8 Things that Emotionally Hurt Your Cat (You Must Know)

How to Avoid Hurting Your Cat's Feelings: 8 Things to Know


Cats are often seen as independent and aloof creatures, but they are actually very sensitive and emotional animals. They can experience a range of emotions, such as happiness, sadness, fear, anger, and frustration. As cat owners, it is important to understand the factors that can hurt our cats emotionally and how to avoid or minimize them. In this article, we will discuss 8 things that can emotionally hurt your cat and what you can do to make your cat happier.

Lack of Social Interaction

Contrary to popular belief, cats are not solitary animals. They are social creatures that need interaction with other cats or humans. Cats that are isolated or lonely can develop emotional problems, such as depression, anxiety, or aggression. They may also exhibit behavioral issues, such as excessive vocalization, scratching, or spraying.

To provide adequate social interaction for your cat, you should:

  • Spend quality time with your cat every day. Play with your cat, pet your cat, talk to your cat, and show your cat affection.
  • If you have more than one cat, make sure they get along well and have enough resources to share. Provide multiple litter boxes, food bowls, water bowls, toys, and scratching posts.
  • If you have only one cat and you are away for long periods of time, consider getting another cat as a companion. However, you should introduce them gradually and carefully to avoid territorial conflicts.
  • If you cannot get another cat, you can also provide some entertainment for your cat while you are away. For example, you can leave the radio or TV on, or set up a bird feeder outside the window.

Changes in Environment


Cats are creatures of habit and they like stability and familiarity. They are sensitive to changes in their surroundings, such as moving to a new home, renovating the house, or rearranging the furniture. These changes can cause stress and anxiety for cats, which can affect their emotional well-being.

To minimize stress during environmental changes, you should:

  • Keep your cat’s routine as normal as possible. Feed your cat, play with your cat, and groom your cat at the same time every day.
  • Provide your cat with a safe and comfortable place where they can hide and relax. This could be a carrier, a crate, a bed, or a box. Put some familiar items in the place, such as blankets, toys, or clothing with your scent.
  • Use calming products, such as pheromone sprays or diffusers, to help your cat feel more secure and relaxed.
  • Give your cat some time to adjust to the new environment. Do not force your cat to explore or interact with unfamiliar things or people. Let your cat do it at their own pace.

Neglect of Enrichment Activities

Cats are intelligent and curious animals that need mental and physical stimulation. They have natural instincts to hunt, chase, pounce, and play. If they do not have enough enrichment activities, they can become bored and frustrated. This can lead to emotional problems, such as depression or aggression. It can also cause behavioral problems, such as overeating, overgrooming, or destructive behavior.


To provide engaging enrichment activities for your cat, you should:

  • Provide your cat with a variety of toys that appeal to their senses and instincts. For example, you can use toys that make noise, move unpredictably, or contain catnip.
  • Rotate the toys regularly to keep your cat interested and excited.
  • Play with your cat every day for at least 15 minutes. Use interactive toys that mimic prey movements, such as feather wands or laser pointers. Let your cat catch and kill the toy occasionally to satisfy their hunting instinct.
  • Provide your cat with opportunities to exercise their body and mind. For example, you can use puzzle feeders that require your cat to solve a problem to get food. You can also create obstacle courses or hiding places for your cat to explore.

Inconsistent Routine

Cats like routine and predictability. They feel more secure and confident when they know what to expect and when to expect it. They rely on routine for their basic needs, such as feeding, playing, and sleeping. If their routine is inconsistent or disrupted, they can become stressed and anxious. This can affect their emotional well-being and their behavior.

To create a stable and predictable routine for your cat, you should:

  • Feed your cat at the same time every day. Use measured portions to prevent overfeeding or underfeeding.
  • Play with your cat at the same time every day. Use interactive toys that stimulate their hunting instinct. End the play session with a treat or a meal to reward your cat.
  • Provide your cat with a comfortable and quiet place to sleep. Make sure they have access to their favorite spots, such as a window sill, a sofa, or a bed. Avoid disturbing your cat when they are sleeping or resting.

Loud Noises and Startling Events

Cats are sensitive to loud noises and sudden events. They can perceive them as threats or dangers. They can cause fear and panic for cats, which can affect their emotional well-being and their behavior. Some examples of loud noises and startling events are fireworks, thunderstorms, vacuum cleaners, doorbells, or strangers.

To create a safe and calming environment during such events, you should:

  • Provide your cat with a hiding place where they can feel secure and comfortable. This could be a carrier, a crate, a bed, or a box. Put some familiar items in the place, such as blankets, toys, or clothing with your scent.
  • Use calming products, such as pheromone sprays or diffusers, to help your cat feel more relaxed and less fearful.
  • Play soothing music or white noise to mask the loud noises and create a peaceful atmosphere.
  • Do not force your cat to come out or interact with the source of the noise or event. Let your cat do it at their own pace when they feel ready.
  • Do not punish or scold your cat for their fearful or nervous behavior. This will only make them more stressed and anxious.

