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How Long Does a Cat Hold a Grudge? 11 Reasons Why Your Cat is Mad at You

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We’ve all been there.

You just yelled at your cat for jumping on the counter. You’re probably mad because your cat knocked something over or ate your dinner, and who could blame you?

It doesn’t matter why you’re yelling, cats don’t like it when we yell at them. So now that you’ve yelled at your cat for doing something wrong, your cat is upset, and you’re upset. You are just trying to be the best cat mom or dad ever so what do you do now?

But what does that mean?
How long will this last?
Will your cat ever forgive you for being angry in the first place?  
How long does a cat hold a grudge?

How can you calm an angry cat?
Is your cat a cathole? Or do they have a legitimate reason for being pissy?

Why are cats so emotional?

It’s not just people who get emotional—cats do, too. In fact, feline emotions are much like our own. Cats can feel sad or happy, and even guilty or ashamed. After all, if you’ve ever seen a cat who chewed up an important power cord and then tried to hide from you when you got home from work, you know that cats can have regrets about the things they do to their owners.

Cats are also very sensitive to the emotions of other animals, especially other cats and humans. So if your cat senses that you’re upset by something he did (or thinks he did), don’t be surprised if your furry friend slinks away with his tail between his legs.

But where does this sensitivity come from? For starters, cats are much more social than most people think they are. They actually enjoy spending time with their fellow felines and their owners. In fact, when cats live together in a group setting (such as a shelter or a house with several pets), they start to form bonds similar to those found in wolf packs and lions. Both wolf packs and lions are known for being very affectionate and very loyal to one another.

How long does a cat hold a grudge?

How long does a cat hold a grudge?

Because cats are so adept at concealing their emotions, it can be difficult to tell whether they’re upset or angry with you. The best way to gauge your cat’s emotions is by observing their body language: flattened ears, hissing, growling, and a tucked tail are all signs that your cat is unhappy with you.

A cat’s memory is another thing entirely—and this can significantly affect how long they hold a grudge against you. A 2007 study at the University of Edinburgh showed that short-term memories in cats last only about 16 hours. Still, long-term memories last more than a year. So if you accidentally kicked your cat today during rush hour at 8 am, they will probably forget by tomorrow afternoon! However, suppose they remember being kicked the next couple of days after that initial occurrence. In that case, there is definitely something wrong.

Suppose you’re worried that your cat will never forgive you for kicking them in the first place (which would be understandable). In that case, there are two things to do: give them time and space to cool off, and make sure to show extra affection when given the opportunity!

How to tell if a cat is angry or upset with you?

When a cat is in a good mood, it’s easy to tell. They’re typically friendly and curious. If you get too close, they’ll probably hiss at you. A hiss is a warning that says “back off,” and your response should be to back off. On the other hand, the cat will likely come closer, and it might even look like it wants to stand on its hind legs to see you better for whatever reason.

But sometimes, cats are angry or upset with you. When this happens, the signs of that anger may be more subtle than when the cat acts friendly. So pay attention to how the feline feels around you: Does he give off signs of being curious while approaching? Is his body language tense? Do his eyes glare or dart around occasionally? Does he move very slowly toward you or simply stare at you with an intense gaze? Is he tail-lashing or trying to bite your foot when he gets too close?

As soon as you notice these signs, back away right away! If not, then there are some serious anger issues going on—and if they’re not resolved quickly, they could lead to something much more severe down the road.

There are many ways a cat may show they are upset with you. 

11 Common signs that your cat may be holding a grudge

  1. They look away rather than look at you
  2. They don’t eat much of their dinner, or they start hiding food around the house
  3. They cower or try to hide under furniture
  4. Their ears will flatten out.
  5. The tail will also be down, not up like a happy cat’s tail.
  6. They will usually hiss, scratch, or bite you if they are angry or upset with you.
  7. Read his/her tail. A happy cat will typically hold its tail upright, whereas an angry or upset cat will tend to flick his tail up and down at a high rate of speed
  8. A nervous or afraid cat will hide or sleep more than usual.
  9. Puffs up the fur on the back of its neck.
  10. Hissing or growling.
  11. Pooping outside the litter box.

