It can be disheartening to see that your once sweet pet becomes lukewarm toward you, especially if you cannot remember anything in particular that has possibly led to this change in behavior.
Reasons why your cat is suddenly avoiding you
Your cat may be suddenly avoiding you for the following reasons:
- Your cat does not feel the need to interact with you.
- Your cat remembered a negative experience with you.
- Your cat was thrown off by a routine change.
- Your cat’s senses have deteriorated.
- Your cat is distracted.
- Your cat has been desensitized.
- Your cat is secretly sick.
Here is a close look at each reason:
1. Your cat does not feel the need to interact with you.
Humans are what experts call obligate social creatures. That means that people crave social interaction. And these social interactions are vital for survival.
Your cat is not an obligate social animal. Although studies have revealed that cats can form groups with other cats and even people, they can easily survive on their own. Simply put, social interactions are not important to your pet.
If your pet has suddenly ignored you, do not take it against him. It is just in his nature. Unlike dogs that want to please humans, cats are perfectly fine on their own. If they wish to interact with the members of the household, they will do it on their own terms. That does not necessarily mean that your pet does not like you.
2. Your cat remembered a negative experience with you.
Perhaps you shouted at your cat last night when he was making a ruckus. Or maybe you sprayed him with water to prevent a fight with another pet. One thing is for sure, your pet remembered what happened previously.
Cats are highly intelligent and have excellent memories. As such, your cat may be avoiding you because he remembered something that you did that he perceived as a negative.
However, your cat is not acting out of spite. Unlike humans, cats do not have the capacity to act in spite. They do not do things out of malice. In the same vein, when your cat does something you think is mischievous, your cat is simply trying to catch your attention without awareness of bad consequences that may follow.
If you want to correct your cat’s behavior, do not resort to physical punishments like spanking or kicking. Cats respond best to training when you use positive reinforcement. When your cat does something good, offer him treats and words of praise.
3. Your cat was thrown off by a routine change.
Your cat is ignoring you because he is stressed. His source of stress? A change in his routine.
To say that cats are creatures of habit is an understatement. Cats thrive when they follow a routine because it means things are predictable. And when things are predictable, they do not have to worry.
It takes little to upset a cat. It can be as simple as a change in his eating schedule or the addition of furniture in his favorite room.
And when your cat is continuously stressed for a sustained period, he can succumb to sickness. As much as possible, adhere to a routine, from feeding times to changing the cat litter.
4. Your cat’s senses have deteriorated.
As mentioned earlier, cats are highly intelligent and they can learn to respond to training and when they are called by their names.
That does not mean that they will come every time they are called. Again, cats like interactions on their own terms. When you call your cat and he does not come to you, you can tell that he has heard you with his body language. His ears may twitch, his tail may wag, or he can even turn his head.
But if he does not respond at all and if your cat is old, it is possible that his senses have deteriorated. Unlike young cats with full faculties, cats with diminished hearing and sight tend to be wary of interactions, even with the people that they love.
5. Your cat is distracted.
Have you ever sat through a TV series that you became completely unaware of your surroundings and the passing of time?
That can also happen to your cat when he is intently focused on something. He may just be busy grooming himself. Or perhaps he saw a bird perched on a tree just outside his favorite spot. Or maybe a neighboring cat has entered your property and caught your pet’s attention.
It is possible that your cat is aware of your presence or has heard you call his name. He just chooses to focus his attention on something that he believes to be more important than you.
6. Your cat has been desensitized.
Although cats like routines, there will come a time when they become desensitized to your presence and your calls. This is particularly true if you have an older cat.
Even when cats grow old, they still retain a good measure of curiosity. When your cat does not respond to your calls, it can mean that he has heard his name called thousands of times and he is looking for something novel.
7. Your cat is secretly sick.
Cats are notorious for being good at hiding an illness. Often, owners become aware that their beloved pets are sick when the condition has worsened.
Unlike humans, animals, including cats, do not attach emotions to pain and illness. When they succumb to an illness, they accept their discomfort as their new normal.
Although a sick cat may attempt to hide an illness from his human, he will show a few changes that you should watch out for.
One such signal is antisocial behavior. If your cat was previously sweet and attentive to you and he suddenly ignores you, continue observing his body and his behavior.
Among the most common signs of an illness in a cat are changes in appetite, diarrhea, vomiting, body shape and weight changes, changes in urinating habits, lethargy, hair loss, and increased vocalization.
If you suspect that something has changed drastically in your cat, do not hesitate to consult the vet.
How to win back your cat’s attention and affection
Is it possible to win back your cat’s trust and affection? You can. However, you cannot force your pet to do anything.
Let your pet be in the meantime. Allow him to come to you when you are ready. And when your cat comes to you, be mindful of your energy. If you are nervous, your pet can pick that up and scurry away. You can coax your cat to come to you by offering treats or his favorite toys.
And when your pet comes to you, pet him gently and avoid sudden movements.
Your cat can avoid you for a variety of reasons
If your cat avoids you suddenly, do not take it against him. Cats are different from dogs in the sense that they do not crave human attention. That does not mean that they are incapable of showing and accepting affection. They are just wired differently from social creatures.
Image: istockphoto.com / Nils Jacobi