Cat Behaviour – Is My Cat Angry?

Living with a cat can be great fun, very active and filled with affection. But it is important to remember that cats operate on instinct rather than intellect the way humans do. This means they don’t so much reason things out and assess them as react on what their instincts tell them to. This means that cats can get angry for reasons that may not seem worth it to us and this can lead to an injury if dealt with in the wrong way. Here we look at the signs that your cat is angry.

Body language

Cats often use signs to tell the world what they feel and understanding this body language can go a long way to understanding them. One early sign of being vexed or cross is the swishing of the tail. When this escalates to smacking the tail on the ground or from side to side, this is a big red warning light – angry cat present! They will even smack the tail off furniture or your leg as a way of demonstrating their less than satisfied state. This is the opposite to the reaction in a dog, with whom a wagging tail is a sign of happiness.

Other signs in their body language to watch out for include their eyes and whiskered. If their eyes are large with pupils dilated and their whiskers are tensed forward, allowing them to look as big as possible, this is also a sign of temper. Cats raise their fur for a similar reason though this can also be used when they are frightened, to mask the fear.

Vocalisations

Cats will use a range of different vocalisations to show their displeasure, often depending on the cat. These can range from low-pitched growls that sound like something a dog would make right up to hissing and even screeching. The latter is a loud, shrill meow that will make everyone who hears it jump and is a real warning sign of a big problem. It can also indicate an injury or that the cat is in pain in some way. The growl tends to be more of a warning sign that trouble is on the way unless something changes while hissing is a little like a boundary warning – you are infringing on my territory, go away! Cats also spit and the phrasing spitting mad does really apply with cats. Like screeching, this is one of the more extreme reactions that says they are either really angry or really frightened.

Action

You can’t reason with an angry cat, talk them around or comfort them. You need to give them the space to resolve whatever has angered them, while trying to figure out what it is. If there is another cat in the household, this is most likely the culprit, whether it meant to be or not. Cats are relatively solitary animals and sometimes the presence of another cat or animal simply gets on their nerves. Kids can also cause a similar effect if they pester the cat excessively. An angry cat is also a dangerous one and is more likely to lash out with claws or bite a hand. Therefore, don’t try to pet them or get close to them and give them an escape route from the room to avoid conflict.

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