How to get a cat to forgive you and forget?

In time, your cat will get over it. The best thing to do is to wait patiently until this happens. If you try to rush the process, you’ll annoy your cat, and they may never forgive you. Cats are like humans; they can hold a grudge for a while after something that made them mad or upset, even if they don’t really want to keep being angry with someone. However, cats are capable of forgiveness (and indeed forgetfulness), so don’t get too worried about it. If you were mean rather than aggressive towards your cat, then chances are that your cat will be quick to forgive you!

Will my cat ever forgive me?

“Cats can hold a grudge, but it really depends on the cat and what the situation is,” said Mikel Delgado, a certified cat behavior consultant at Feline Minds in Berkeley, California. “In my experience working with cats over the years, they are usually very forgiving.”

First things first: Don’t worry too much about your cat’s ability to forgive you. If you’re concerned about your relationship with your cat, show remorse by giving treats or playing with them.

If your cat is upset with you, the best thing to do is ignore her. Cats crave attention, and they’ll happily forget that they were mad at you as soon as they get some love from their favorite human. Eventually, she’ll act as if nothing happened — or maybe curl up next to you while purring loudly.

If you’ve been abusive to your cat or someone else has hurt her, that’s a whole different story, and she may never forgive you. In that case, you should apologize for what happened (in other words: don’t do it again!) and get help from a professional regarding how to move forward from there.

Will my cat hate me forever?

When your cat rejects your overtures of affection in favor of sulking on the bedpost, it’s best to leave him alone.

If you keep trying to cuddle with your cat while he is angry at you, it may take longer for him to forgive you because his negative associations with you are growing deeper.

In fact, as much as we love our cats and want them to like us all the time (and vice versa), sometimes it’s a good idea for both parties involved to take breaks from each other if things get tense. It can be difficult for anyone living together—feline or not—to spend every waking moment with each other without ever needing some space!

Your cat will most likely forgive you.

Cats get over things much more quickly than people do, and once she realizes you’re still there for her, she’ll forgive and forget.

Cats don’t have a strong sense of time, so if you’re paying attention to her when you are home, she won’t remember that you were gone for eight hours at a time. Instead, she’ll be happy to see you and quickly forget your absence. And if you give her a special treat when you get home, she might even forgive you for leaving in the first place!

Why is my cat mad at me?

You may think your cat isn’t mad at you. Still, instead of blaming himself for his irritability, he is probably blaming you. 

According to Cornell University, “Aggression, defined as hostile or violent behavior intended to dominate or intimidate another individual, is a fairly common behavioral problem in cats.” If you cat is doing more than just sulking and is instead acting out aggressively, or violently, it may be time have an intervention.

