Orange British Shorthair cat lying on couch

Does your cat seem upset or anxious? Do its body signals seem negative or is it practicing inappropriate bathroom habits?

What’s bothering your cat could very well be something that bothers you, too. From dirty bathrooms to spoiled food to too loud music, cats and humans share more pet peeves than you may think. And believe it or not, you could be making some mistakes as an owner, unknowingly causing these top things cats can’t stand. Don’t worry—we’ve got your back—here’s how to remedy them.

  • 01
    of 07

    Cats Hate Feeling Lonely

    Gray cat lying on a leather sofa.

    @minipiekitchen / Instagram

    Contrary to popular belief, cats are not solitary animals! It’s true that you can leave your cat alone for longer bouts than you could a dog, but kitties crave attention, companionship, and love just like any other furry friend—or human. If left alone for extended periods of time, it can become agitated and develop feelings of anxiety and even depression.

    If you have a busy schedule, be sure to set aside a few minutes each day to spend some quality time with your cat. Even 15 minutes of playtime every few hours will keep it happy and healthy. An even better solution? Consider adopting another cat, so it has a full-time companion.

  • 02
    of 07

    Cats Hate Dirty Litter Boxes

    Brown long-haired cat sitting in a litter box.

    Brown long-haired cat sitting in a litter box.

    Chris Murphy/Flickr/CC0

    Using a dirty toilet—in public or in a home—is pretty gross, right? Well, cats feel the same way about dirty litter boxes.

    It’s important to clean out your cat’s litter boxes every day, or at least every other day, depending on the number of cats you have and their bathroom habits. Don’t want to scoop poop daily? Consider investing in a self-cleaning litter box.

    Keeping a clean litter box isn’t just about scooping either. Depending on the type of litter you use, the frequency with which you scoop it, and the number of cats in your household, litter should be replaced about every two weeks.

  • 03
    of 07

    Cats Hate Spoiled Food

    Black and white cat eating out of a food dish on the floor.

    Black and white cat eating out of a food dish on the floor.

    Jan-Erik Finnberg/Flickr/CC BY 2.0

    You probably don’t want to dig into a big plate of spoiled food—and surprise!—neither does your cat. Not only does raw or spoiled food taste bad, but it can make your cat sick, too. Bacteria such as Salmonella and Staphylococcus can grow in food that’s been exposed for too long, especially in the warmer months.

    Whenever you’re serving up your kitty’s meals, be sure to check the expiration dates on both wet and dry food. If you find yourself saving lots of leftovers after your cat’s meals, you may need to assess how much it actually needs to be eating. Your veterinarian can help you decide based on his breed, age, and activity levels.

  • 04
    of 07

    Cats Hate Yucky Medicine

    Tabby cat licking its front paw.

    Tabby cat licking its front paw.

    zaimoku_woodpile/Flickr/CC BY 2.0

    When you’re feeling lousy, the last thing you want to do is down some yucky tasting medicine. And the same holds true for your cat. When taking medication, many cats foam at the mouth, hold the pill in their esophagus, or just spit it back out.

    Whether your cat needs medication for a cold or infection or has a chronic condition that requires the ongoing administering of medication, it’s vital to make the experience a bit more palatable for kitty.

    First, train your cat to be comfortable having its face and mouth handled; associate the sensations with something positive by rewarding it with a small treat. Then, establish a medication schedule, so it knows what to expect and when.

    If you’re still having issues with administering pills, there are lots of soft treats with pockets designed for holding pills.

    Continue to 5 of 7 below.

  • 05
    of 07

    Cats Hate Overly Aggressive Petting

    Hand petting a calico kitten.

    Hand petting a calico kitten.

    sergio_leenen/Flickr/CC BY-ND 2.0

    If you have a cat, you know there are only certain areas it will allow you to pet—and if you pet the wrong part, it will hiss, scratch, or bite. Cats can be extremely sensitive to tactile stimuli, so it’s important to be aware of where and how you’re petting them.

    Want to keep your cat happy? Cats groom each other on the head and neck—and seriously dislike “full-body” pets down the length of their backs—so try to stick to the areas around its head and neck only. Pay close to attention to its behavior and body signals to understand acceptable and unacceptable petting.

  • 06
    of 07

    Cats Hate Competition From Other Cats

    two black and white cats sitting on a black blanket.

    two black and white cats sitting on a black blanket.

    Jennifer C./Flickr/CC BY 2.0

    Whether battling over food, space, toys or their humans’ attention, cats can become jealous of one another. Unfortunately, this jealousy can manifest as aggression and, depending on the situation, misdirected aggression.

    For example: If a house cat feels threatened by an outdoor cat, but can’t attack it, the house cat may redirect his aggression toward another cat inside the house.

  • 07
    of 07

    Cats Hate Loud Noises

    Gray and white cat lying on a blue bedspread

    Gray and white cat lying on a blue bedspread

    quinnanya/Flickr/CC BY 2.0

    From thunderstorms to arguments to fireworks, lots of loud noises and commotion can seriously stress your cat out. And chronic stress from loud noises can cause a number of behavioral and health issues, including skittishness, aggression, or depression, as well as hair loss, lack of appetite, and over-grooming.

    It can be tough, but try to limit your cat’s exposure to loud noises. Keep it in a quiet, safe space when guests are over or during bad weather and avoid playing very loud music or cranking up the volume on the TV.

Article Sources

The Spruce Pets uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.

  1. de Souza Machado, Daiana et al. Identification of separation-related problems in domestic cats: A questionnaire survey. PloS one, vol. 15, no. 4, 2021. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0230999

  2. Vomiting. Feline Health Center, Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine.

  3. Feline Behavior Problems: Aggression. Feline Health Center, Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine.

  4. Stella, Judi et al. Effects of stressors on the behavior and physiology of domestic cats. Applied animal behaviour science vol. 143, no. 2-4, pp. 157-163, 2013. doi:10.1016/j.applanim.2012.10.014

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