You recently brought your newly adopted cat home. You have all of their food, supplies, plenty of treats, and enough toys to occupy even the most restless kitty. You think your cat should be over the moon, but instead, they’re acting aloof. They often run away from your open arms and shy away from hugs! You may be asking yourself the question, “Why is my cat ignoring me?” The answer is: probably nothing. Here are the most common reasons why your kitty might be giving you the “cold shoulder.”
#1: Not in His Nature
One of the biggest differences between human behavior and cat behavior is the way we approach social interaction. Humans thrive off of establishing and maintaining relationships; we like to talk, touch, and make eye contact with one another. We interpret a lack of social interaction as something negative.
Cats, on the other hand, do not feel a particular need to engage in interactions that do not interest them. Their ancestors were somewhat solitary animals, and they generally did not communicate through sounds. Cats feel no obligation to constantly show their affection, even to their guardians! Your kitty isn’t being rude or spiteful, or even trying to ignore you; they just don’t feel like hanging out right now.
#2: On Edge
Your cat may also be unresponsive to your demonstrations of affection because they are on edge. Cats have a fantastic memory. They will remember if they have been yelled at, chased, or sprayed with water. Even if you have not done any of these things yourself, cats can develop a general distrust of humans based on prior events.
The anxiety of being in a new setting can also be somewhat stressful for a cat. If you find that your newly-adopted kitty seems to be ignoring you, chances are they are still adjusting to their new home. If cats detect a perceived threat in their surrounding environment, they will become unresponsive — even hiss or hide — in the face of social advances.
#3: They’re Relaxed!
If your cat isn’t answering when you call them, it could simply be because they are comfortable where they are and see no compelling reason to come. Mother cats typically only call their young only when there is danger. Your cat could be comfortable enough with you to ignore your calls as those of a worrying parent. A lack of response from your cat could simply mean they are saying, “Relax, Mom/Dad, I’m fine!”
What should I do if my cat is ignoring me?
Well, for starters, you can’t make a cat do anything! Cats have minds of their own. And, every cat is different. What’s normal for one cat may not be normal for another. Try not to take it personally if your cat seems to be ignoring you. You may be expecting actions that are out of character for them.
Also, cats generally do not distinguish positive attention from negative attention. So, they may push a cup off the counter and look at you for attention, but refuse to acknowledge your presence when you call their name. One thing that works for many cats: try giving them a treat whenever they respond to your call.
A Few Tips
Cats may become more social over time, as they develop a strong bond with their guardian. There are things you can do to develop the trust that underlies a good relationship with your cat. Try to limit sudden movements and forced grabbing. You can also provide mental enrichment (toys, vertical heights, visual stimulation) to keep them entertained. Be sure not to rely on the same tool all the time, as cats can get bored easily. Through these practices, your cat will learn that you are a person whom they can rely on, and thus may respond better to your calls or social interactions.
Still wondering, “Why is my cat ignoring me?” In the end, it’s not always easy to understand cats’ preferences for giving and receiving affection. It’s like they are a whole other species! It’s no use trying to make them just like us. Keep them safe and healthy, show them love and give them opportunities to play. After that, stand back and let them be what they are. Winning the friendship of a cat can be challenging, but wonderfully rewarding, too.
If you’re looking to adopt a cat, get started with registering on Get Your Pet here.