that they trust you.

 

Your Cat’s Ears

Your cat’s ears are a perfect way to understand what kind of mood they are in, and they’re one of the easiest types of body language to interpret.

Cat ears that are upward and relaxed are a sign that your cat is feeling content with their surroundings.

If they’re slightly perched forward or twitching, they might be alert and listening closely to something.

Flattened ears indicate that your cat is feeling:

  • Upset
  • Angry
  • Anxious
  • Apprehensive
  • Fearful

Your cat’s ears are one of the easiest ways to tell apart a happy cat from an upset one, since they’re either standing up or flattened downward and are easy to tell apart.

Your cat may also use vocalization to let you know that you hurt their feelings. This might include:

  • Loud or frequent meowing
  • Howling
  • Hissing
  • Growling
  • High-pitched cries

Some cats will be very vocal when they’re upset, whereas others might give you the silent treatment instead.

Ultimately, you should make use of your cat’s body indicators and vocalizations as a way to determine how exactly they’re feeling.

This, along with your knowledge of their environment and what could be bothering them, will let you know if you might have hurt your cat’s feelings.

You might not be able to read your cat’s mind to know exactly what they’re thinking or feeling, but now that you know all about your pet’s sensitivities, you can help them feel their best going forward.

 

Writer: Audrey Schottelkorb

Read about Audrey

Sources

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