why does my cat hate me all of a sudden?
Behavioral Problems

Why Does My Cat Not Like Me Anymore?

Cats have a complex range of feelings and emotions. But one of the most confusing elements of their personality is when a cat suddenly changes its behavior towards you. This can make it feel that your cat no longer likes you.

Your cat might be angry with you if you’ve neglected or scared it. Similarly, accidental injuries will cause your cat to become fearful. An unsuitable environment and lack of mental stimulation are also likely to displease your cat. However, your cat may become angry and aloof due to an illness or injury, directing these feelings at you.

While your first instinct is to assume that your cat’s mad at you, that’s not always the case. A range of factors make cats seem angry or unhappy, causing them to redirect their aggression and anxiety toward you.

Why Does My Cat Hate Me All of A Sudden?

Cats don’t hold grudges, but they do become aloof and withdrawn if they have a reason to. In most cases, cats aren’t angry at you, but your behavior. Unfortunately, if your cat starts acting strange around you, there are several possible explanations. You’ll need to do some detective work to figure out what’s bothering your pet.

Cat’s rarely direct their emotions at one particular person, but it’s easy to interpret it that way. You might believe that your cat no longer likes you if it:

  • Ignores you when you call it
  • Runs away when you approach
  • Stays away from you
  • Hides more frequently
  • Only comes near you for food
  • Scratches at furniture
  • Has accidents around the house
  • Hisses at you when you approach
  • It bites you when you attempt to stroke it

To help you find the cause of this behavior, these are the most common reasons why it might seem like your cat suddenly hates you:

Afraid of You

If your cat develops negative associations with you, it’ll become fearful of you and either lash out or hide. Several things can cause these associations, such as you:

  • Shouted at your cat
  • Made a loud noise
  • Accidentally hurt it
  • Forgot to feed it
  • Trapped it in a room
  • Did something your cat didn’t like
  • Caused stress. For example, you took your cat to the vet

While you may not realize you’ve upset your cat, you might need to take steps to rebuild your trust. If your cat hides away, leave it alone until it’s ready to come out. In the meantime, try to determine what’s caused your cat’s fear and take the appropriate steps to ensure it doesn’t happen again.

why does my cat hate me all of a sudden?

Feels Neglected

Most cats crave at least some form of affection. Even the most aloof animals sometimes enjoy a cuddle from time to time. If you’ve been neglecting your cat or not giving it the attention it deserves, it may begin to stay away from you. Many things can make your cat feel neglected, including:

  • Not cleaning out the litter box frequently enough
  • Not sticking to a regular feeding schedule
  • Punishing your cat
  • Not providing enough mental stimulation
  • Ignoring your cat’s pain
  • Not brushing its coat or grooming it properly. This particularly applies to long-haired cats

Feelings of neglect are likely to be amplified if you bring a new animal into the home. If you get a new pet, remember to show as much affection to your cat to prevent it from becoming jealous.

Health Condition

Your cat’s strange behavior might not be related to you at all. It could be a sign that it’s unwell. While symptoms of illness vary depending on the cat’s health condition, the most common signs of sickness include:

  • Hiding and not eating
  • Weight loss
  • Excessive vocalizations
  • Frequent hiding
  • Visible pain

Unfortunately, cats are experts at hiding their discomfort. Sickness and injury make them vulnerable to predators, so they make themselves appear as healthy as possible to prevent other animals from picking up on it.

Sick cats will reduce their interactions with their owners. Before you realize something’s wrong, it can seem as if your cat’s purposely staying out of your way. Take your cat to the vet as soon as you can to get the treatment it needs.

Pregnant

As described by VCA Hospitals, some cats become more affectionate and needy during pregnancy. Others become angry and aggressive. This is due to their fluctuating hormones.

Similarly, pregnant cats usually feel more tired than usual, particularly during the later stages of their pregnancy, which can make it seem like they’re avoiding you. You’re more likely to read into this behavior more negatively if you’re not aware your cat’s expecting kittens. Signs of cat pregnancy include:

  • Its heat cycles stop
  • The nipples look puffy and engorged
  • The cat becomes more hungry than usual
  • Frequent vomiting
  • Seeking quiet shelters to hide in
  • A swollen belly

If your cat starts to display inexplainable aggression towards you or runs away from you more than usual, take it to the vet to check whether it’s pregnant or not.

Lack of Mental Stimulation

Bored cats often become angry and aggressive. That’s because they have no other means of expelling their pent-up energy. While cats spend a lot of their time sleeping, they enjoy playing with their toys and roaming outside when they’re awake. If they can’t do this, they’ll become destructive. They might even hurt you.

To prevent this behavior, begin playing with your cat using its favorite games and toys. In some cases, this is all the cat needs to be happy with you again. However, don’t be surprised if it takes a little more time and effort to regain its trust.

