We, humans, are rather social creatures; most of us enjoy hugs and kisses, meeting new people, and experiencing life in full. However, felines aren’t like that at all. Even cat parents who aren’t shy about showering kittens with lots of affection, sometimes wonder — why is my cat so aloof?
The Internet is full of memes that depict cats as independent, cannot-be-bothered creatures who prefer to keep to themselves. They are quite different from dogs in that regard, which practically crave attention and would like nothing more than to cuddle up next to us and get scratched everywhere.
But is there a reason cats are so aloof, or could it be that they’re simply living their best lives according to their own rules? Could there be an underlying cause to them preferring to sit by themselves instead of cuddling up to humans?
As it turns out, that just might be their MO.
Why Is My Cat So Aloof and Ignoring Me?
To explain why a cat may be aloof, I ought to use my own example. I can say that I’ve gone through the aloofness phase myself and successfully won over my feline.
My cat is actually a rescue, and I got her when she was just a few months old. I cannot tell you which breed she is, as she is likely a crossbreed. Appearance-wise, she resembles a Persian. However, since that breed is rather friendly, I cannot say she falls into that category all too well.
Why? Well, when I got her, I immediately noticed that she was rather reserved. Granted, when I brought her home, she was in strange, new territory. Even worse, I already had another older cat, which I got when I was 15 years old.
I tried, of course, to win her over. I kept her litter box clean, used treats to indulge her, and I only bought the best food.
As you can guess, that didn’t repair our relationship — I wasn’t trying hard enough. My cat kept ignoring me, as she wasn’t a material girl, after all.
Why Is My Cat So Aloof? The Ultimate Fix
As unfortunate as the situation was, I wasn’t looking to quit any time soon. I wanted my cat to like me as much as I liked her, so I tried showering her with affection on every occasion.
My idea was that cats probably liked affection as much as dogs, as the other cat loved hugs and kisses. That’s why the behavior of the rescue surprised me — she kept rejecting my advances!
As it so happens, this particular cat wasn’t that into the same stuff my other cat thrived on. For one, she didn’t like her back stroked. Her sweet spot was her head and that area behind the ears.
Additionally, unlike my other cat, who detests playing with humans, this one actually loved getting that kind of attention. But that’s one of the last things I tried because I thought cats were pretty much alike!
How My Cat Finally Found a Place in Her Heart for Me
So what did I do? The ultimate solution was to keep my cool and learn more about her.
I didn’t try to force affection, but at the same time, I probably wasn’t giving enough of it, which made her even more aloof. So I tried hugging and kissing her, as well as putting her in my lap at the end of the day to watch TV. But she kept rejecting me.
In the end, I figured I had to find another way and stepped back to check what she actually liked. That is when I discovered all the nuances in her behavior.
She Just Liked Different Things!
For example, she preferred to get a treat in the morning rather than late in the afternoon. She liked to sit on the sofa, not on my lap. She also liked to sit on the armrest sometimes, which I found rather confusing and thought was just a way for her to get away from me. It was as if she didn’t want to sit beside me at all.
I also found out that having lots of things to do around the house was her jam. She was rather focused while playing and loved her cat tower. She liked to chase the laser as well, and a lot more than my other cat; the other one was — you guessed it — aloof when around it.
In the end, when I learned all her preferences and kept my cool around her, i.e., produced no sudden movements or noises, she started approaching me for cuddles.
Granted, she prefers to keep to herself most of the time and is more or less still aloof. That is just the way she is — it’s the result of her genetic makeup and the earliest interactions with humans. But she doesn’t oppose a good rub every now and again!
Best of all, she’s doing everything on her own terms, without me forcing her to stay still or anything similar. And, as it turns out, that’s all cats truly want — control over their environment and a chance to walk away if they want to.
Are All Cats Aloof?
My example should be enough to tell you that all cats aren’t the same. I adopted both of my cats when they were just a few months old, and neither of them had any horrible human interactions. You could say that they had a similar life, more or less — but their personalities differ.
Because of that, it’s a huge mistake to think that cats are naturally independent, aloof, haughty, etc. At best, I could say that some cats are like that. But I’ve had my fair share of experiences since then, and I’ve met many cats. One of my friend’s felines is as cuddly as a puppy, while my parents’ companion prefers sitting on the sofa and judging the whole room.
So the answer to Why is my cat so aloof? isn’t that simple. Their aloofness could be a sign of insecurity; the more secure their owner seems, the friendlier they are. But ultimately, it depends on who they are, their character, and how they live their lives.
I could say the same about people — some are introverts, others are extroverts. Therefore, some cats are either aloof or super friendly because that’s their preferred state. Most of the time, it has nothing to do with us but their idea of control and their lack of will to please anyone but themselves.
Cats vs. Dogs
But why is there a well-known idea that cats are less friendly than dogs? My best guess is that it comes down to domestication. We specifically domesticated dogs to become human companions (to work and live with them) about 10,000 years ago. On the other hand, cats weren’t meant to become our best friends, and the domestication is quite recent. Better yet, their ancestors had to learn to fend for themselves and were solitary creatures.
Because of that, today, many believe that cats are unsociable, want to scratch the eyes out of anyone who approaches them and is truly independent, so much so that we can leave them alone for hours on end.
But again, my research, as well as my own experiences, have shown that it depends on the cat’s personality, genetic predisposition, its way of life, and its background with humans. The best we can do, therefore, is adjust to it and accept them for who they are. Otherwise, we could try to win them over, one day at a time.
Why Is My Cat So Aloof All of a Sudden?
The other issue most people have with their cat’s aloofness is when it happens all of a sudden. Imagine having a cat that loves coming up to you and cuddling up late at night. But suddenly, it avoids all contact and wants to be alone.
Since science has shown that cats aren’t as indifferent as we think they are, any sort of change in behavior could be a sign of an underlying issue. In this particular case, if our cat suddenly becomes aloof, there must be something in its environment that has triggered the mood. It often means that the feline is on edge, so it’s best to get it checked by the vet.
Just like dogs, cats could become moody if there’s something wrong with them. A health problem could be making them react differently to our cuddles, and they might even become slightly aggressive.
Otherwise, they could be having some territorial issues and are reacting to a change in their routine. If you get a new cat and make them share resources, the older resident is likely to become aloof due to stress and anxiety. Similarly, if their routine or environment changes, they could withdraw and spend much of the time by themselves or display aggressive behavior.
If Google hasn’t been able to answer your Why is my cat so aloof conundrum, know that you are not alone. Many cat parents believe their felines don’t actually like them, and that the whole species is super unfriendly.
The truth is, of course, that cats are just different from dogs, and we cannot expect them to behave in the same way. They are affectionate, sociable, and friendly, but only on their own terms and in their own way.
Additionally, they need to trust people in order to show their affection, which is why learning more about your cat and its needs and preferences is crucial. Take the time to get to know your feline, and it will reward you with more love than you could have imagined!