Categories: cat personality

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 dislikes you. The first issue is whether your cat is reflecting your personality. The second issue overlaps with the first and is whether you dislike your cat for whatever reason and as a consequence your cat senses this and behaves in a difficult sometimes aggressive way. In this latter instance it is the behaviour of the owner who has begun to dislike their cat which influences their cat’s behaviour thereby exacerbating the problem in a downward spiral.

Sandy Hingston’s cat. A dark tortoiseshell. They are always female and they can have an attitude it is said. Photo: Hingston.

Reflecting personality

It is said that domestic cats reflect their owner’s personality. So if an owner thinks that their cat is difficult and unpleasant to be with it may well be that the owner is difficult and unpleasant to be with from the cat’s perspective. The cat is reflecting the owner’s personality.

A person may adopt a cat, often from a rescue centre, and then perhaps gradually fall out of love with their cat. Perhaps more likely is the scenario in which a person decides somewhat reluctantly to adopt a cat from a rescue centre. They might do it on the spur of the moment. The start is not quite right.

Sandy Hingston’s story

One story which reflects how a person can start off wrong and was never really improve is currently published on the City Life online newspaper. It is an article written by Sandy Hingston on 26 March 2020.

She has responded to a request for people to come forward to foster rescue cats by offering her cat to anybody who wants to foster her. In other words she wants to get rid of her cat because her personality according to Sandy is difficult. Her cat is hard to live with. She’s excitable and constantly on high alert. She is nervous and not very nice. Sandy says that her cat has drawn blood from ankles and has launched a full-blooded attack on one of her in-laws.

During the coronavirus lockdown, stresses are building up and Sandy says that on day 17 of her new work from home regime her cat has developed into a total bitch, to use her language. She is with her cat 24/7 which is to be expected. But during this time her cat sleeps for 22 hours per day and then emerges from her slumber to demand breakfast and dinner. In other words Sandy believes that she does not get a lot back from her cat in the way of companionship under these difficult and trying times.

She says that when she bought a toy for her cat, she took one look at it, yawned and then walked away to go back to sleep. Simply not interested. She says that all the money that she has spent on a cat she could have spent it more usefully on buying booze and pizzas if she could get them which, in fact, is probably impossible at present bearing in mind the panic buyers.

I don’t know whether her article is written tongue in cheek but I sense there is some truth in what she says. I also sense that she should not have adopted her cat in the first place but did it out of her motherly instincts. It’s gone wrong. The relationship doesn’t really work and I think her cat reflects that. I sense that her cat does not feel warmth from her owner which results in a less than likeable response. You can see how the relationship deteriorated to a point where it is stable but not particularly comfortable.

Cat’s personality

The third reason is that your cat has a personality problem. Cats are individuals and not all cats are charming, cuddly creatures. Sandy’s cat is a tortie and torties are meant to have catitude. She may be a bit ‘bitchy’ naturally. Or to put it a different way: domestication does not really suit her.

Socialisation

The fourth reason is about socialisation. This cat might have had a start in life which was not ideal and as a consequence is not fully socialised to living with humans and other animals. If you miss that in the first seven weeks it is hard but not impossible to rectify. This follows on from the last sentence of the paragraph above.

Combination?

It may be a combination of all the issues in varying amounts.

Cure?

I think you have to tick the socialisation box off first. It means treating your cat in a way which socialises her if the problem is a lack of socialisation. If after socialising the cat she is still difficult you know it is a personality problem. I have audio file which is a record of an interview with an Australian lady who socialises feral cats. That might help and another page written years ago.

Perhaps a moral gained from Hingston’s story is that you should not adopt a cat unless you are completely certain about it and be aware that your cat might reflect your behaviour and attitudes.

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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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