Cat Pet Peeves: 6 Things We Do That Our Cats Don't Like

Cat Pet Peeves: 6 Things We Do That Our Cats Don't Like

If you're a cat owner, it probably won't take much convincing to agree that cats have their tastes and distastes. Not all cats are the same, though there are specific patterns of like and dislike that are common across feline populations, and knowing what they are can make or break your cat's behaviors.

Potty issues, biting, scratching, and even lack of affection are just a few of the kitty behaviors associated with things our cats are trying to tell us. They're fickle companions, and while they can be low-maintenance, they can also be challenging if you don't educate yourself on what they're trying to tell you.

Whatever your relationship with your cat is like, you can always learn by watching, playing, and generally just being present and building your relationship with them. One thing that's important to remember is that every cat owner knows their cat best. That will help them trust you as their provider while helping you learn more specifically how they act. Then, when abnormal behaviors come up, you'll be able to recognize them more clearly, based on the bond that you've built with your fluffy companion.

While it's easier said than done, you've already started the process by trying to learn about your cat. Learning what cats dislike in general is a great way to begin learning about your cat, which will ultimately allow you to offer them a better quality of life.

While you can find a handful of opinions on the web about your behaviors that cats don't like, we compiled a few that we thought would be most applicable to owners, Meowtel sitters, and anyone curious about cat pet peeves.

1. Leaving them alone

Compared to other unspeakable mammalian pets, one benefit to owning cats is that they're widely considered low-maintenance - you can leave them alone for significant periods with the food and water they need. They'll entertain, relieve, and clean themselves. While this is all true, it's also true that our cats value the time we invest in them.

Leaving cats alone can be necessary at times, but it does impact our furry friends. If you must leave them alone, carve out a little time each day to play with them and give them attention. That will help teach them that, when you are available, they're worth your time.

2. Forcing them to do things they don't want

Another thing that cats hate is being forced to do something they don't want to. They're stubborn, and if we can understand what they want and need, we can be discerning about our decision-making as cat parents. Certain circumstances require us to push our cats to do things they don't like, but it's also essential to seek compromise with cats.

When it comes to things like car rides to the vet, staying indoors, waiting until scheduled feeding times, or other necessary examples of "forcing cats to do things," making your furball do something they don't like is okay. But sometimes, cat owners think it's funny, best, or somehow educational to force cats into unnecessary, potentially harmful situations that can cause lasting trauma. For that reason, it's best to try to work with your cat and stay away from making them do things they don't want unless it's necessary.

3. Giving them too much attention

While many cats can be cuddly and sweet when in the right mood, assuming they'll be like this all the time isn't a safe bet. Cats value their autonomy and offering too much attention or affection might send them running the other way. You'll notice when your furry friend is looking for attention in small spurts.

Suppose your cat is cleaning itself, sitting near you but not on you or in direct contact, or avoiding you altogether. In that case, it's best to stay away from them as their focus is elsewhere, and interrupting them will not please them unless you have food or something incredible to offer to them.

4. Falling behind with their hygiene

With cats, maintaining basic hygiene is very important, although it can be tough to know what this looks like for your cat since it varies so much cat-to-cat. For long-haired cats, it's essential to brush them often to avoid mats or tangled fur. As another example, keeping your cat's litter box in extra clean shape will help them feel super comfortable and prevent potty issues.

It's also important to do things that will help your cat's hygiene in ways that prevent them from harming others. The best example of this is the length of your cat's claws - while declawing cats is no longer considered ethical, moral, or commonplace - trimming their claws shouldn’t hurt them and can help them avoid harming other humans or animals.

5. Not giving them enough attention

While cats are highly independent, self-sufficient, and resilient animals, they still want the love and affection of their owners. Many get cats because they're busy or otherwise preoccupied, but cat parents will quickly learn that cats require a lot of love, affection, and sometimes other attention.

Helping cats follow your household rules can be difficult, and it may take a little extra time and effort. Try to focus on distracting rather than disciplining your cat. Remember that each moment you put into helping your cat learn is positive - it's a moment you get to spend with your sweet kitty companion, and it should be cherished as such.

6. Subjecting them to unexpected changes or situations

Cats are not dissimilar to humans, mainly because they thrive under structures and routines. Their ability to get used to a "daily life" both shows their intelligence and demands the extra work of the owner to reinforce scheduled habits, feeding times, and comfort in times of stress. In general, it's best to avoid putting cats through the stress of unexpected changes, situations, new people or animals, or otherwise. While humans enjoy a good surprise from time to time, cats do not.

In certain situations, it's necessary to subject your cat to changes. However, it's best to avoid unexpected changes. If you're moving via car, you must take your cat in the car at some point, even if they're bound to dislike the car. While this situation can stress them out, knowing how to travel effectively, or how to put them in stressful situations in the best way possible, can make or break your relationship with your cat.

Runner-up Cat Dislikes

While the list is not exhaustive, these top 6 broadly cover the most common cat dislikes. With that being said, there are still many more things cats dislike that are either a little less common or simply not as significant. Here are a few runner-ups for things that our cats don't like...


This one's a bit hit or miss. Most cats dislike being bathed or in the water, although a select few tend to like getting wet, bathing, and even swimming in some instances.

Strong Odors

As you may have noticed, many cats don't prefer strong odors, especially near their litter boxes or other personal belongings. You know what we're talking about if you've tried to cover up the smell of your cat's litter box with an aerosol, only to find them peeing beside the litter instead.

Belly Rubs

While under the spell of anyone they trust dearly, a cat will gladly allow for belly rubs, but in general? Avoid touching a cat's belly unless you're sure they trust you and are in the mood. The underside is the most vulnerable and sensitive part of a cat's body, so touching it is either an honor or a terror that'll bring out the beast in your cat.

Aggressive Petting

Unlike dogs, who sometimes like being pet fiercely, cats are much more dainty and prefer to be softly touched, if they allow you to pet them. Petting cats aggressively may seem like a good idea, but cats will respond more positively to gentle rubs, nuzzles, and pets than being roughed around.

Focusing On What Our Cats Do Like

No matter what our cats don't like, it's best to focus on nurturing our relationship with them as owners, sitters, or even one-time acquaintances. With a positive outlook on how to please our friendly felines, and by leaning into what they do appreciate and like, we can avoid doing things our cats don't like and prevent harming our relationships with them. And at the end of the day, we can trust that following our cats' lead will take us somewhere exciting tomorrow.

Photo by 傅甬 华 on Unsplash

Categories: Cat Ownership