The Real Reason Your Cat Probably Hates You

Cats are not social carnivores. Only the lion defies that statement. So the small, wild cats that your domestic house cat was domesticated from, like the Jungle Cat (Felis chaus), Serval (Leptailurus serval), Caracal (Caracal caracal), Pallas Cat (Otocolobus manul), and Fishing Cat (Prionailurus viverrinus), are all solitary hunters. Therefore, your cat at home doesn’t really hate you, they just have no instinctive use for you.

Social carnivores are, generally speaking, pretty rare in the wild. It takes a lot of energy to bring down prey, and there just aren’t a lot of animals in the wild who are willing to sacrifice the calories in order to feed someone else. African Painted Dogs, wolves, lions, and a few others pretty much have that niche filled. Caring for another being past its infancy is also not particularly popular in the animal kingdom either. But that’s what social animals do, they care for their family/pack/pride/troupe members their entire lives and expect the same in return. It’s a lot to ask, think about it.

So while your cat at home, Felis catus, may have conditioned responses to you, like getting excited about feeding time(s), it doesn’t really look to you as a friend or family member. At worst it sees you as competition. At best it sees you as a non-threat that can be exploited for resources.

Don’t be offended by it, just put yourself in their headspace to appreciate this viewpoint. They’re not wired to rely on or support others, they’re in the game for Number One. It’s the same reason they can turn on you at the drop of a hat, going from loving belly scratches to biting your hand for no apparent reason. They don’t have social language or cues the way that most primates, most canines, and lions have. So they solicit for affection but then when it comes time to stop, they don’t have a polite way of telling you and they quickly get over threshold and snap at you. It’s not their fault! They’re just… cats.

Now, of course, there’s an exception to every rule and there are cats out there who are genuinely affectionate towards humans, who never flip out and bit a hand that’s petting them, and are even clingy little snuggle monsters all the time. But realise that these are exceptions!

You may love your cat to pieces, but chances are it does not feel the same way about you.