Domestic Arguments Make Cats Anxious

There are millions of heated arguments between husband and wife, boyfriend and girlfriend every day. You can visualise it. There are probably 10 million of them happening right now in North America alone.

Update: I have been criticised in a comment for referring to America in the above statement. I am apparently America bashing. I am not. When a person writes about the domestic cat you almost have to write about North America because it is by far the largest domestic cat “market”. I instinctively refer to North America for this reason and because by far the most news about the domestic cat on the internet comes from the USA. It is routine. My reference is simply an example. There are probably a million arguments between people in Britain right now and some anxious cats as a result. It is not relevant where the cats are. The only relevancy is the behavior of people.

Anxious cat because of shouting
Anxious cat — photo by aturkus
Two useful tags. Click either to see the articles:- Toxic to cats | Dangers to cats

Heating arguments between spouses generate a lot of noise, animosity and a bad atmosphere. They create the kind of atmosphere and environment that is the opposite to what you want for your cat but do people recognise this?

A cat will tend to be upset by the noise. It depends on the cat. However, most cats will be edgy after a blazing row. A cat might be more difficult to handle. If you stroke a cat after a heated argument he might show signs that he isn’t happy with it. The opposite, perhaps, to his usual reaction.

We owe it to our cat to factor in the effect on our cat of what we do between ourselves.

I have a feeling that domestic arguments and violence have a greater impact on the cat than people give credit for. The cat is normally not in the equation. Arguing couples normally don’t give it a thought. They should. It may put the brakes on arguing.

Of course it also has an effect on the children. The effect can be quite serious and result in low self-esteem for the child for the rest of her/his life.

16 thoughts on “Domestic Arguments Make Cats Anxious”

  1. As I see it North America was just an example, it could be anywhere in the world but Michael chose that place to use in his article. What does it matter? The important thing is that it is about cats and how domestic arguments upset and even traumatise them and that is the issue. And it is quite true, cats can distinguish raised angry voices or worried voices from normal every day voices, to me it’s a form of abuse just the same as children witnessing anger in the home is. Let’s not miss the point of an interesting article by spitting out the dummies over the scene setting part of it, just substitute England, China or Timbuktu for North America as you read it, it matters not as it’s happening everywhere.

  2. I don’t think you are an ‘American basher’ Michael.
    I think that because as you say, most PoC visitors are from North America you are identifying with them by mentioning ‘arguments in North America’
    Most people like to read their own countries statistics, news etc. It doesn’t mean because you only mention theirs that arguments don’t happen in all other countries.
    It’s like writing about declawing, that shouldn’t upset Americans either because the truth is that it happens there, it’s not a criticism of ALL Americans, it’s to educate those who are pro declaw.
    Taking anything personally isn’t a good idea at all on any subject, if we took it personally every bad thing that is said about England we’d be very upset most of the time.
    I hope that makes sense?
    Anyway I agree, arguments are bad for cats, they become stressed if it happens a lot, they don’t know what it’s about, they only hear the loud angry voices. We need to remember how sensitive a cat’s ears are and why they may react with a hiss if one of the arguers goes to stroke him because after all, he can’t take sides.

    • Thanks Ruth 😉 I try and be fair and present balanced arguments. As I wrote in response to Harvey’s comments, most “cat news” etc. comes out of the US so one naturally tends to refer to that country.

  3. Hi Michael. I think it would have been better to be more generic by using the term “world-wide”, or something similar Mentioning certain countries can be interpreted as inferring that the problem is specific or more common in those countries. I know very well that the USA was mentioned simply to draw attention to the large numbers involved but it is easily seen differently.

    • Perhaps you are correct but when I wrote that line I sort of wrote as if I lived in America. I did not give it a second thought. It is habit. Because 90% of what happens on the internet about the domestic cat happens in the US I have got into the habit of referring to it. I don’t think even think what I said was critical of the US because arguing is what people do. We all do it. And I did not say that all 10m arguments were done in front a cat.

      I guess I’ll just have to bear in mind a bit more than normal the sensitivities of Americans.

  4. ~There are millions of heated arguments between husband and wife, boyfriend and girlfriend every day. You can visualise it. There are probably 10 million of them happening right now in North America alone.~

    Oh, why not bash the Americans again? It’s such fun.

