You’ve Been Warned: Three Facial Signs of an Annoyed Cat


Numerous pet owners make the mistake of treating their feline friends the same way as their canine companions. Whereas dogs are highly dependent and are suckers for affection, cats are aloof and independent and will only seek affection whenever they want to.

Although cat attacks in the United States are not deadly, a swipe or a bite from an angry one will ruin your day. Usually, this happens when a person actively seeks the attention of a cat, thus annoying the feline to the point of frustration. Remember, you could end up hurting your cat accidentally if an altercation occurs. In case this happens, immediately drive to your local veterinary hospital.

As responsible owners, know your cat’s body language and cues to know if it hates what you’re doing or if it’s about to bite the hand that feeds. Take note of the following:

A Distressed Meow

A meowing Russian Blue cat. Photo from Wikimedia Commons.

A meowing Russian Blue cat. Photo from Wikimedia Commons.

Meows can mean different things, like “feed me now, human”, “pet me, human” or “GET AWAY FROM ME OR ELSE I WILL BITE YOU, HUMAN”. Let’s say Tibbles was chilling in the couch and you decided to stroke his exposed belly. He suddenly woke up, stood up and meowed as you inched your hand closer.

This is a sign that you should lay off the little guy for a while. How would you know if a meow is “distressed” and “angry”? It’s usually high-pitch and if the annoyed cat is staring directly into your eyes. Speaking of eyes…

A Wide and Unblinking Stare

Its eyes are like the gates of the Underworld. Photo by Luis Miguel Bugallo Sánchez (Wikimedia Commons)

Its eyes are like the gates of the Underworld. Photo by Luis Miguel Bugallo Sánchez (Wikimedia Commons)

Contrary to popular belief, cats do not express their love and trust by rubbing themselves all over you (note – they’re marking you). They do so CREEPILY by staring at you and blinking. In the feline world, blinking is a sign of trust and a way of saying “I trust you, human”. If you’re petting Tibbles and even rubbing his belly with his eyes closed, then you have already established an unbreakable relationship with him.

However, let’s reverse the situation: let’s say that your hand is inching closer towards his head, and he happens to be staring at you with unblinking eyes. It means that he’s agitated and doesn’t want a petting session at that moment. Take note of this reaction as it will likely precede an angry meow.

Experiment: the next time you and your cat are chilling out, look into his eyes and blink slowly. It will likely blink back – a sign that an affection session is guaranteed.

Ear language

Photo by Benutzer, Wikimedia Commons

Notice the laid back ears and angry stare. Photo by Benutzer, Wikimedia Commons

Aside from a direct stare into your eyes, an annoyed cat’s ears will be turned back OR sideways OR flat.

• Ears pointed backward or sideways – this is paired with an arched back, paws on the ground with its unforgiving eyes staring directly into yours. Usually a defensive posture.

• Flat ears – a sign that it’s preparing to pounce or bite you.

Only pet your cat when its ears are pointing forward as it conveys that they are in a good mood.

Aside from the facial aspects, also look at your cats’ whole body language, , particularly the back and the tail. Knowing what Tibbles is trying to tell you is vital in cat ownership and a must if you want him to live a happy life under your arms. Also, here are some tips which can help calm an obviously angry cat.

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