How do cats apologize? Do cats know when they hurt you?


Your cat may be the most adorable pet in the world, but that doesn’t mean they will not annoy you. As a cat parent, you may get mad at your cat and won’t entertain their tantrums. So how does your cat make up to you? How do cats apologize?

How do cats apologize?

Your cat is trying to apologize to you when they do the following,

  • Rubbing against you
  • Approaching you or trying to grab your attention
  • Kneading at you
  • Head butting you
  • Blinking slowly as if feeling sleepy
  • Purring

When your cat shows any of these behaviors, it should be taken as a display of affection and a sign that your cat still loves you and wants you to love it.

Do cats feel guilty?

Guilt is a strong and complex human emotion that cats may not feel or understand. A cat does not feel guilt as emotion and may not apologize to you the way you expect it to. But that doesn’t mean that cats can’t understand when you are unhappy with them. They will try to make it up to you in their own little way, it could be understood as their little way of apologizing to you.

Cats are self-sustaining animals. Given a safe environment, and an opportunity to hunt for food, cats can thrive without any problem. They do not need a human for their survival or wellbeing. That being said, it doesn’t mean that cats cant form strong emotional bonds with their owners. Cats are known to be very attached to their owners and think of them as part of their social group.

Do cats know when they did something wrong?

No, cats do not know when they did something wrong. Cats, like other animals, focus solely on surviving. They will hunt and eat and then defecate where they see fit. Of course, they can be trained but this training just becomes a way they get used to doing certain things not knowing that it is the right way of doing something.

Cats are not capable of understanding human emotions and they don’t operate at levels capable only by humans. It is in fact cruel to expect your cat to understand you as a human does.

Do cats know when they hurt you?

No, cats will not know when they hurt you but they can guess or understand from your behavior that you are not happy with them.

Showing your displeasure when your cat does something wrong may send a signal to your cat that such behavior is linked with your displeasure. And with time, they may start associating that displeasure as a trigger of that behavior and avoiding them.

But you should understand that you should have the same reaction each time your cat does the same thing that annoys you so that it doesn’t confuse your cat.

Your cat develops an emotional bond with you and slowly depends on you for love, care and affection and can sense when something is amiss. It doesn’t necessarily know that they are hurting you but can learn when you teach them to avoid doing something in a certain way.

How to let your cat know you’re mad at them?

If your cat has done something wrong and hurts you, you as a responsible cat parent will simply ignore it and attribute it to their animal nature.

But if you want to let them know that you are mad at them and giving them a cold shoulder, you can try out these harmless methods.

1. Ignoring your cat

If you want to show your cat that you are mad at it, simply ignore it. Walk away when your cat tries to rub against you, leave and go to another room, or don’t cuddle it. All these signs will make your cat feel that something is amiss and they will try harder to get your attention and seek your affection.

Do this as soon as your cat has done something to annoy you so that it is registered in your cat’s memory.

Beware of continuing your ignoring antics for long as your cat may also start to simply ignore you.

2. Frowning or showing displeasure on your face

Studies[1] have shown that cats are capable of understanding the facial expressions of their owners and can understand when their owners were happy or when they were angry or upset.

The same study states that cats can differentiate between a smiling face and a frowning face. Cats spend more time in their owner’s contact when they see that their owners are smiling as opposed to when they are frowning.

So the next time you are angry with your feline friend, show it on your face. A clenched face or furrowed friend is enough for your cat to realize that things are not all good between you two.

3. Taking away your cat’s rewards

Similar to how you should be ignoring your cat to let them know that they are getting negative treatment, you can also take away their positive rewards like their toys or their treats. This will send a message that their behavior isn’t being appreciated.

Positive treatment and rewarding your cat for good behavior is a great way to discipline them and instill good behavior. Whenever they do something good, giving them a small treat or playing with them lets the cat associate the behavior with the reward.

Do cats understand when you scold them?

No, cats do not understand when you scold them. Cats do not know that what they have done is right or wrong. Scolding them or shouting at them will send the wrong message that they are getting attention for something that they did. This will have a reverse effect, your cat will start doing the same thing again as to seek your attention again and again.

If you want to show your displeasure to your cat, follow the steps that are given above.

Do Bengal Cats or Maine Coons Tend to Apologize More when they Hurt their Owners?

When it comes to hurting their owners, it’s hard to say who apologizes more, the bengal cat or maine coon?. Both breeds are known for their affectionate nature, but each cat has its unique way of reacting. While Bengal cats might express remorse through gentle purring and rubbing against their owners, Maine Coons may apologize with their soulful eyes and cuddling behavior. At the end of the day, it depends on the individual cat’s personality.

Should I punish my cat?

Cats like other animals cannot understand human emotions and will not know when they have done something to annoy you.

It is inhuman and cruel to subject your cat to behavior that may severely affect them. This includes hitting them, depriving them of necessities of life like food, water, shelter, and medical treatment. All this comes under animal cruelty and is punishable.

Remember you are punishing the behavior and not your cat. There are other ways to discipline your cat. Follow the rewarding system where each time your cat does something positive, reinforce that behavior by giving it a treat or play with it. Similarly, when your cat shows negative behavior, take away its treat. Over time, your cat will be disciplined following this approach.


Remember that your cat doesn’t owe you an apology when they have been irritating you. Cats like other animals are not capable of understanding human emotions or differentiating between good and bad behavior.

Instead of looking at how do cats apologize, see if your cat is showing signs that it wants to seek your attention and get your affection. If they do, then give them your love and care as they deserve it.

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