I’ve had my cat, Furball, for more than a decade. In that time, I’ve noticed certain things that dog people do that really irk my cat — and me, too. Don’t get me wrong. I like dogs and I love my dog-loving friends, but I do have one pet peeve: Please don’t treat my cat like he’s a dog.
This is a shout-out to all the dog lovers out there. Your good intentions occasionally annoy the heck out of your friends with cats.
To help you stop ruffling fur, here’s a list of six things that dog people do that annoy cat people.
1. Expect the cat to come when you call for her
Unlike your dog, who misses you when you step away for two minutes to go to the bathroom, cats just aren’t that attached to people. They only get excited to see people if they’re bringing food, usually.
Thus, my cat will not come when you call. He hardly ever comes when I call, so please don’t act all huffy when you call out his name and he ignores you. It’s his nature. Also, just so you know, "Here, kitty kitty" doesn’t work either.
2. Think a wagging tail is a sign that the cat likes you
When dogs wag their tails, it means they’re happy to see you. It’s like a hand waving “hello.” When you see my cat “wagging” his tail, it’s not a gesture of friendship. A better analogy would be to think of it as a snake swaying from side to side, ready to strike.
When my cat wags his tail, he’s telling you that he’s scared or agitated and you should back away — right now!
3. Pat the cat like a big shaggy dog
Your dog might enjoy the hands-on ruffling of his haunches, but my cat sure as heck doesn’t enjoy being pawed like a grizzly bear. When you pet my cat, please don’t manhandle him with a force suitable for a Saint Bernard.
My cat also doesn’t like it when you reach down and pat his head repeatedly. He’s not a basketball. When you’re using doggy force, it’s too much. When you pet a cat, imagine petting a delicate flower.
4. Throw like a dog person
I appreciate when you attempt to play with my cat, but I need to remind you again that he is not a dog. While a dog will take off like a flash after a tossed Frisbee, stick, or ball, cats need you to engage them first.
When you throw a cat toy straight across the room, don’t be surprised if the cat continues lying in exactly the same position. He’s not dumb, he’s not a bad hunter, and believe it or not, he’s not ignoring you.
When you throw a toy, you need to catch the cat’s attention and make the toy seem intriguing. Otherwise, it’s just another inanimate object, and he’s not going to run after it. Think of it as selective hunting.
5. Ask whether the cat "does anything"
This is one question that has always baffled me. What exactly do you mean by this? I assume it’s in reference to whether the cat can do tricks. Here’s my answer: Of course the cat can do tricks — he is fully capable of learning how — but we cat people generally don’t subject our cats to obeying commands.
I’ve noticed dog lovers often say they like dogs because they’re loyal, friendly, and they do what you say. Cat lovers like cats because they don’t do what you say. I’ll have to admit, though, that I did teach my cat how to sit, but it was only because I got tired of hearing how smart dogs are, and I wanted to prove that cats were just as smart.
6. Stomp up to, stand over, and shout at the cat
Here’s what’s going on in your mind: You see the cat and you want to be friendly, so you walk up, reach out, and start talking to him.
Here’s what’s going on in the cat’s mind. "Oh my God! Who is that big person stomping toward me with loud shoes and gigantic feet passing way too close to my tail? Why is that person standing over me as if preparing to grab me? And that booming voice! Should I run or should I attack?"
Unlike an excited dog who loves attention and stimulation, my cat finds it threatening when you stand over him and look him straight in the eye. You exacerbate the situation when you yell (yes, to a cat, you’re yelling), "Oh, so this is your cat!"
If you want to get to know my cat, get down to his level. Unlike dogs, you’re not telling him that you’re lower down in the pack when you do this. Instead, your body language communicates that you’re not a threat.
In case you haven’t gleaned it yet, I’ll spell it out: Cats hold silent grudges, and so do cat people. Often, they’ll express their dissatisfaction in a passive-aggressive way, such as peeing in your shoe or writing an article on Catster.
Would you add anything to our list? What do people do around your cat that annoys you? Let us know in the comments!