When it comes to the discussion of house pets, cats have historically been viewed as mean and cold because of their less-than-impressed personalities. However, if you are a cat owner, you have gotten to see the side of your cat that most others never get to see; the sweet side. But after a few sour encounters with your house guests, you might be left wondering why they hate everyone but you.
So, why is my cat so mean to everyone but me? The most likely reason is they are territorial of their home, but they might also be mean to your guests because they don’t like change, or it’s simply because they are predatory creatures who exhibit natural forms of aggression.
In this article, we’ll discuss a variety of reasons your cat might be mean to everyone but you and a few simple things you and your guests can do, and avoid, to make your feline more comfortable when you have guests over.
The most common reason your cat might be mean to everyone but you is the simple fact that it’s their home, their territory, and they see you as co-owner of the space. When you brought your feline home, you established a space for your cat to feel safe, loved, and cared for.
In return, your cat marked the territory as their own, they patrolled that turf and continued to guard it and you, out of loyalty. By sharing that space with your cat, you established a bond with them and “Fluffy” is now willing to do whatever it takes to make sure that territory remains your territory.
Like lions in the wild, cats may show aggression when they feel that their territory is being threatened; and because your cat is loyal to you and your home, they may perceive any unknown person or animal as a threat.
We all want our cats to feel safe and protected, but as social human beings, we also want to have friends and family over to our homes occasionally. Oftentimes this may present a few challenges if you have a cat who doesn’t play well with others.
Like humans, cats can get overwhelmed and their social meters can run out and we must notice when our furry friends are feeling anxious. Sometimes cats need a slow, steady, safe introduction to new houseguests to feel secure and less threatened.
However, there are some instances where cats are simply not open to outside individuals or animals in their homes, and as cat owners, we need to know our cats and what they can handle. Protecting your kitty doesn’t mean an end to your social life; it just means that we have to adjust our social lives to meet their needs until they’re ready to open up to our new guests.
Making Your Cat Comfortable
No one wants to see their cats uncomfortable, but that means making a few adjustments to make them feel more in control. Here are a few things you can do to help:
- Teach your guests to avoid eye contact with your cat, as this is often viewed as a sign of aggression by animals
- Create a safe space for your cat to hang out, away from guests
- Do not allow your guests to tease or play roughly with your cat
- Avoid playing loud music or yelling
- If you know your cat cannot handle visitors, do not have guests over until he or she is ready
Cats for No Change
Humans are very adaptable creatures; after all, if we weren’t, our species wouldn’t still be here on earth. But just because we can change doesn’t mean we like to, and your cat feels no different. If you have a multi-pet household you might’ve witnessed firsthand when your cat was introduced to a new pet.
When the new pet was introduced to the household, your original cat might’ve stopped eating, showed abnormal aggression, or maybe even found a place to hide. These types of behavior can be a sign of stress induced by change.
Similarly, your cat might exhibit these same behaviors when they’re presented with new house guests. But what happens when you are struggling with rent and you have no choice but to introduce a new roommate?
This can be a troublesome situation for cat owners whose cats simply do not get along with others, but there are some things you can do to make for an easier transition for both your roommate and your cat.
Introducing Your Cat to Change
Introducing a new roommate is a lot of change for your feline, and it might result in a lot of hatred towards your cat by your new roommate, and vice versa if he or she is introduced in the wrong way. But do not fret, here are some things you can do to introduce your cuddly friend to new guests in a way that reduces their stress and gives them a little security in each situation.
– Introduce your guests slowly, in small numbers, in a place where your cat feels most safe
If you have more than one person moving in or coming into the home make sure to introduce them one at a time, on separate occasions. Start with 15-30 minutes, and slowly work your way up to more exposure.
– Find an activity that involves both the cat and your roommate that can be done regularly
Have your new roommate over for a quiet puzzle night while your cat has dinner in order to provide a safe situation for your cat, while also making the introduction to the new smells of a second household human.
– Use “counter-conditioning” to introduce the individual to your kitty
For example, invite your guest in while feeding your cat his favorite treat or give him his favorite toy, so that he begins to correlate the two with one another.
It’s not uncommon to come home and find your cat chasing around the toy mouse, crouching behind the couch waiting on its unsuspecting prey, or perching upon his window-sill bed looking for an aerial view of his territory.
As cute as it may be to watch our predatory Persians pounce on stuffed animals, flies, and spiders, it’s not so cute when your house guests become the prey. However, it might not be hate that is triggering your cat’s attacks, but simply its natural predatory senses he possesses that have descended from the many cats before him.
Tabby probably doesn’t dislike your house guests, but simply sees them as a new source of play-prey. There are a few types of aggression that cats naturally display that might be misconstrued as hate. Here are a few examples of those types of situational aggression.
Cats are naturally predatory creatures that are constantly stalking, ambushing, and pouncing on anything they might perceive as prey. Although this is considered a common form of feline aggression, oftentimes it is viewed as hateful aggression towards guests. However, it is not meant to be harmful, but merely playful.
In addition, your cat might also be redirecting his aggression. For example, if a cat sees a squirrel outside of his window perch, but is unable to get to that squirrel because the window is in his way, he might redirect his anger and attack the closest moving thing to him. Unfortunately though, that thing might be one of your guests.
Finally, your cat might find petting unpleasant. Many pet lovers jump at the chance to cuddle, pet, and play with animals. Although your cat may enjoy being petted, too much petting can lead to irritation, which in turn leads to those unwanted bites and nips.
It may seem like your cat is being aggressive towards others, but they are simply giving a warning to that person that they have had enough petting and would like to be left alone.
When your cat is being mean to guests in your home, it’s important to take a step back and evaluate the situation. If your cat is naturally friendly to you but shows aggression to guests, there is a reason behind their behavior.
It’s important that we understand what they need as far as introductions to new guests, and to make sure our kitties feel comfortable in their own home. Following a few simple tasks to introduce change to your cats’ environment, and making sure your guests understand your cat’s boundaries and instincts will result in a cohesive bond between your cuddly buddy and your guests moving forward.
Rest assured, your cat is the king or queen you believe they are, and if you cater to their needs and continue to make them feel safe when you have company, your guests will get to see their sweet side as well.