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How Do I Apologize to My Cat in A Way They Understand? 7 Effective Ways

Written by: Christian Adams

Last Updated on June 21, 2024 by Catster Editorial Team

sad lonely cat lying on bed

How Do I Apologize to My Cat in A Way They Understand? 7 Effective Ways

After only a short time with your pet, you develop a special bond, and one of the things that makes it so special is being able to read their body language and moods. But like our relationships with those we love in the human world, it’s not perfect, and sometimes we act out and say and do things that are out of line. With our cats, it could be aggressively throwing them off the bed or yelling at them. Sometimes it’s unintentional, like a trip to the vet or moving to a new house.

After we have sat with our minor guilt and self-reflected, the next step is to apologize. An apology can mean the world to your feline friend, and by staying calm and showering them with affection, you can effectively apologize in a way they can understand.

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What Can Make My Cat Sad or Upset With Me?

While cats seem mostly aloof and unaffected, they are sensitive to stress, emotions, and sounds. Humans can often overlook their cats’ feelings or not realize that their actions have caused emotional stress. Here are some things that cause your cat to be upset with you and may require an apology.

  • Cats are sensitive to loud noises, and a raised voice may terrify them.
  • Hitting or shoving your cat or rubbing their face in their mess to punish them will likely make your cat afraid of you.
  • If you leave your cat’s litter box dirty, they can become stressed and use the bathroom elsewhere.
  • Teasing is usually done by kids without the intention of hurting the cat. They may pull their tail, treat them like a doll, or antagonize them.
  • Trips to the vet can increase your cat’s anxiety.
  • Moving to a new house is always stressful for cats.
  • Dirty food or water bowls can upset cats.
  • Forgetting to feed your cat at the appropriate time can upset your pet.
  • Providing no mental stimulation or playtime can make cats irritable.
upset looking cat
Image Credit: Paul Hanaoka, Unsplash


The 7 Ways You Can Apologize to Your Cat So They Understand

1.   Understand How You Upset or Offended Your Cat

This is the first step in making an apology. It is acknowledging that you did something wrong and that you are willing to make it right. When you understand what you did wrong, your request for forgiveness is more sincere, and your likeliness of doing it again is reduced. It can also help you with your approach to apologizing

2. Timing

Just like humans, the timing of your attempt is important. If your cat is still upset or annoyed, they may not be as receptive and will most likely run away or ignore you when you attempt to apologize. Wait until your cat has calmed down. Allow some space, and don’t rush it or overpower your cat. With that said, you also shouldn’t let the time pass on for too long because your kitty may believe you are now ignoring them.

Monitor your cat’s body language. The time may be appropriate when their ears aren’t turned back and their muscles seem more relaxed and not so tense. If your cat is still hiding or avoiding you, call them softly to see if they are ready to come out. If your cat does approach you, give them praise and provide a treat.

cat talk
Image Credit: Andriy Blokhin, Shutterstock

3.  Stay Calm and Approach Carefully

If you accidentally or purposely upset your cat, it can also trigger a response in you. If you accidentally stepped on your cat’s tail, you may immediately feel terrible and run after them. However, this may provoke more fear in your cat. Wait to calm down, and then approach your cat.

Approach your cat calmly and slowly. Once your cat seems receptive, you can give them some attention. Slowly reach your hand out so they can smell you, and get down to your cat’s level, so you don’t come across as threatening. Keep your voice soft, relax your eyes, and maintain a calm energy.

If your cat feels safe, they will usually slowly blink and purr.

4. Verbally Apologize

What is an apology without words, right? Even for your cat, it’s more about the tone of voice. However, some research suggests that cats recognize some words, such as their names. You can start by calling your cat’s name to get their attention.

A cat’s hearing is sensitive and can distinguish between tones. Softly call your cat’s name and wait for them to approach you. You can use a baby-like voice to send the message to your kitty that you love them and that you are sorry. Experts suggest that cats are more receptive to baby talk.

woman talking to her cat
Image Credit: garetsworkshop, Shutterstock

5. Show Your Cat Affection

A verbal apology is a great precursor for affection, as you want to approach personal space slowly. Once you have gently spoken to your cat and the atmosphere is more relaxed, you can test your cat’s receptiveness by holding out your hand. If your cat sniffs or rubs against your hand, you have been given the go-ahead for some gentle petting.

Scratch behind your cat’s ears or under their chin, or if you know their favorite spots, that’s where you should focus your attention. Continue the affection later on by providing cuddles and rubs while your cat nuzzles into your lap or onto your bed.

6. Playtime

While cats are pretty independent and don’t require daily walks like dogs, they still need playtime. If playtime is already incorporated into your relationship with your cat, offering a play session is another way to re-establish your relationship and connection.

It can also help distract them from the incident that occurred while your cat is more focused on the fun hunting game and bonding with their owner. Playing with your cat will show them that you care, and once you’re done, your kitty will be more relaxed, thankful, and forgiving.

7. Give Your Cat a Treat

This step only applies if you have done the previous tips and your cat still seems to be struggling with grief. When you give your cat a treat, it is usually presented as a reward. Offering a treat after your apology will show your kitty that you care. A treat or even a favorite toy can help give your cat an emotional boost.

However, treats mustn’t be used as the only form of apology, as your cat will most likely accept them, but they may give you the cold shoulder afterward.

Cat eats homemade food
Image Credit: Lia Kos, Shutterstock

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How Do I Know When My Cat Is Upset or Offended?

Cats can be aloof most of the time, and at times, their resting faces can look like they’re offended, and it is hard to tell how your cat is feeling. Reading and observing your cat’s body language is one of the best ways to determine if they are upset or offended.

  • Your cat’s tail is a great communicator! A tail pointing up or lying down means your kitty is content. However, if they are thumping it on the ground or waving it around, it could mean they are irritated and possibly angry. If your cat is frightened, their tail will usually puff up, and their back will be arched.
  • If your cat’s ears are pointed up and relaxed, it may indicate that they are relaxed. Ears that are flat against the head indicate your cat is scared or angry.
  • A calm cat will have a calm gaze, but dilated pupils and wide eyes may indicate fear.
  • A tense body is a good indication that your cat is scared.
  • If your cat is upset with you, they may move their head and face away from you.
  • Hissing is a very clear sign that you have made your cat unhappy and should allow them a lot of space and time.
  • The classic paw swipe is another classic sign and is self-explanatory.
  • Your cat may give you the cold shoulder and ignore you if they are upset with you.
cat sad
Image Credit: Pixabay

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We can easily upset our feline companions by accident Our pets deserve an apology to regain trust and maintain the human and pet bond. Apologies directed at our cats aren’t about the words we speak but how we say them, along with our actions. Cats are sensitive to sounds, so a soft voice is ideal for showing your cat you care. Before apologizing, allow your cat time to calm down, monitor their body language, and approach them slowly. Once your cat is receptive, talking to them in a calm voice and some gentle petting will communicate your remorse, and in turn, your cat will likely show forgiveness.

Featured Image Credit: medveda, Shutterstock

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