“My cat hates me. She is not as nice as my previous cat and I don’t want my cat anymore”
Has this ever happened to you? You adopt a new cat after your previous cat died and you find you don’t like her as much. You are disappointed. You are torn between giving her up and trying to make things better. You think your new cat dislikes you (or even hates you) for some reason, although you have no idea why. She seems to be frightened of you. Or you have kept your cat for years and she seems to have gone off you – started to dislike you.
Right away, I’d say that the statement “my cat hates me” is incorrect and itself may be an indicator as to why your cat behaves as she does with you. I don’t believe a cat hates someone. It is more about a cat being fearful of someone and acting in a defensive way, which can translate to aggression towards a person. So, the statement “my cat hates me” should be “my cat is scared of me”.
What are you doing?
The first thing to do is to check whether you are doing something that makes your cat anxious. Or, whether a person you live with is doing something that makes her anxious. In fact, the whole environment where she lives should be checked out to make sure that you are not creating this problem. Another cat or a dog in the household may be the cause of upset and your cat may be transferring her aggression onto her human companion. It is obvious to ask these questions first, but quite a lot of people are not sure what upsets a cat.
What can happen is the cat’s owner can try and force his/her cat to do things such as sit on her lap – i.e try and force the cat to be affectionate. The cat wants to move away and the person gets irritated and shouts at her cat. That single act might damage the relationship. If it goes on it will make the cat anxious. Then the person will become more annoyed and shout some more and perhaps hit her cat. That spells the end of the relationship, almost. The only way to resolve it is a long period of excellent cat care: best food, quiet, TLC, calm and letting your cat be himself.
Eventually, the cat will learn to trust the person again all being well. The morale to the tale is never to force issues. If a cat wants to be alone let him be alone. I think sometimes people’s insecurities show. The person wants more from their cat than the cat can deliver and so becomes disillusioned with their cat. This leads to the person behaving inappropriately with their cat (forcing, shouting etc) and the spiral downwards in the relationship accelerates. The problem is with the person not the cat.
Another question worth asking is this: when you selected your cat your cat should have selected you or made it known to you that she was relaxed with you. This often happens. If selection was on that basis, you have to ask what went wrong between the encounter in the shelter and at home.
Sometimes people will say, “my cat meows when I pick him up and wants to get down” and use this as a sign that their cat hates them. This is incorrect. Most cats don’t like being picked up anyway. Also, sometimes, people pick up their cat in the wrong way causing the cat to feel insecure. Another reason why a cat dislikes being picked up is because she is injured or has an internal soreness due to illness that hurts when picked up. All these things should be checked out. It is not a question of a cat learning to hate a person.
It may well be that your cat is not settled down in her new home. New places make cats anxious. It can take months before a cat is settled. In fact as far as I am concerned your cat will be settled down in a new place when you are settled down. That takes up to 6 months and more. If, therefore, your cat “hates you” during the first few weeks of a move, the reason is probably the move. Patience is the answer.
If a cat becomes aggressive when playing with her/him and you get scratched, this is not a sign that your cat hates you. It is a sign that you are playing to much and too hard with your hands and your cat has become wound up and gone from play to hunt. Just ease back in play and accept what your cat does as natural.
If there is nothing that you can point your finger at as a possible reason why your cat is scared of you it maybe that she has a problem with a certain type of person because of a previous traumatic experience.. Patience and plenty of tender loving care should overcome this but a cat may never get over early trauma due to abuse and may always remain fearful of people or a certain type of person. The cat’s owner will have to accept this and know that he/she is doing a great service in giving an abused cat a fresh start and a nice home.
Finally, scent may play a role. Cats are very scent orientated. If a person wears perfume it may put-off a cat. I know that my cat likes the way I smell. He will scent exchange when he smells me (rub my hand and head butt). Scent exchange is an act of friendship. It is what a person, who thinks his cat hates him, wants. Make sure your cat likes the way you smell. That should be checked out at the outset. But if there is a good relationship between cat and person the person’s scent becomes something pleasant to the cat.