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Signs of an Angry Cat

Learn the signs that indicate a cat is mad.

Though cats may not use words to communicate their thoughts and feelings, they certainly have their ways of getting the point across. And when a kitty is mad, woe to the person who ignores those signs and goes in for a pet.

Just in case, brush up on the different ways cats tell us they're mad.

Growling and Hissing

Growling and hissing are among the primary ways cats tell someone they're angry. If your kitty growls or hisses as you approach, you can bet she's not happy and would rather you change directions.

Learn more: "Why Do Cats Hiss at People?"


Okay, this one is tricky. Because cats mainly purr when they're happy and content. But they also sometimes purr when they're scared or in pain, and some of them do it when they're angry. So, it's all about knowing the cat and reading the rest of her body language.

If your cat never purrs but then suddenly begins doing so while displaying some of the other body language cues in this article, it's best to be on the safe side and assume she's angry.

Learn more: "Why Do Cats Purr?"

Fast Tail Wagging

Cats don't usually wag their tails much. Most cats don't wag their tails happily like a dog. A quickly twitching or slapping tail usually indicates feline anger.

Learn more: "Did You Know Your Cat's Tail "Talks" to You?"


Cats that are mad at someone will usually avoid being around them. They may leave the room, hop down from the couch, or get up high and stare at the object of their ire from a distance.

Ears Laid Back

If a cat's ears lay back on her head, she's almost surely angry. Don't approach a cat with ears in that position.

Remember: All these body language cues can alternatively mean that a cat is scared or upset and not so much angry. Use context clues and other body language and actions to help you determine what your cat is trying to communicate.

Poofing Up

An angry cat will often sort of poof up and make themselves look more prominent. Their hair stands up, and they generally look enlarged.


If a cat's other body language isn't enough to get someone to back off, they will usually swipe with a paw at the intruder. The exception to this is that declawed cats sometimes skip that step and go straight to biting.


Even though cats can't make all the nuanced facial expressions that humans can, they are still fully capable of letting a human know they're mad by giving the stink-eye. This is a case where, once you know a cat's personality, you'll find it easier to recognize when she's glaring at you.

You May Also Like These Articles:

Why Do Cats Hiss at People?

Why Do Cats Purr? The How & Why of Cat Purring

Did You Know Your Cat's Tail "Talks" to You?

Why Does My Cat Drink from the Faucet?

Why Does My Cat Chase Me?

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