Categories: learning

Why do cats hate tin foil?

Cat walking on tin foil. Screenshot from video.

Why do cats hate tin foil? Well, we shouldn’t generalise because some domestic cats are not fazed by tin foil (or only slightly so) but typically they are. The reason is that tin foil is a strange surface and object. It is very reflective. It looks almost like water. And it is noisy. It makes a strange sound, when walked on or moved, with which cats are unfamiliar.

The problem for cats is a lack of familiarity with tin foil. This is particularly the case because tin foil when placed on surfaces such as floors or counter tops is very different to the surface that cats usually walk on. The stark contrast startles them.

The same problem occurs with any strange object. Do you remember the spate of YouTube videos of domestic cats jumping out of their skin when a banana was placed behind them without them noticing?

Cats are familiar with the kitchen counter and walk on it without any concern provided the human allows it! If you place some tin foil on the counter your cat will normally be scared of it and jump off, sometimes violently. When a cat suddenly encounters a large, strange object covering a large part of a surface that is usually walked on a cat will jump away from it with energy to avoid danger. Cats need to check out new objects and surfaces before going near it or on it in the interests of their welfare.

But give a cat time and they will get used to tin foil. They’ll discover that it does not pose a threat to them. There is a nice video which proves the point. The cat in the video has no option but to walk on the tin foil if they want to move forward which they firmly want to do. The cat sniffs the foil and touches it with their toes but recoils for a while until they are satisfied that the tin foil is safe to walk on at which point the cat’s fear subsides and they gingerly walk on a surface that was once anathema to them (see picture on this page).

Conclusion: cats hate tin foil because it is a fear of the unknown. And foil has some special and almost unique qualities in terms of the noise it makes and its reflective properties which are off-putting for a domestic cat until they get used to the stuff. It may take time. The crackling sound it makes is a little like the sound of a rattle snake. That snake-like sound may be a factor to the domestic cat as imbedded in their DNA are the memories of their wild cat ancestor, the North African wildcat.

The reaction will vary for the simply reason that the character of domestic cats varies considerably from timid to confident. Clearly the more timid cats will be more anxious about tin foil than a bolder, more confident cat.


Picture of a confident rescue kitten

This confident rescue kitten is destined to become a great companion for a lucky family. Perhaps he gives the impression ...
Read More

Is there such a thing as cat relationship chemistry?

When people get along and fall in love they say it's all about chemistry. We don't know exactly what it ...
Read More

Why do you think your cat dislikes you and is behaving badly constantly?

I think there are four reasons why you think that your cat is behaving badly and why you think she ...
Read More

Study which shows that cats reflect their owner’s personality is flawed

The internet reports a study conducted at the universities of Lincoln and Nottingham Trent which concluded that the personalities of ...
Read More

Domestic cats don’t hold grudges and don’t play games

One of the pleasures of our relationship with the domestic cat is their innocence and I use that word in ...
Read More

Dwarf cat, a Singapura cat and a cute dog face a clear barrier differently

This is an impromptu test of canine and feline intelligence or perhaps it is not. It seems to have some ...
Read More

Cats have one interest, activity and pastime: hunting, which is a weakness in the human environment

It is going to sound a bit weird to state this but it does affect the quality of life of ...
Read More
Please comment here using either Facebook or WordPress (when available).
Michael Broad

Hi, I am 70-years-of-age at 2019. For 14 years before I retired at 57, I worked as a solicitor in general law specialising in family law. Before that I worked in a number of different jobs including professional photography. I have a longstanding girlfriend, Michelle. We like to walk in Richmond Park which is near my home because I love nature and the landscape (as well as cats and all animals).

Leave a Comment

Recent Posts

Are purebred cats inbred?

My belief is that the whole purpose of cat breeding is to selectively breed cats…

1 hour ago

Joe Exotic gives his zoo to Carole Baskin

It is the ultimate humiliation for Mr Joe Exotic. His zoo has been given to…

3 hours ago

Do cats have a sense of time passing?

The question is specific, do cats feel time passing? Do they reflect on it? We…

6 hours ago

New South Wales: two lions maul female zookeeper. Fate of lions to be decided.

This is another story of a zookeeper being attacked by a lion or lions and…

7 hours ago

Are winged cats real?

Domestic cats with appendages that look like wings are real but domestic cats with genuine…

21 hours ago

My cat does nothing all day…

When searching for something to write about today I notice that people are typing into…

1 day ago