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Will Ignoring My Cat Make Them Like Me? Here’s How They’ll Respond

Written by: Christian Adams

Last Updated on February 26, 2024 by Catster Editorial Team

Persian cat looking out the window_Shutterstock_NTP_RASTA

Will Ignoring My Cat Make Them Like Me? Here’s How They’ll Respond

While cats are fun, they can also be aloof and independent. Sometimes, we wish they liked us more, which may be why we wonder whether we can beat them at their own game. We hate to break it to you: Your cat will not like you more if you ignore them. In fact, the opposite might be true.

Below, we’ll explain why ignoring your cat might be a bad idea and offer an alternative solution to winning your feline’s attention. Let’s dive in.

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Do Cats Even Notice When You Ignore Them?

Cats are sensitive to communication signals and can perceive our emotions. Therefore, they will likely notice when you are not paying them attention.1 If you have owned a cat for a long time, they’re already familiar with your personality and know what to expect. Therefore, they will easily notice a change in behavior or pattern.

Likewise, cats are good at communicating their feelings. Hence, if you know your cat’s personality and pay attention enough, you will notice a behavior change when you stop paying them attention.

Image Credit: Liao Zhiwo Henry, Shutterstock

How Cats Respond When You Ignore Them

Your cat won’t like you more for ignoring them, but that does not mean they won’t react. How they react, however, will depend on their personality.

1. Some Become Sad

Cats grieve when they experience loss, whether of other animals or humans. So, they can become sad if you fail to give them attention. A sad cat will also appear sulky, tuck their tail, and hold their ears back.

In worst-case scenarios, sadness can develop into depression. Therefore, it is advisable not to avoid your cat for a long time. A depressed cat may choose to be alone more often and might decide to hide under the bed. Also, you may notice a decrease in appetite, a lack of interest in play, and more sleep than usual.

2. Others Get Angry

Some felines respond to your disinterested attitude by being angry and aggressive. An angry cat can engage in all sorts of destructive behavior. They can knock over your belongings deliberately or scratch your favorite couch to get your attention. Undesirable bathroom behavior is also typical for angry cats.

So, don’t be surprised when they defecate on your pillow or urinate on your carpet. In extreme cases, cats can turn their aggression to you by biting or scratching. Therefore, it is advisable to keep your distance when they’re angry.

hand touching cat's paw
Image Credit: Gorloff-KV, Shutterstock

3. Some Will Ignore You Back

Although some cats get angry or sad when you ignore them, others will ignore you. They may decide that your neglect should be countered with indifference. Fortunately, there is an alternative way of gaining your cat’s affection. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. More on that later.

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Why You Should Not Ignore Your Cat’s Meowing

If your cat is meowing more than usual, it could be a sign that something has gone wrong. That’s why it is advisable not to ignore them. It is always good to investigate why your cat is meowing, even if you find out the reason is minor.2 Erring on the side of caution is better than ignoring what could be a health issue.

Cats usually meow when they want to go outside or ask for more food and water. However, sometimes they will do it when in pain. Excessive meowing should be a cause of concern, especially when accompanied by other signs of ill health.

These may include:
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Lack of appetite
  • Signs of lethargy
  • Rapid breathing
  • Shortness of breath

Consult a veterinarian as soon as possible if you notice any of these signs.

When You Should Ignore Your Cat

Although it may seem unusual after making a strong case against ignoring your cat, there are valid reasons for doing it, such as curbing negative behavior. You can ignore your cat when they’re doing something you don’t like or approve of, such as waking you up at five in the morning looking for food.

Giving the cat what they want will only reinforce the behavior in those cases. You’ll teach them that disrupting your sweet morning sleep is okay. Sometimes, this method is effective in stopping a cat’s bad behavior. It works best on kittens, whose behavior is more malleable.

Consistency is critical, however. Otherwise, if you stop, your feline will revert to the behavior with more vigor the next time. Luckily, there are alternative methods to discourage unwanted behaviors in cats. Training them through positive reinforcement is a good example.

cat lying on the floor and looking up
Image Credit: DimaBerlin, Shutterstock

Why Your Cat Is Ignoring You

There are several reasons why your cat is not giving you the affection you think you deserve. Some cats are naturally aloof and will not show you affection no matter what you do. But it’s more likely your furry friend’s ignoring you for reasons you can overcome.

Often, a cat will ignore you because of mistrust. Perhaps you just adopted them, and they’re unsure of your intentions. The cat can also engage less depending on their stage of growth. For instance, adolescent felines are more disinterested.

A cat may also ignore you because you never pay attention to them. Cats are not subservient, at least not relationship-wise. Feeding them and providing shelter is not enough reason to love you.

How to Make Your Cat Like You More

Ignoring your cat doesn’t make you likable, but there is an alternative way to make your cat like you more, and it’s rather obvious: Show them affection. If a cat is unsure how you feel about them, the only option is to reassure them, not ignore them. That means you need to make the first move. If successful, you can proceed to win them over gradually.

You may have noticed how cats behave differently around family members. They don’t make eye contact with some but will jump on another person’s lap immediately after they enter the room.

As with any other healthy relationship, the more you give, the more you receive. So, give your feline attention through petting, playing, grooming, and providing toys.

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Ignoring your cat won’t make you more appealing, and your cat will like you more when you show them affection. However, there are various instances when ignoring your cat could be the right thing to do. For example, giving your cat the cold shoulder could curb unwanted or destructive behavior.

It is advisable to be cautious when doing that, however. Some cats may not respond well to that treatment. Some might become sad, aggressive, or might engage in destructive behavior. Hence, never do it excessively. But most importantly, become familiar with your cat’s personality to develop tailored solutions.

Featured Image Credit: NTP_RASTA, Shutterstock

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