Categories: Cat Aggression

Do cats get mad at you?

Do cats get mad at you? This is another part-anthropomorphized cat question. It’s a question which touches upon human behavior which is inapplicable to domestic cats and which in turn makes it a bit complicated to answer clearly.

Photo in public domain.

Anger at person’s attitude and character or actions?

People get mad at other people all the time; far too often in fact. It’s a human trait for people to hold grudges and hate people often for no genuine or apparent reason. We should avoid interpreting cat behavior in this way.

But do cats get mad at people? We have to mean do cats direct their anger at people for who the person is (i.e. his character) rather than for what they do? In my opinion, domestic cats do not get mad at people because of who they are, unlike for humans. However, domestic cats do get mad at people, as expressed in aggression, for what they might do to them.

Example

I have just read an article about a man and his brother who lived with an angry cat who hated to be picked up. I thought the household wasn’t that friendly for this cat but one of the brothers used to ambush the cat and pick her up just for the fun of it. She became very upset and mad at him and on one occasion succeeded in scratching him.

This is an example of a cat getting mad at a person for what he did. It is a direct retaliation for a hostile act against a cat. It is almost a defensive act by the cat in response to provocative behavior by the person. Done often the cat will connect the hostile act with the person and avoid them. It is more likely the cat will retire and hide rather than attack the person who made them angry.

The high profile story of Lux, a highly aggressive cat, who terrorized the entire family indicates a cat can get mad at a person or persons. Jackson Galaxy struggled to fix the problem but it transpired that the man of the house may have been abusing the cat over a long time.

Irritated

Domestic cats become irritated sometimes if they are over petted. It depends upon the character of the cat but some cats have quite strict limits on how long you can pet them. Or if you pet them in the wrong place or hold them too tightly or for too long.

Cats can become upset if we don’t wake up at four in the morning and participate in play and or feed them. They don’t get mad at you when you don’t get up in the morning early but they might demonstrate their displeasure or frustration at your bizarre human behavior. They regard us as cats and are surprised at our lack of activity at night.

Retaliation

If a person walking down the sidewalk kicks a cat for the hell of it or shoves his boot in her face, the cat may well retaliate by slapping at the boot and trying to scratch the foot. The cat does not harbor ill feeling against the person per se (in telling herself that this is a horrible person), she just sees a hostile act to which she must retaliate to defend herself.

I would argue, therefore, that the domestic cat does not become enraged at a person’s character or attitude but responds to a person’s behavior directed at them. In that context, it could be argued that a cat can be mad at you.

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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.

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  • I partly agree. I don't think cats compose complex opinions about how or why or to what extent someone may be a horrible person, but as Ms Cornaire said, they do apparently construct enough of an opinion that does extend in a direction, for example as to whether a person is specifically or even generally trust-worthy or affection-worthy. That is can stem from just one particular incident, one way or another speaks to this, because I've noticed that that's all it can take to turn a cat against me or someone, and no amount of compensation for forgiveness seems to override it. The contrast to dogs being just the opposite, that they easily forgive, which might be the biggest draw for dog lovers to in turn hate cats. So it may be that and/or a matter of degree, as with most things in comparing cats to humans.

  • IMO it isnt so much they get mad at ye but they become fearful of ye,I learned that the hard way many decades when I actually spanked my cat on a few occasions for his negative behavior and now I know he became fearful of me after I had done that to him,he stopped laying in my lap or sleeping with me,never ever put ye hands on a pet,never.

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