Avoidance, hissing, and other clues that show your cat is unhappy

Quina Baterna

If you’re looking for a furry friend with endless energy and unquestionable love for you, you’re probably looking for a dog. Most cat owners will know that our cats are not always the most loving. We understand because we’re not in the mood too.

However, many of us are still confused if it’s just a temporary need for space or a rooted hatred for something we have done to our cat. We may have even done something terrible without knowing it and don’t understand why our feline friends are angry at us.


Here are a few telltale signs that you’ve done something to upset your cat:

Avoiding You Like the Plague

Cats tend to hide when in unfamiliar situations. It’s perfectly normal for them to feel uneasy when moving homes or spending time with strangers for a weekend. We all know what it’s like to feel overwhelmed with new things. Cats are no different.

Withholding affection can sometimes be done after a bad experience at the grooming salon, not being properly introduced to a new kitten, or even changing their food. Asking for space every now and then to adjust is normal cat behavior. However, there can be times that avoidance is due to chronic pain or serious illnesses.

In some situations, hiding is normal behavior. Although, it can be alarming when done out of the blue. If a previously affectionate cat suddenly avoids you and hides in their cat tree the whole day, it may be a sign of underlying health problems.

Look at the Tail

Cats can’t talk, but they do gesture like madmen. A cat’s tail is as close as you can get to human hands. Learning to read them can make a huge difference. From general unhappiness to scathing hostility, the tail can tell you most of what you need to know.

In general, having a lowered tail means a range of negative emotions. The lower the tail; the more stressed the cat. In fact, it is worse when their tail is tucked between their legs. When tail lashing begins to start, you can expect that they can barely contain their discontent.

For fluffier breeds, a puffed-up tail can be a sign of increasing their size to show dominance. If you’ve ever seen your adult cat tower over your new kitten with a peacock tail, likely, they are just showing them who’s boss.

No More Playtime

Let’s face it. Cats are not monkeys. While many of them are smart enough to know what you want, many of them will not always do it. However, many of them find it hard to resist the temptation of predator-prey playtime.

Even the most aloof cats get big, excitable eyes when they see a fluffy catnip-infused toy. It’s in their nature to want to chase and play. It can be normal for them to get tired when you make them jump, run, or climb, especially for older cats.

Although if your cat is consistently disinterested in playing with you, something could be up. Besides having physical issues like injuries or illnesses, it could be that they’re upset, unhappy, or angry. When previously playful kittens suddenly have a change of heart, you should probably bring them to the vet for routine evaluation.

Being disinterested in playtime isn’t always a clear sign of hatred. If you’re not sure, you should check if this symptom works in tandem with other signs that you can read next on this list.

Biting & Nipping

Gentle bites can be a sign of love. Many of us will have experienced our cats nipping at us for food or affection. Alternatively, painful biting from your cat is a different story.

While it’s true that biting is common for kittens, this bad habit should have been trained out of them by their mothers or littermates before they become cats. Should your cat still resort to biting for fun as an adult, they may need additional behavioral training to avoid any possible injuries for your household.

Additionally, hard biting intended to hurt you should ring alarm bells. When your cats attempt to bite you when you pet them, they’re most certainly upset with you over something.


While biting is still up for debate, hissing is not. Cat Hissing is the equivalent of an angry teenager upset that you confiscated their favorite console. It’s a clear sign of being unhappy from a cat of any age.

However, it’s good to know that hissing and swatting are not as alarming when done by kittens. Many of them experiment with these expressions as they learn to live with humans and other cats. However, it still means that they’re angry at you (or someone else).

When a cat is hissing, it’s often coupled with other signs on this list. It’s the final straw that you’ve done some bad and their equivalent of asking you to think of what you did wrong.

Fussy Felines Take Time

Cats are certainly very human-like with their moods. However, no relationship is perfect, including the one with your cat. If you’ve found that your feline friend is undoubtedly upset, you can appease them by apologizing in your way – paying attention to their needs and giving them space.

Start with making sure they are well-fed, well-groomed, and have a great litter box situation at home. Afterward, make sure that they are healthy by keeping up-to-date with their vaccinations and checking for any underlying health conditions.

Lastly, give your cats the space to be alone. When underdoing changes in living conditions, adding new housemates, or even another cat, it is normal for them to feel that the rug was pulled from under their feet. In the same situation, you would have felt the same too.

Having emotions is a mark of intelligence, and the sooner you know what makes your cat unhappy, the you can avoid them if they are not necessary. If you are quick to identify when your furry friend is upset, you can better spot their negative triggers.

While there are many ways to get your cat to like you, it takes time and effort. However, it is definitely worth it for those of us who have found lifelong companions with complex emotions.

Comments / 19

Published by

Quina is a writer, cat mom and artist. Her greatest joys in life are creating remarkable experiences and writing about them.


More from Quina Baterna

Comments / 0