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How Long Does A Cat Stay Mad At You?

In over five years of owning a ragdoll cat, I had never seen it react the way it did when I mistakenly stepped on its tail with my spike boots; his yells were so loud and piercing. I never knew the poor thing was laying in a way that exposed his tail—close to the door.

He looked at me with wary eyes as if he meant: ” hey, what have I done to you?”. I tried to reach for him and pet him, but he ran off and hid throughout the whole day. The next day, he approached all his routines with caution, but I tried to keep petting and apologizing to him; I also made him his favorite pipe cleaner toy. Eventually, he warmed up to me, but that took a day and a half, and he kept me wondering how long will my cat be mad at me.

How long will my cat be mad at me? On average, a cat’s memory span is about 16 hours, which means your cat can remain angry at you for 16 hours or more. In cases where the cat has experienced trauma, if you trigger the cat’s past experiences, it’s likely to distrust you and stay angry for days or weeks.

You could easily mistake when a cat is angry with you or when a cat is going through pain, as the behavioral changes are almost the same. In case you fall into the category of people asking: “how long will my cat be mad at me?”, in this post, you’ll learn everything about your cat holding grudges and how to resolve these situations.

Table of Contents

Do cats hold grudges?

Yes, cats have individual personalities; while some will forgive you quickly, others will get all puffed up, turn their backs on you and give you a look of distrust that could last for a few minutes, hours, or days. To understand this further, Cambridge defines a grudge as a strong feeling of rage and dislike for someone you believe has mistreated you, especially if it lasts for a long time.

Generally, when it involves a cat’s memory, to understand how it works, we have to divide it into two; working memory and long-term memory.

  • Working memory defines how much things can be retained at a given time. If I read out everything on my to-do list, how many of those things would you remember?
  • Long-term memory is measured as how much information could be retained beyond the short-term(working memory) duration. Can you remember the difference between alkaline and basic water from your lectures in a science class 12 years ago?

From personal experience, I played a search game with my cat, but I ensured to delay him for 35 seconds before I let him search for the toy. When I eventually let him search for the toy, he didn’t even make a move to show he was supposed to search for a toy. I have tried to engage my ragdoll in more tests, but he is as unwilling as the word ” unwilling.” The only first-hand experience I have is when I stepped on his tail.

I have taught my cat a few tricks with praises and treats, and he learned and mastered them; this gives me the impression that cats can retain positive or negative experienced over time. I hope to do more research and update the article, but here is a study on a cat keeping what was taught for ten minutes.

How Long Does A Cat Stay Mad At You?

My cat is mad at me

When it comes to a cat being mad at you, age is a huge determinant. Kittens’ memory is considered inferior compared to a grown cat’s memory. Hence, they are still learning about the world and won’t hold grudges for long.

A grown cat, unlike a kitten, has superior memory, is very clever, and tends to read danger around its environment. You’ll do things to your kitty that’ll trigger it to think you intend harm; most of them will figure you mistakenly stepped on their tail, while the rest will take it personally. If your cat is angry with you, things could stay that way for up to 16 hours or more.

How to tell if your cat is upset with you

Dawn Kavanaugh, a cat behaviorist, says: “cats can’t speak to save their lives, but that doesn’t mean they don’t try to communicate their feelings.” Over the years, we have found cats to be refined artists when it comes to hiding their feelings, but if you pay closer attention, you’ll be able to tell when your kitty has emotional resentments for you.

Your kitty could purposefully knock off a jar, make angry sounds, and pee on your clean laundry. In a case like this, refrain from reacting; instead, observe your cat. Cats will get out-of-script when they’re likely going through depression or anxiety, says dawn. A cat’s body language holds all the cues you need to understand how your kitty is feeling. Below, we are going to explain in detail.

Scratches Your furniture

You’ll never understand how infuriating it can be when an angry cat scratches your furniture right when you’re looking at it. This was what my ragdoll did when I stepped on his tail mistakenly, and my head almost exploded from how long will my cat be mad at me, but I kept my cool.

In extremely annoying cases like this, please don’t react angrily since cats scratch to mark territory when anxious or angry. Instead, make use of pheromones to calm things down.

When a cat scratches furniture, it doesn’t always mean they are angry; they could be trying to losses and their husk(the outer part of their claws). To confirm if it’s anger related, it is usually accompanied by some of the following signs.

They will Pee On Your Clean Laundry

Your cat hardly has accidents; it doesn’t poop in your car but pees on your clean laundry or all around the house suddenly; this is a sign of distress. A distressed cat will pee on soft materials or surfaces such as your sofa, bed, or laundry pile—such abnormal behaviors should be taken care of on time; speak with your vet if you’re unsure about what needs to be done.

