We all have our pet peeves; loud chewers, slow walkers, or when groups of people take up the entire sidewalk. But have you ever thought of your cat having pet peeves? While cats might not be able to class it in those exact terms, we humans do tons of weird stuff that actively annoys our cats. Which, come to think of it, might not be the biggest surprise to cat owners, as our feline friends are pretty good at letting us know when they’re displeased.
But keeping your pet’s pet peeves in mind - and avoiding enacting those behaviors - can help strengthen the bond between you and your cat. All they’re askin’ is for a little respect! Here are a few things your cat doesn't enjoy quite as much as you do.
1. Being Left Alone
No one likes to be lonely, not even cats! As aloof and independent as cats like to make themselves out to be, they are social creatures at heart. They’re also intelligent creatures who can get bored easily while you’re away at work. A bored cat can result in 4 am kitty wake up calls and scratched up furniture. If you're not home during the day, leave your cat toys that will that give indoor enrichment for your kitty in your absence.
Provide your favorite feline with toys that they can bat around and play with at their own leisure. Catnip-filled toys are a great choice as the catnip also stimulates and encourages your cat to play - instead of nap all day.
2. Not Letting Them Scratch
While it can be frustrating to us humans to have a cat scratching up expensive couches, it’s just as frustrating for a cat if they have no place to scratch. For cats, scratching is pretty vital to being a happy and healthy kitty! Scratching not only acts as a form of physical and emotional stress relief but it helps a cat “mark” their territory, enabling them to feel safe and secure in their own homes.
Make sure to provide your cat with plenty of scratchers to scratch on! Need some tips on how to get your cat to stop scratching your furniture and start using the scratcher? Read our article here for more information!
3. Being Held Like A Baby
While some cats love to be held and snuggled, many cats find the idea an uncomfortable experience and will only tolerate it for brief periods. While it’s incredibly difficult to resist going in for a welcome-home hug, scooping up your cat and holding them like a baby can make them feel insecure.
As tough and independent as our cats are, their wild instincts still tell them that they are prey to larger animals as much as they are predators to smaller animals. With their bellies up and exposed, they might feel like they are vulnerable to attack, even when in your arms.
The best way to pick up your cat so they feel safe and secure is with one hand under their chest and the other hand supporting their back legs. Hold them gently against your upper body so they feel supported and safe.
4. Letting Their Litter Box Get Dirty
Okay, no one likes to clean the litter box. But cats are fastidiously clean creatures with extremely sensitive noses. Their sense of smell is approximately 40 times as powerful than us humans! Imagine if you had a roommate and came home to a stinky bathroom - you wouldn't want to use it, would you?
If you have a multi-cat household, you might want to consider a litter scoop with bags attached to make scooping and waste disposal quicker and easier.
5. Unwanted or Too Much Physical Contact
Cats have keen senses and can get overstimulated quite easily. Have you ever been petting your cat and one minute she’s purring and happy and the next she’s hissing and maybe even biting? Chances are they are being overstimulated and reacting the only way a kitty knows how.
Pay attention to where your cat likes to be petted (generally around their head and neck) and take care to avoid the spots your cat is more sensitive to being touched, like their paws and belly.
Of course, while some cats may be more sensitive, others still love pets of all kinds. It’s all about paying attention to your cat’s wants and needs - and heeding what they're trying to tell you with body language.
6. Dressing Them Up
This one might seem obvious to most folks, but most cats don’t like being dressed up in costumes. They can be tight, conforming and make moving around difficult. They can also smell strange and make weird, sometimes frightening noises - and often they cover their ears and make it difficult to hear, making dressing up an unpleasant experience. However, it doesn’t have to be. Find costumes that are minimal and that don’t restrict movement. Take small steps and introduce the costume to your cat slowly, showing them that it’s safe and comfortable. But above all, if your cat isn’t comfortable or shows signs of distress … just don’t dress them up!
7. Prolonged Eye Contact
Interestingly enough, many cats (and dogs, too) are uncomfortable with prolonged, direct eye contact. In the animal world, prolonged eye contact is seen as an act of aggression and dominance. So if you’re staring your cat down, it can actually make them feel anxious. If you just can’t help but stare into your kitty’s big, beautiful eyes, a better approach would be to slowly close your eyes, then open them and look away once your kitty meets your gaze. Yep, the slow blink! Cats will often do the “slow blink” to their humans as a sign of trust and affection. By returning this slow blink, you’re showing your cat that you’re not a threat or trying to challenge him.