Unsuitable Environment

Cats become miserable if their environment isn’t comfortable enough. To be happy and healthy, cats need:

  • A warm place to sleep
  • A comfortable bed
  • Access to a clean toilet
  • Constant access to fresh water
  • Food at regular, scheduled times
  • Plenty of hiding places
  • Multiple toys and a scratching post
  • Opportunities to run, jump, and climb
  • A safe environment, free from hazards

Cats are territorial and become attached to their environment. If conditions aren’t suitable, they become stressed and anxious, displaying behaviors that make it seem like they’re angry at their owners.

Why Is My Cat Suddenly Avoiding Me?

There are times when it feels as if your cat’s avoiding you. There are several different reasons why cats do this, which can make the root cause difficult to determine. The most common reasons your cat avoid you includes:

Unhappy

Cats experience mood swings. If your cat’s having an off day or doesn’t feel particularly happy, it’ll avoid you because it wants to be alone. If your first instinct is to smother your cat with affection, don’t, as this will make your cat feel even worse. Give it the space it needs and it’ll eventually come around.

Relaxing

Your cat could be avoiding you for the simple reason that it’s comfortable where it is and doesn’t want to move. If your cat’s just come in from a night-time hunt or recently enjoyed a lengthy period of playtime, it’s conserving its energy and doesn’t want to be bothered.

Sleeping

Cats in slow-wave sleep (SWS) are sleeping, but their senses are in-tune with what’s going on. As described by Brain Research, there are two forms of SWS: light and deep. Even when your cat’s in the light stage, it’s able to recuperate energy.

During this stage of sleep, you’ll likely notice that your cat’s eyes remain open and its ears move. This is so that it can react to danger if it hears any strange sounds. However, when you attempt to interact with your cat during this stage, its body parts will twitch, but it won’t react.

This makes it seem as if your cat’s avoiding you, but it’s actually trying to get some shut-eye.

Routine or Environmental Change

Cats are creatures of habit. If you’ve changed something within your cat’s routine, like a new feeding time, or you’ve moved its scratching post to a new location, you’ve likely thrown it off balance. In the worst cases, these changes can make your cat feel stressed and anxious, which is the most likely reason it’s avoiding you.

Poor Senses

Your cat may not be avoiding you on purpose. A common reason for cats ignoring their owners is because they can’t see or hear very well and don’t know you’re there.

It can be distressing for cats to lose their hearing or sight. As a coping mechanism, they retreat and hide, making it seem like they’re avoiding you. Full or partial blindness also causes your cat to withdraw from you.

If your cat fails to react when you call its name, its hearing might be compromised. To test this theory:

  • Squeeze a noisy toy
  • Hiss at your cat, as cats see this as a sign of danger
  • Jangle a set of keys
  • Scrunch some tin foil

If these sounds don’t elicit a response, take your cat to the vet to have its hearing tested. If it does and your car moves its ears or swishing its tail, it’s sadly ignoring you.

Old Age

Age-related issues are sometimes responsible for cats ignoring their owners. As cats get older, their bodies begin to slow down, and they need more rest than they did before. This means your cat might not have the energy to react to you. In fact, if you interrupt its rest, it’s likely to become grumpy and avoid you as a result.

Similarly, senior cats commonly become less interested in their surroundings and prefer to be left alone. Age-related health conditions, such as arthritis and dental pain, are also likely to cause your cat to retreat. It’s not personal – it’s simply dealing with its discomfort in its own way.

Why Won’t My Cat Sit on My Lap Anymore?

Not all cats sit on their owner’s laps, but it’s a special moment when they do. If your cat used to enjoy curling up on your lap but has since stopped, it may have simply outgrown this behavior.

If your environment is stressful for your cat, it won’t sit in your lap in such a vulnerable position, as doing so exposes it to danger. It’s unlikely that your cat will sit on your lap until conditions become calm and relaxed.

Similarly, if you’ve upset your cat by shouting at it or accidentally hurting it, it won’t sit on your lap while it associates these behaviors with you. Before your cat trusts you again, you’ll need to work on your bond.

If your environment hasn’t changed or your cat doesn’t appear frightened of you, it could be injured. Hurt cats would never put themselves in such a vulnerable position and prefer to hide away while suffering from pain. Check your cat’s paws in the first instance to check that nothing’s embedded in them. Then, take your cat to a vet for a thorough examination. You can encourage your cat to sit on your lap again. To do so, try:

  • Enticing your cat with food or catnip
  • Rewarding your cat when it sits on your lap
  • Use a soft, gentle tone to give your cat positive feedback

Why Doesn’t My Cat Like To Be Held?

Cats don’t like being picked up because it makes them feel vulnerable. Instead, they prefer to have all four paws on the ground where they’re protected and in control. Restraint causes panic, even in the most affectionate pets. Similarly, cats don’t recognize cuddling, as it isn’t natural to them.

