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Will Ignoring My Cat Make Them Like Me? Here’s How They’ll Respond (Vet-Verified Info)

Written by: Christian Adams

Last Updated on July 23, 2024 by Catster Editorial Team

Calico cat standing up begging for treat asking for food scratching leg looking up

Will Ignoring My Cat Make Them Like Me? Here’s How They’ll Respond (Vet-Verified Info)


Dr. Luqman Javed Photo


Dr. Luqman Javed

DVM (Veterinarian)

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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While cats are fun, some cats may also appear as 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 Know When You’re Ignoring 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.

sad tabby cat lying cuddling with owner
Image Credit: pinkfloyd yilmaz uslu, Shutterstock

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What Happens If You Ignore Your Cat?

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. Below are some possible explanations of how your cat may respond to being ignored.

1. Some Become Stressed

Some cats are especially sensitive to sudden changes in their environment. Though it seems exaggerated, it is true that some cats may react unfavorably to even the most subtle changes, including the addition of new furniture to the house! Of course, this isn’t the case with all cats, however, it is worth mentioning nonetheless, as it isn’t unheard of.

Cats that are stressed can even develop health issues – including potentially life threatening complications, such as a urinary obstruction. It is therefore not beyond the realm of possibility that ignoring a particularly sensitive cat who is very used to your companionship will lead to a stressed pet who could unfortunately face other health complications as well.

2. Others Get “Angry”

Some felines respond to your disinterested attitude by being “angry”; specifically, they act in a manner that’s aggressive. An “angry” cat can engage in all sorts of destructive behavior. The most common manifestation of their “anger” is inappropriate urination, spraying, yowling, and other destructive behavior (such as scratching a new surface).

In some cases, cats can turn their aggression to you by biting or scratching. This is also known as redirected aggression. It is akin to your cat “taking their frustrations” out on you, another pet, or another individual.

Image Credit: Carlos G. Lopez, Shutterstock

3. Some Will Ignore You Back

Although some cats get “angry” or stressed when you ignore them, anecdotal evidence suggests that others will ignore you. However, a cat may isolate themselves for other reasons too, and it’s unwise to assume that they’re being petty and ignoring you back. More on that shortly!

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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. Erring on the side of caution is better than ignoring what could be a health issue.

Cats usually meow when they want something from you, especially if meowing has gotten your attention before. However, sometimes they will do it when in pain. Excessive meowing should be a cause for 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 looking at owner in the kitchen busy in the refrigerator
Image Credit: DimaBerlin, Shutterstock

Why Your Cat Is Ignoring You

There are several reasons why your cat may be ignoring you. Some cats are naturally aloof and will not show you affection no matter what you do. But it’s more likely your cat is “ignoring” you because they’re unwell.

Cats do try to mask their illnesses and can self-isolate when they’re not feeling well. As such, a cat that’s suddenly distancing themselves from you, not eating, and in constant hiding should be seen by your veterinarian to ensure that there isn’t a medical issue as to why they’re behaving strangely.

How to Get Your Cat Like You More

Ignoring your cat doesn’t make you likable, but there is an alternative way to get your cat to like you more, and it’s rather obvious. If your cat is ignoring you all of a sudden; 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: Andriy Blokhin, Shutterstock

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