Ignoring Physical Health


Cats are good at hiding their pain and discomfort. They do not want to show weakness or vulnerability. However, this does not mean that they do not suffer from physical health issues. Physical health issues can affect their emotional well-being and their behavior. Some examples of physical health issues are dental problems, arthritis, urinary tract infections, or allergies.

To ensure your cat’s physical and emotional well-being, you should:

  • Monitor your cat’s health regularly. Look for signs of illness or injury, such as changes in appetite, weight, energy level, grooming habits, litter box habits, or vocalization.
  • Take your cat to the veterinarian for regular check-ups and preventive care. Follow the veterinarian’s recommendations for vaccinations, deworming, flea and tick treatment, spaying or neutering, and microchipping.
  • Treat any health issues promptly and properly. Follow the veterinarian’s instructions for medication, diet, or lifestyle changes. Provide your cat with comfort and support during their recovery.

Lack of Vertical Space

Cats are natural climbers. They like to have a high vantage point where they can survey their surroundings and feel safe and confident. They also like to have a private space where they can escape from stress and relax. If they do not have enough vertical space, they can feel insecure and unhappy. This can affect their emotional well-being and their behavior.

To provide enough vertical space for your cat, you should:

  • Provide your cat with vertical structures and safe spaces. For example, you can use cat trees, shelves, cabinets, or window perches. Make sure they are sturdy, stable, and accessible.
  • Place the vertical structures and safe spaces in strategic locations. For example, you can place them near windows, doors, or food bowls. This will allow your cat to have a better view of their environment and control their resources.
  • Encourage your cat to use vertical structures and safe spaces. For example, you can put some treats, toys, or bedding on them. You can also praise your cat when they use them.

Introduction of New Pets

Cats are territorial animals and they do not like intruders in their domain. They can feel threatened or stressed by the presence of new pets in their home. This can cause emotional problems, such as fear, anger, or jealousy. It can also cause behavioral problems, such as fighting, hissing, or spraying.

To introduce new pets to your cat and minimize emotional distress, you should:

  • Introduce them gradually and carefully. Do not force them to meet or interact immediately. Use a barrier, such as a door or a gate, to separate them at first. Let them smell and hear each other from a distance.
  • Exchange scents between the pets. For example, you can rub a cloth on one pet and place it near the other pet. This will help them get used to each other’s smell and associate it with something positive.
  • Use positive reinforcement to reward the pets for their calm and friendly behavior. For example, you can give them treats, praise, or toys when they are near each other without showing aggression or fear.
  • Supervise the interactions between the pets until they are comfortable and relaxed with each other. Do not leave them alone until you are sure they get along well.


Cats are emotional animals that need our care and attention. They can feel happy, sad, angry, or scared, just like humans. As cat owners, we should be aware of the 8 things that can emotionally hurt our cats and try to avoid them as much as possible. These are: lack of social interaction, changes in environment, neglect of enrichment activities, inconsistent routine, punishment, loud noises, separation anxiety, and health issues. By understanding what makes our cats unhappy and providing them with a safe, comfortable, and stimulating environment, we can help them live a happier and healthier life.

6 Things that EMOTIONALLY Hurt Your Cat


1. Can cats be emotionally damaged?

   Cats, much like humans, can experience emotional distress and trauma. Stressful events, changes in their environment, or negative interactions can impact their emotional well-being.

2. Can cats be emotionally abused?

   Emotional abuse can indeed affect cats. Constant yelling, physical aggression, or subjecting them to frightening situations can lead to long-lasting emotional scars. Recognizing and avoiding such behavior is crucial.

3. Can a cat feel neglected?

   Cats are sensitive creatures that can feel neglected. Lack of attention, proper care, and social interaction can leave them feeling lonely and unhappy. Ensuring their physical and emotional needs are met is essential.

4. What hurts a cat's feelings?

   Several factors can hurt a cat's feelings, including abrupt changes in routine, introduction of new pets, or even relocation. These situations can cause stress and anxiety, impacting their emotional state.

5. Is yelling at your cat abuse?

   Yelling at a cat can be considered a form of emotional abuse. Cats are highly attuned to tone and body language; yelling can frighten and stress them, leading to emotional harm over time. Positive reinforcement is a better approach.

Remember that cats' emotional well-being is as important as their physical health. Providing a nurturing, safe, and loving environment is essential for maintaining their overall happiness and minimizing emotional distress.