That’s why most cats struggle as soon as you pick them up. But that’s not the only reason, as cats also don’t like being held because:

  • They’ve previously been manhandled
  • They got dropped from a significant height
  • They’re injured or in pain
  • The cat is angry

According to Veterinary Clinics of North America: Small Animal Practice, cats don’t understand why they’re being picked up, so they become anxious and attempt to get free.

To prevent this reaction and stop your cat from being angry at you, you should avoid picking your cat up altogether. Some cats will never accept being held, so only do it if you must – for example, to put your cat into its cat carrier,

Why Doesn’t My Cat Sleep with Me Anymore?

Cats prefer to be up high. Wild cats find safety in trees where they can survey their landscape and scope out predators. If your cat’s abandoned your bed, it’s likely in search of somewhere higher up to sleep. However, this isn’t the only reason. Cats abandon their owner’s beds because:

You Move Too Much

If you fidget or move around too much when you sleep, your cat’s likely too disturbed to get comfortable. Once cats find a comfortable position, they tend to stay there. After a while, your cat will become fed up with the constant movements and find somewhere else to sleep.

Unfortunately, you can’t control your movements while you sleep, so this isn’t something you can change.

Too Warm

When too many people are in the bed, it can get very hot, especially during the warm summer months. This means your cat has gone to find somewhere cooler to sleep. When it gets cold again, you might find that your cat returns. But for the moment, enjoy the extra space.

Cat’s Found Somewhere Better

Cats routinely find new places to sleep, so if yours has abandoned your bed, it’s likely found somewhere better. Luckily, this means it’s nothing you’ve done – your cat simply gets a better night’s sleep elsewhere. Eventually, your cat might return to your bed, but not until it’s over its new sleeping spot.

Do Cats Get Less Affectionate with Age?

Some cats become less affectionate with age, but not all do. It comes down to your cat’s personality. Some prefer to be around their owners more often and become needy as they get older. Others develop an aloof, standoffish personality that upsets their owners. 

Kittens commonly become less affectionate as they transition to adulthood because they’re more interested in going outside to hunt. This is when their predatory instincts really kick in.

Similarly, some senior cats distance themselves from their owners due to their changing bodies. When their senses start deteriorating and their bodies become sore, they tuck themselves aware more often, becoming less affectionate.

Unfortunately, this is a natural part of the aging process. As long as you provide your cat with a comfortable environment, it should remain happy.

my cat is suddenly avoiding me

How Get Your Cat To Like You Again

If you suspect your cat’s not happy with you, there are plenty of steps you can take to get your relationship back on track. The crucial thing to understand is when your cat’s had enough. If at any point your pet becomes stressed and aggressive, slow things down.

Be Mindful of Your Body Language

Cats are intuitive and pick up on body language. Making the wrong move can make your cat even more hesitant to be around you.

Crouching down whenever you interact with your cat can make yourself seem less frightening. Similarly, eye contact can be a sign of aggression, so try to minimize looking directly into your cat’s eyes.

Also, paying attention to your cat’s body language is vital. For example, if its ears are pinned against its head and its eyes are wide and dilated, it still doesn’t trust you.

In comparison, relaxed, happy cats expose their bellies and hold their tails up. When you see these things, you’ve got the best chance of building a bridge with your pet.

Give Your Cat Some Space

When rebuilding your bond, let your cat make the first move. While it’s tempting to overdo the affection, your cat is unlikely to appreciate this and may become even warier of you.

Instead, give your cat the space it needs and be ready to approach it when it softens its stance. When your cat comes over, don’t dive right in, but crouch down and offer it your finger to sniff. If it seems comfortable and relaxed, go in for a stroke. However, if your cat walks away, leave it be.

In time, your cat will feel ready to approach you again, as long as you resist the temptation to smother it.

Appeal To Its Likes

All cats have different likes and dislikes. It’s what makes them unique. You can use this to your advantage by appealing to the things your cat likes best. For example, if your cat enjoys being touched in a particular spot, treat it to a gentle stroke. Or, if your cat enjoys a brush, spend some time combing out its knots.

This should help your cat realize that it doesn’t have anything to worry about and can trust you. It’ll likely take some time, but avoiding doing the things your cat doesn’t like should help.

Feed Treats in Moderation

Cats respond to food, so feed yours its favorite treats to encourage it to come around. However, be careful not to give it too many, as this could cause it to become misbehaved. There’s also an increased risk of weight gain and obesity.

Instead, strategically feed your cat its favorite treats to entice it to come closer to you or encourage social interaction. Most cats won’t be able to resist and will begin to associate their favorite foods with you.

Play with Your Cat

Once your cat begins to warm to you, start playing with it using toys and games to rebuild your bond. This will help bored, unstimulated cats feel happier and less stressed. However, it’s essential to understand when to stop. If your cat becomes too aggressive or starts to attack you, end the interaction and let your cat cool down.  

Once you’ve determined the cause of your cat’s aloofness, you must resolve the cause to improve its mood. As mentioned, it’s unlikely that your cat’s personally angry at you, but there’s a reason you must address.