Categories: character

A Dozen Things You Do That Your Cat Hates

Cat thinks NO

This is quite a neat list of things that you do which your cat hates. Perhaps the word “hate” is a little bit strong but let’s say your cat may dislike them.


Do my belly

The first one is petting your cat’s tummy. It should be emphasized that a lot of cats actually like this, either because they just like it or because they got used to accepting it because you like doing it. The tummy is a sensitive area for the domestic cat. I think, actually, that most cat owners realize this because it can lead to the odd scratch! P.S. The lower part of hind legs are also out of bounds for a lot of cats.


Another potential problem is strangers. Cats get used to their surroundings and your company. Depending upon the individual cat’s personality, they may dislike the intrusion of strangers. Cats are naturally cautious and defensive against unknowns. Strangers present an unknown threat potentially. It’s a reason why that in some households domestic cats are constantly anxious. It’s because there’s a constant stream of strangers coming in and going out. However, some cats will get used to it and they may be super confident cats anyway and therefore accept it, even like it.

Picked Up

Being picked up is another area of contention. Once again it depends upon the cat. Some cats learn to like it but in general I think that it is fair to say that domestic cats don’t inherently like being picked up. Perhaps it makes them feel vulnerable. It is unnatural for them. Humans pick up cats because it places their cat on the same level. I think it is better if a person wants to be at the same level as the cat to go onto their hands and knees or even lower! Humans pick up cats because they like it. This is not to say that cats like it, and in general they don’t particularly.

Petting Tail

Cats can be a little bit pesky if you mess around with their tail. Once again it depends upon the individual cat. It’s an area where petting is not normally done and not recommended. In terms of acceptance by the cat, petting the tail falls somewhere between petting the cat’s head and petting the cat’s tummy. Children are likely to pull a cat’s tail which is why it’s mentioned here. Children should be taught how to handle the family cat.


Cat alone

Another problematic area is separation anxiety because the family cat has been left alone far too often. It’s a misconception for families to presume that domestic cats are very independent and therefore they can be left alone all day. Domestic cats nowadays are quite sociable. They will miss their human companions. They may suffer anxiety and stress if left alone for long periods of time. This may lead to health conditions such as cystitis which can be brought on by stress.

Litter Boxes

All the experts say that there should be one litter box per cat in a multi-cat households. When there are not enough boxes it may result in one dominant cat exerting their authority upon a more submissive cat in a multi-cat household. The dominant cat may block the more timid cat from using the tray. This will cause stress and unhappiness in the submissive cat.


Cat loves carrier

We all know that cat carriers are disliked by cats for the obvious reason that they are used to do things which are also disliked by domestic cats. The most common use of the cat carrier is to take a cat to a veterinarian’s clinic. Cats associate the carrier with the clinic and dislike the carrier. It’s about as straightforward as that. In addition, there’s the obvious reason that carriers are quite compact and small areas and the cat is confined to it. This is unnatural for a cat. In fact it is unnatural to anybody or any animal. Note: cats can learn to accept carriers.


In general, riding in cars is something which makes domestic cats anxious. However, they do settle down and get used to it after about half an hour to an hour. Once again it is the strangeness of the experience which makes them anxious. There is noise and strange activities all around them. The cat is confined as well. These elements combine to create anxiety.

Multi-cat Houses

In multi-cat households some cats can be stressed. I think cat owners are becoming more aware that they have to be very careful when bringing together a small group of cats. This is because the person is selecting the cat. Domestic cats have preferences like people. They might not get on with a particular cat and conversely they might make friends. Cats select their friends. They also select their enemies. Some cats are dominant while some are submissive. There is a range of personality types. Cat owners need to be very careful about introducing new cats to the household to make sure that they are compatible.


Domestic cats do not naturally take baths. There is no need to bathe. We all know that domestic cats are fastidious in their cleanliness. They self-groom every day. Only if there is an accident such as your cat falling into some paint do you need to bathe your cat. In fact in bathing your cat you remove the natural scent which can cause problems in multi-cat households. This is because other cats will no longer recognize the bathed cat and hiss at him or her. This will go on until the cat’s scent naturally returns.


Most of us struggle in administering medicine in the form of tablets to their domestic cat companion. It’s a perennial problem which can only be fixed with excellent technique. Personally, I use a pill gun and catch my cat off-guard when injecting the pill into his mouth: specifically at the back of his mouth to make sure that he swallows it. There is no simple way to administer pills to domestic cats. Cats are always much more pliable and accepting in a veterinarian’s clinic which is why it is much easier to give them pills at a clinic.

Jane, a regular and knowledgeable visitor gives advice on pills:

“All pills are immediately followed by 1ml of water syringed into the feline mouth, not aimed at the back which can make them gag, but syringed to the side. We don’t like dry swallowing pills, nor do cats. One ml of water is about the size of one cat swallow and it helps the pill go down, more kindly.”


Dog visitors can be scary just like other strangers. I think people should be very cautious about introducing dogs to homes in which there are family cats. I have never tried to do this and I have never seen it happen. But the same problems must exist when introducing strangers either in the form of animals or people to existing cats in the household. The cats won’t like it, normally. It will make them anxious at least potentially and it may end up in conflict. P.S. Many dogs are very nicely socialized to cats and vice versa. Therefore they are well placed to make friends quickly.

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Michael Broad

Hi, I'm a 71-year-old retired solicitor (attorney in the US). Before qualifying I worked in many jobs including professional photography. I have a girlfriend, Michelle. I love nature, cats and all animals. I am concerned about their welfare.

View Comments

  • A very good list. Thank you for putting it together. I might print it out to hand to visitors who ignore requests to respect pur cats. It is a good reminder to us too.

    2 cats here, 5 litter boxes and big sandbox in the enclosed garden.

    5 big bowls of water, cats have such a low thirst drive that in times of stress they are less likely to drink enough. One bowl in every room practicable will see your cats drink more often. Also, less competition in multi-cat households. We don't feed our two next to water bowls, they prefer to eat away from them.

    All pills are immediately followed by 1ml of water syringed into the feline mouth, not aimed at the back which can make them gag, but syringed to the side. We don't like dry swallowing pills, nor do cats. One ml of water is about the size of one cat swallow and it helps the pill go down, more kindly.

    Come to our gaff and if you don't listen to our instructions regarding Jet, you will feel his half inch canines sinking to the hilt into your flesh. We will console & soothe Jet, not you, as you bleed & whine. If you don't respect our cats, we won't respect you.


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