12 reasons your cat may be mad at you

  1. Cats have memories. Your cat will remember your mistakes and hold them against you.
  2. Cats are more sensitive than dogs. They don’t take well to change or loud noises, something you humans can be guilty of creating from time to time. Loud voices and extreme changes in a household are enough to send cats running under the bed for hours (or days).
  3. Cats are stubborn. They might love going outside when the weather is nice, but if it starts raining out of nowhere, they’re not going to come back inside unless you physically drag them in. Suppose your cat gets mad about something every day, like being fed too early or too late. In that case, you can expect him to throw some shade at least once a day until his needs are met.
  4. You haven’t been paying attention to them. Cats have powerful emotional bonds with their owners. If you ignore a cat for a long time, he may become very angry with you for neglecting him. This may cause him to lash out by being destructive or aggressive toward other pets or household members, including his owner.
  5. You moved furniture around. Cats like consistancy and do not like change. If you move your furniture around in the house, your cat will probably get mad at you because she doesn’t appreciate changes. Give your cat time to adjust, and they will come around.
  6. You don’t play with your cat enough. Her hunting instincts are intact, so she still has a strong desire to stalk and pounce on things. While she may have food and shelter, she lacks the stimulation department.
    If you think your kitty isn’t getting enough playtime, it might be time to invest in some new toys or make more effort to play with her yourself. An interactive wand toy or a laser pointer can provide a much-needed outlet for her energy. It will give both of you some quality bonding time.
  7. You just had a baby. If you recently had a baby, your cat might be jealous of the attention you’re giving the newest addition to the family. It’s essential to recognize that even if your cat doesn’t seem jealous of the baby itself, she is still aware of a change in routine.
    You can counteract any negative feelings by ensuring you’re still giving her plenty of attention, even if it’s just petting her. At the same time, you feed the baby or before bedtime. If your cat hasn’t been introduced to the baby, let them meet. Invite your cat into the nursery as soon as possible so she can get used to the new family member.
  8. You’re not giving them enough food or water. If your cat’s food or water bowl is empty, they might be cross with you for not refilling it soon enough! It’s essential to make sure that these bowls are always full and accessible for your cat to freely eat or drink whenever they want to. There are plenty more food-related reasons why your cat is holding a grudge. Some examples:
    • You’re late feeding them
    • You’re feeding them too early
    • You’re feeding them too early
    • You moved their food bowl three inches to the left while they were napping.
    • They don’t get enough treats. Every once in awhile you should give your cat something special — like a new toy or a can of fancy wet food. Otherwise, they may start feeling unloved and unappreciated.
  9. House is too hot or cold for them. Cats are very sensitive to temperature changes and can get irritable if things are too hot or too cold for their liking.
  10. They just had a bath and didn’t like it one bit! You probably deserve it if you just gave your cat a bath and they are holding a grudge. Lol, just kidding.
  11. You didn’t greet him when you came home. Cats are very sensitive to our routines. If you’re usually there when they wake up from their afternoon nap, but yesterday you had to work late, they’ll notice – and they won’t be happy about it. Cats are also very territorial creatures, and some of them can get anxious if left alone for too long. If the change in your schedule will be permanent, consider getting a second cat so that yours has someone to play with while you’re gone.
  12. You’ve stopped petting him as much as usual. Cats will often show their love by rubbing against our legs or climbing into our laps for some petting time. If you’ve suddenly stopped doing this and aren’t giving your feline friend the attention they crave and need.

Why are cats so emotional?

According to the USA Humane Society, cats are very sensitive and complex animals. They are not only independent creatures who couldn’t care less about their owners – they can feel emotions, like sadness, anger, or frustration.

Even though you may think your cat doesn’t mind when you stop petting him or her because he or she is getting up and walking away, it’s actually an indication that they’re upset.

It’s also important to note that cats take longer to get over a grudge than dogs do. If you scold your dog for peeing on the floor, he’ll probably forgive you after a little while. However, this is not the case with cats.

Conclusion – How long does a cat hold a grudge?

If your cat is not in a pleasant mood, that may signify that your cat is angry at you rather than a simple case of your furry best friend being grumpy.

Naturally, there are many reasons why your cat might be upset, but a good rule of thumb is to pay attention to how long he seems to hold any given grudge.

If you have done something that your cat doesn’t like, it may just be an isolated incident. However, suppose your cat spent all afternoon hissing at the window because one of the neighbors had been mowing their grass earlier. In that case, there’s a good chance your kitty is just grumpy.

It can be difficult to understand out why your cat acts a certain way. For example, maybe they don’t like the food you’re feeding them, and now they resent you for it?

Always look for ways to improve your cat’s environment, and never try to force them to show affection if they aren’t willing to do so freely.

Hopefully, your cat will stop being mad at you and start being nice to you again. Eventually, your cat will forgive you.

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