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

Persian cat looking out the window_Shutterstock_NTP_RASTA
Image Credit: NTP_RASTA, Shutterstock
Last Updated on November 16, 2023 by Christian Adams

While cats are fun, they can be aloof and independent often. And we may find ourselves wishing they like us more sometimes. That may be why you wonder whether you 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 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, it is already familiar with your personality and knows what to expect. As such, it 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 it. But that does not mean it won’t react. How it does that, however, will depend on its 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. If you are keen, you can see that by looking at their eyes. A sad cat will also appear sulky, tuck its tail, and hold its ears back.

In worst-case scenarios, sadness can develop into depression if you are not careful. 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 may respond to your disinterested attitude by being angry and aggressive. Such behavior is hard to miss. And those who have experienced it may not wish to relive those moments.

An angry cat can engage in all sorts of destructive behavior. It could knock things over deliberately or scratch your favorite couch to get your attention. Undesirable bathroom behavior is also common for angry cats. So, don’t be surprised when it poops on your pillow or pees 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.

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

3. Some Will Ignore You Back

Like human beings, cats have varying personalities. While others are acting emotionally, some will not care. Are you giving me the cold shoulder? Well, two can play that game.

In other words, if your furry friend showed you less affection before, now you can enjoy none. What a bummer. Fortunately, there is an alternative way of gaining 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 it.

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 normally meow when they want to go outside or ask for more food and water. However, sometimes they will do it when in pain. As such, constant 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

It is advisable to consult a veterinarian as soon as possible if you notice any of these symptoms before things get out of hand.

When You Should Ignore Your Cat

It may seem unusual after making a strong case against ignoring your cat. Still, there are some valid reasons for doing just that. Curbing negative behavior is a good example.

You can ignore your cat when it is doing something you don’t like or approve of, such as waking you up at five in the morning looking for food. In such cases, giving the cat what it wants will only reinforce the behavior. You will 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, though. 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 aloof naturally and will not show you affection no matter what you do. But it’s more likely your furry friend is ignoring you for reasons you can overcome.

Often, a cat will ignore you because of mistrust. Perhaps you just adopted it, and it’s unsure of your intentions. Any cat can be reluctant to engage in such a case. Kitty can also engage less depending on its 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 won’t work. But there is an alternative way to make your cat like you more, and it’s rather obvious: Show it affection.

If a cat is unsure how you feel about it, the only option is to reassure it, not ignoring it. 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 offer no eye contact to some but will waste no moment jumping 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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So, will ignoring your cat make them like you? No. Your cat will like you more when you show them affection. However, there are various instances where ignoring your cat could be the right thing to do. For example, giving your cat the cold shoulder could help curb unwanted or destructive behavior.

It is advisable to be cautious when doing that, though: 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

About the Author

Christian Adams
Christian Adams
Christian is the Editor-in-Chief of Excited Cats and one of its original and primary contributors. A lifelong cat lover, now based in South East Asia, Christian and his wife are the proud parents of an 11-year-old son and four rescue cats: Trixie, Chloe, Sparky, and Chopper.

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