Our pets have distinct personalities and emotions, and they aren't afraid to show these off. So, it's not surprising that they can also sometimes get mad at you. If you own a cat, you probably know that these little guys can sometimes seem like they want to start a fight with you, which can be slightly scary — a cat scratch hurts! You might be trained to look out for the typical warning signs: they start growling or hissing, making a low noise that clearly shows they're feeling threatened or angry, and they might bare their teeth. You probably also look out for the typical Halloween cat stance, when their fur stands up and their back arches. But these aren't the only ways to tell if your cat is in a mood — there are some other signs that your cat is secretly mad at you that you might be overlooking.
First, though, it's important to understand that cats probably aren't actually angry with you in a vengeful way. Cats are super sensitive creatures and can react negatively when something changes in the environment they're used to. So, if you put them somewhere new, start feeding them different food, bring them to the vet when they hate the car, or introduce a new pet, they may seem miffed at you, but they're probably just generally mad about the situation.
And, like other animals, cats will respond in an "angry" way when they feel threatened or scared. In some instances, if your cat is doing these things, it might be because they're afraid, not just angry. Here's how to tell:
1. Their Tail Is Moving Differently
You can learn a lot by looking at a cat's tail. Your cat might seem perfectly fine, but if their tail starts flickering back and forth quickly, that could mean they're either focused on something they're probably about to pounce on, or they're mad. If they're standing and they're holding it very low, that could mean that they're feeling some anger or annoyance. If it puffs up, your cat is definitely angry.
2. Their Pupils Dilate or Constrict
A cat's eyes can be a little hard to read, but take a look: if their pupils are dilated or especially if they're constricted, there's a good chance they're feeling anger. If their pupils are super tiny and their eyes are huge, you might want to step away.
3. Their Ears Go Flat
One way to tell if your cat is feeling threatened or angry is to pay attention to their ears. There are three things to look out for. If they are feeling threatened or uneasy, their ears will rotate towards the sides, which looks a little funny. If they're feeling agitated and irritated, their ears will flicker from the side to the front quickly. And if they're angry, their ears will go flat to the top of their head — and that could mean they're ready to attack.
4. They Won't Go Near You
If your cat normally loves to sit by your side and act super affectionate but suddenly they're hanging out on the other side of the room and refusing to come closer, it could mean they're angry or upset. Michael Rueb, Michael Rueb, cat behavior expert and operations manager for the National Cat Protection Society, says that cats will stay away from you when they're angry or confused.
5. Their Fur Looks More Fluffy
If your cat suddenly starts puffing up and their skin looks super fluffy and full, beware: they're probably feeling angry, upset, or threatened, none of which are good things. This is your cat's way of making themselves look bigger than they are, so it's basically a form of protection.
6. They Pee On Your Things
Some cats have an unfortunate habit of peeing on their owner's clothing or items. But if your cat doesn't normally do this, and suddenly they do it one day, something's probably up. Linda Campbell, a registered veterinary technician specialist in Behavior at the Humane Society of Missouri, told Reader's Digest that it could mean your cat is distressed. It's definitely worth looking into.
7. They Stare Directly In Your Eyes
Did you notice that your cat is staring you down? It could be out of love or curiosity... or it could be because they're mad. If they're doing this, check out those pupils to see if they look dilated or constricted, and pay attention to the rest of their body language as well.
8. Their Whiskers Point Down
Take a look at your cats whiskers. If they are pointed downwards and they usually aren't, that means they're nervous or angry, or feeling threatened.