Lack Of Interest In Her Favorite meal

When a cat is provoked, it’ll find its favorite meal less appealing. Most times, this reaction is triggered by your regular events around her, such as a change of environment, a change in routine, bringing a new cat to the house, and even a birth of a baby. Loss of appetite is also a sign of ailment in cats; if the refusal to eat persists beyond a day or two, contact your vet.

Twitchy tail

When your cat twitches its tail, it’s a subtle pointer that there is a stressor present, and the twitching is just an emotional-triggered response. Whenever your cat twitches its tail as a response to anything you’re doing, discontinue and give it space for a while until it is calm.

Their ears like they want to fly

If your kitty’s ears are shaped like an airplane’s wings and are pushed back against the head and protruded slightly, this indicates your cat is upset—this upset could be caused by external stressors(like a feral cat’s presence). In cases like this, keep your distance, cos if you try to pet them in this situation, they may redirect their anger toward you.

Gets fluffy suddenly

One of the most common signs of an angry cat is fluffed-out fur, an arched back, and a bushy tail. This makes the cat feel intimidating and gives it a sense of appearing bigger. To avoid getting bitten or a swat, avoid trying to pet them at this point.

My cat is mad at me; what should I do?

The very primary step is understanding why your cat is upset. Your intent hast to be genuine as it will aid in determining how you made the cat angry and how not to repeat the act next time; it’ll also arm you with a better approach to follow.

Research suggests that cats have more sensitive hearing when compared to dogs. Depending on how harsh or soft your voice may be, your cat will likely understand your position. So, lack of honesty in your apology or the lack of care in your tone may make your kitty not trust you.

Approach with good timing

Once it becomes apparent that you have angered your cat, inhale and exhale. Observe your cat for signs of fear or anger. It would help if you left your kitty be for a while before you approached it. If you rush the apology process, you’ll end up scarring the kitty more, and you’ll earn a swat.

And it’s also essential not to let so much time pass before taking action; they’ll think you don’t care. The best time two make your approach is when the cat’s ears and muscles are relaxed.

If your cat is hiding or avoiding you, call out for it with a soft tone. Make it feel like you’re no threat, and praise it. A treat will aid in lifting its moods, and if it doesn’t answer your calls, keep the treats around. Watch from afar and see if they get better; ensure to give them time too.

Make a careful approach

It is typical to subconsciously want to respond when you see your cat in distress, but it is of uttermost importance for you to calm down. Racing towards your cat yelling: “I’m sorry,” will only trigger the opposite effect. The best thing to do is observe how it acts and approach it slowly and carefully.

When your cat is walking away from you, please resist the urge to chase after them, and don’t corner them. Unlike dogs, cats require some space and time once provoked, but you may feel like you’re ignoring the hurt of the poor thing; in reality, you’re only signaling: “I mean no harm.”

After staying away for some time, give your cat some attention. Please pay attention to how it reacts, then let out your hands and let the cat smell them. It is also essential to make yourself small by getting down on the cat’s level; this will make you appear to be of no harm. A pleasant and soft voice is always appealing; give a relaxed gaze to denote that you come in peace if your cat is comfortable, hell purr, or blinks slowly.

Speak to your cat

Research suggests that Cats can inherently differentiate and recognize words, like the names of different foods. Some cats can be very responsive to name calls—if your cat falls into this category, use its name to draw attention. After an experience of fear and shock, calling its name can help calm its head.

Cats have a great understanding of our tones since they have sensitive ears. Try not to tell loudly or panic aloud. If your feline friend had been on the avoidance, the least of things you want to engage in is to scold it. Cats are known not to cope well with such acts. Instead, praises and treats are a better way to get your cat in order. When all is done right, play and pet your cat.

Do cats apologize?

Yes, your cat will feel guilt after being aggressive or scratching you, but you’re likely not to notice. When a cat apologizes, it will usually go unnoticed because of how they go about it. Your cat won’t walk up to you and say sorry; instead, they’ll rub themselves against you and raise their tail exactly how they do if they’re feeling friendly.

How long do cats stay mad at each other?

Cats can stay mad at each other for a few minutes to months. In extreme cases, owners are forced to re-home the aggressive cat. To stop cats from showing aggression toward each other, the use of vanilla extracts is applied.

There are billions of reasons why your cats won’t like to see each other or cross paths. Making cats share the same litter box, nonrecognition aggression, and not neutering your cats could lead to territorial conflicts.


Cats are inexplicably puzzling; they require so much extensive caution, and they are not as forgiving as dogs could be, but they could have so much love and affection to give you.

If you offend your cat, you shouldn’t be worried about how long will my cat be mad at me; instead, you should give them space and observe how they act for the first few minutes. This will provide you with cues on when to apologize and get the thing to how they were before.

Joshua Kaynard

I am Joshua kaynard, an avid cat lover. Our pets provide an excellent way of connecting with nature; I am committed to helping you understand all the aspects of your feline friend's life. Enjoy!

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