Cat Behavior: Why They Love People That Hate Them

cat behavior

Hate is probably too strong a word to use here. Have you ever noticed that cats will often gravitate toward the person in the room that either isn’t a cat lover at all or is allergic to them? It’s not really a case of wanting what they can’t have. This cat behavior is much simpler than that, it turns out.

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Cats Can Investigate On Their Own Terms

Cats are quite territorial creatures and naturally want to investigate anyone or anything new that enters their domain.  People that are cat lovers usually make a fuss over the cat. They have a tendency to get into the cat’s space. Doing this makes it difficult for the cat to check out their scent to be sure they pass muster.

On the other hand, people that don’t like cats or avoid them due to allergies will keep their distance, doing their best to avoid the cat.  Cats actually prefer this, because it gives them a chance to thoroughly investigate the person without being disturbed. This behavior makes sense to me.  I’m an observer, and like to check out the scene from the shadows.

Do some observing the next time there’s a group of people and a cat in the room. Chances are you’ll find the cat closest to the one that wants to be the farthest away from them.


Want to learn more about the ins and outs of cat behavior?  Check out more of our articles here.

Another good all-around resource is the book Think Like A Cat by Pam Johnson-Bennett. This book covers a variety of issues such as effective communications with your cat, basic training and behavior modification.  It’s a great resource for any cat guardian. I’ve referred to it often when working with cat clients.

Written by Karen


Karen is Publisher of Fully Feline. She also owns a pet care business in Overland Park, KS called Joy of Living.

20 Responses to "Cat Behavior: Why They Love People That Hate Them"

  1. Yep, cats are very much critters who want to control their space. So the people who follow them around and make goo-goo eyes get ignored, and those who (politely!) don’t make eye contact and ignore the cat get all the kitty attention. Makes purr-fect cat sense!

  2. I personally love kittens and cats however I have heard of this conundrum. Those that don’t care for cats or are allergic tend to attract pets all the time. Maybe it’s the universe sense of humor!

    1. I like to put it in human terms, people seem to get it better. Think of going to a party where everyone is a stranger. Do you like someone to get in your face the minute you walk in, or would you prefer observing, then meeting people at your own pace? For me, observation mode is absolutely where it’s at!

  3. The observation is usually my favorite thing about cats. My brother’s cat is terrified of my children because they want to seek her out and pet her, so unless I come by myself I don’t get to spend time with the cat. I usually just come in, sit down, and ignore her. It takes her about 5 seconds to come and check me out. 🙂

  4. Love this and giggling as when living in Israel I had 3 cats and a friend of mine did not like cats, every time he visited they honed in on him like target and he would get so mad while we all laughed

  5. That is too funny. I never really thought about it but see how it’s totally true. I’ll have to investigate why dogs do it too. I’m guessing it’ll be for a different reason…??? But can’t wait to find out!

  6. I had read about this and cats. It does freak some people out that my cats are more interested in them if the people ignore them at first. Of course, it’s hard because they are so soft and pretty!

  7. You have a good point! Cats do tend to like people who allow them to approach first. I always try to resist approaching other people’s cats for that reason. Hopefully, they will see that I’m a cat person and give me a chance! 🙂

  8. LOL, This is so funny but so true! My sister is highly allergic to cats, but my sweet cat Maggie always wanted to get near her and rub on her legs, it was quite funny.
    Love & Biscuits,
    Dogs Luv Us and We Luv Them

  9. That makes a lot of sense to me. I’m always pretty reserved when it comes to meeting pets because even though I’m happy on the inside, I don’t want to push myself on them.

  10. Too funny, I’ve always said this! My husband wasn’t necessarily a “cat person” but my cats growing up always gravitated toward him! He’s a sweetheart though so he always caved and gave them scratches 😊

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