When Cat Doesn’t Want To Be Your Friend

Many of you probably realize that cats are quite territorial, and the presence of someone different in their domain is quite unsettling to them.

Right now, I’m petsitting at a four cat household.  Two cats are young, friendly and playful.  They have all of their supplies in one bedroom. Meanwhile, the elder cats are stationed in another bedroom.


Oskar:  The Original Grumpy Cat

The elder of the group, Oskar, is not the friendliest guy.  A big orange tabby, he hisses and gives his war cry each time I walk by him.  I acknowledge him, but continue with my chores, not stopping to attempt to pet him or look at him directly.  Once Oskar figures out I’m not going to bother or acknowledge him, he goes about his business. I’ve taken care of these cats for a few years and this has always been the way with Oskar.

The Challenge of the Direct Stare

If you encounter a cat that is giving the war cry and/or hissing, do not look directly at him.  Cats perceive a direct look as a challenge, and this could work to further antagonize him.  The war cry and hissing are cautions a cat gives before attacking, best to heed the warning rather than reaching down to try to pet or even worse, pick up the cat.  Failure to heed the warning can and probably will result in painful scratches.

Take Cues From The Cat

When asked to care for a cat that’s not very familiar with you, it’s best to take your cues from him.  Let him approach you and get to know you.  Cats sometimes take a while to figure out whether or not they’ll be friends with you.  Not rushing them into making a decision gives them the opportunity to warm up to you.

We often have this need for everyone, human or feline, to like us. Sometimes, the best we can do is peacefully co-exist.  Recognize that fact and move on.

Have you ever had this relationship with a cat?  Please leave your comment and let us know your experience, we’d love to hear from you!



Written by Karen


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

2 Responses to "When Cat Doesn’t Want To Be Your Friend"

  1. that’s excellent advice. My Angle Bobo was the type of cat who didn’t readily accept strangers. I know when I had my friend (who knew him) house sit she said he would keep his distance.

    He didn’t hiss at her but he certainly didn’t bring out the welcome wagon for her either

    1. Cats have personal space just like humans do, we sometimes tend to forget that. Some cats, like some people, are friendlier than others, so I take my cues from them whether they want to socialize with me or not. Works so much better that way!

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