At times our cats are upset with us, especially when we are off on a weekend or long-weekend trip and leave them be alone. Here are 7 signs your cat is not happy with you and might be asking for some due TLC.
Sign 1 – In/Outside Litter Box Behaviour
The very first sign of something being up with your cat is the cat litter box in most cases. Either the produce doesn’t get covered anymore or the produce is produced outside said litter box. You might find marking (pee) on all sorts of places through your house, whether that is bedding, clean or dirty clothing, carpets or even walls doesn’t matter.
You might find uncovered feces in the cat litter box or on other surfaces within the house, such as on carpets, newspapers and on the floor near the litter box.
If you don’t properly clean these places where feces or pee has been before, you will see your cats repeating that behaviour on these same places.
Cat litter boxes should stay clean at all times. Cats are extremely clean creatures and like their environment to be so too. A dirty litter box can easily mean an unhappy cat and then the trouble really starts. Litter boxes are also excellent barometers of your cats health in what they produce (and where).
We have written various topics on cat litter boxes concerning how to clean them, what litter to use and what litter box to use as well as how to find out about certain illnesses.
Sign 2 – Scratching Furniture and Walls
Unhappy cats could possibly take their unhappiness and annoyance to your walls, wallpaper and furniture. While cats do want to keep their nails and claws sharpened at all times, when unhappiness hits them, the sharpening of said nails might be in the overkill department.
Installing one or multiple scratching boards, scratching poles or cat trees with scratching areas will at least offer your cat(s) a dedicated place for them to sharpen nails. After that it comes down to figuring out what made your cat unhappy in the first place that they started scratching your walls and furniture.
Sign 3 – Markings (Spraying)
We mentioned it already before with sign number 1 Cat Litter Box Behaviour. Cats are very keen on their environment and the state it is in. As soon as something changes to their environment it goes over into stress. A simple change of things can be a new job that you got and you are less around, but it could be caused by bigger changes such as new furniture, new partner, getting kids or moving houses.
All their stress is going to show in their behaviour. It might start in simple things like spraying (sign 2) or not covering on the litter box (sign 1), but it can easily build up to marking on other places in or outside the house.
This marking has a simple reason, they are trying to mark their own territory. Cats are very territorial. Under the motto “This is mine, this is mine, this is mine” etc. they are marking their boundaries to show off to others where they belong. The others in this case could be the stranger in the family or the new neighbour cat or other animal that entered their territory. Cats mark (also called spraying), through the use of urine and a load of pheromones in this urine.
Spray contains less urine than when a cat actually urinates. As you might have figured, the deal breaker here is the pheromones that give a pungent smell to the location. Its this pungent smell that tells others that this area belongs to your cat.
Again, to fix the marking/spraying issue, you need to look at the underlying cause of their stress. Never punish your cat for spraying. Don’t rub their face in it or kick them out of the house. The spraying was for a reason, your cat is upset with something and you better deal with that part first.
On a side note, you should also keep an eye on a cat’s health when it comes to behavioral issues, because certain illnesses can make them miss the litter box.
Sign 4 – Items Thrown Off
Throwing items off tables and other places can be sheer cat play, but cats can also ask for attention when doing so. Asking for attention can simply be an unhappy response to their situation. A simple example would be “I want to go outside” or “I need food now!” as reasons for their behaviour.
We’ve seen our cats ask for attention this way too. They know very well they are not allowed to be on the table or to throw things off the table.
Sign 5 – Toilet Paper Destroyed
Having a battle with toilet paper does not need to be about being upset with you. Toilet paper can just be lots of fun to play with. The toilet paper is soft, so it is easy to set a set of claws in them and they make nice small pieces all over the floor. The empty toilet roll is an excellent cat toy too.
Naturally, when your cat knows it isn’t allowed to “play” with the tower of toilet paper on a stick in the bathroom, it can easily be a display of disapprovement.
My general advice with such things is to not have the toilet paper reachable for your cat. You will have to figure out whether you want to put the toilet paper high up on a shelf or completely disallow your cat from entering the bathroom.
Sign 6 – Trying To Escape
A cat that wants to get out of something, will try to do anything to get it done. We have cat flaps and we tape them off if we don’t want our cats escaping our house. Unfortunately they got claws with sharp nails and can bite too with fangs and all. They managed to open the first cat flap (it takes two cat flaps to escape the house) in a weekend we were out. We had taped them off with duct-tape. It should hold strongly onto the doors, but it was no match for kitty strength apparently.
Our cat Kira is able to jump on door handles to open them. It is an annoying skill for us, because we need to secure doors extra well every time we go in or out of the house. If we do forget, we might find the door half-open and one or more cats outdoors.
On a side-note, a cat needs very little space to escape. As long as they get their head and shoulders through an opening, the rest will follow as they have a very flexible spine. We blocked off a space behind the kitchen cupboards the other week, but still find kittens behind the cupboards everyday. Now we had to remove the bottom board so that we can access them easier and remove them from the narrow place underneath.
This small opening problem means however too that if you happen to have your windows open in the summer for some fresh air in your room, your cats might try to escape through it. If you got one of those es-ca-pe-do cats, you might want to install a window screen.
Sign 7 – Not Coming Home
Perhaps one of the worst types of disapprovement display is a cat not returning home (outdoor cats only of course). Normally cats – and our cats – always return home. Even when they have strolled a little further away than usual, they always return.
There have been holidays where cats have gone a little too far and didn’t seem to return, but we have always been able to find them. They do love us very much and we equally do so and we always do our utmost best to find any lost cats back again.
With one exception, cats might get so annoyed with the changes to their habitat that they will stay away permanently or find a new place to live. Some cats might even find a new family that wants to take care of them.
Related Topic: Follow these steps to find a lost cat back again.
The exception is that when a cat is actually terrible ill or even dying, cats do also run away from home to die alone – a very sad thing, nobody should die alone.
Do you know of any other signs that your cat is upset with you? Perhaps I forgot one that I should add. You are very welcome to add them in the comments section below and I will be sure to add them to the list.