    • VG I am not bashing Americans. The only reason why I mention North America is because most visitors to PoC are from N. America. So I am addressing the audience. It could be any country. There will be 1 million arguments in the UK today or whatever. It does not matter.

      N. America is the biggest domestic cat market by far. It is natural to refer to it. Also please note I say “North America alone” implying it is just an example.

      • Michael, I understand your reasoning, but I hope you will realize there are some complexities here. You would have been on very safe ground saying instead as above x million arguments in the UK alone. Because you are a Brit.

        I my long experience, there is a very different impact when a person talks to another person of the same country, criticizing some aspect of that country, versus someone from another country using one’s own country as an example. Complex psychology.

        I lived in UK for 10 years, and weekly, if not daily at tea time and coffee time, I was treated to “you americans….” “you Yanks….” and what was wrong with us. Missed the mote in their own eye.

        There’s plenty to criticize about the US, and Americans of my particular political persuasion are quite willing to have robust discussions amongst ourselves, online or personally. But, how would you feel if you had lived in the US for 10 years and been treated to continuing comments that said “you Brits are… blah blah”. And, having had it taken as a given that you were always in the wrong?

        Although my experience is a bit different from most Americans, having lived in the UK for such a long time, I still think that who is pointing out whom is an important issue, and one that might trigger strong reactions among readers who don’t bother to comment.

        Sorry, not sure this makes total sense, but really, I think it would be prudent to take care that that you, and commenters do not alienate Americans.

        • I think you are being over sensitive. I am perfectly happy for Britain to be criticised when due and praised when deserved. I don’t mind. Why should I?

          There is good and bad in both countries.

          Anyway you are missing the point big time. I referred to people arguing – domestic arguments.

          Domestic arguments are universal. It is about people anywhere because we are all the same at the level of domestic behavior unless the woman is lives in the shadow of the man as is the case in some cultures.

          So, mentioning North America (which of course includes Canada) is simply convenience.

          Sorry VG. The internet is a global community. Anyone can write about anyone else. There are no boundaries on the internet and the country is often irrelevant. Neither does the cat have country boundaries. My starting point is America and frankly America should be pleased because a lot of what I write is praise and I hope helpful analysis.

          America is becoming paranoid it seems to me.

          One last point. Almost all visitors to PoC don’t know where I live or what nationality I am. They don’t care.

        • “I think it would be prudent to take care that that you, and commenters do not alienate Americans”

          Why so?
          I speak as I find and if anyone doesn’t like my comments then hard cheddar I’m entitled to my opinion just like Micheal is entitled to write what he likes on his own website.
          If any supersensitive americans are alienated then it’s their own look out,it’s about cats not about peoples feelings.

          • Exactly Michael, if anyone is paranoid thinking they are being targeted then it’s their choice to think it.
            Rose you are right, if we have to watch every word we write just in case someone over sensitive feels targeted then we won’t be able to concentrate on what PoC is all about….CATS.

            • …..if we have to watch every word we write just in case someone over sensitive feels targeted then we won’t be able to concentrate on what PoC is all about….CATS

              This is exactly what I was thinking today. If have to second guess what I say all the time and over analyze I’ll be paralyzed. If I have to think hard about America or the UK or India or any other country and their culture it will kill what I want to say. As you so rightly say, PoC is about what is right for cats. It is about struggling to highlight how to improve cat welfare. There are also lots of pages on PoC that are fun and just straight pictures or videos and so on. Cats don’t have hangups about patriotism. Only people have these boundaries and overtly patriotic ideas.

              • This is what makes PoC unique Michael, you write the truth, you write from your heart which is the best way to write.
                Yes if you had to stop and ponder everythjng you want to say it would kill it, it would become stilted, it wouldn’t flow as your writing does now.
                As you say, there are fun pages and there are pictures and quizzes for those who don’t want to read the deeper articles.
                I think you have the right mix.

  5. I agree with this 100% – I hate it when that happens – I can’t stand it when the cats get freaked out by arguing and I pretty much just won’t do it if not for that reason alone then just because raising your voice is stupid anyway. I’m almost never the one to raise my voice and I almost never reciprocate but it has happened but not around the cats. I think they get used to it in families that shout alot but I think it’s terrible and quite scary for them perhaps. We are big and scary when we are angry.

    • I confess that I have argued with someone when Charlie is in the room or apartment and I deeply regret it. He is pretty laid back but I know it affects him at least for a while. Not clever. I have vowed never to do it again.


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