Guilty Cats — Do Bad Cats Really Feel Guilty?


Cat owners across the world often return home to find that their sweet, cute and adorable cat, wasn’t the sweet angel that they had thought he/she was. Instead they return home to broken furniture, clawed furniture, soiled clothes or clawed up clothes. I recall returning home with our two cats no where to be found and the curtains completely torn down from the curtain rods. Just where did these two rascals run off too? I searched all over the house, and they seemed to have found a hiding place I still have been unable to find — after a couple of hours the two rascals got up enough courage to come out of hiding and beg for food. Our cat’s never hide and are always waiting to greet us at the door to immediately beg for attention and food. (we like to believe its for our attention). So, were our cat’s feeling guilty? Is this why they were hiding?

According to many so called experts and animal psychologists, cat’s do not feel guilty. In fact they claim that cat’s do not recall what they did or register what they have done as bad. These experts claim, as if its fact, that the cat’s run and scurry away with their tails tucked due to the pet owners behavior, not because they think what they have done is bad. If this is the case, why were our cat’s already hiding before we had even gotten home?

These same experts argue that cat’s, just like humans, can have good days and bad days. If a cat is having a bad day, it may be sad and may do something, like tear down our curtains, to help them feel better. So, I guest tearing down our curtains must have helped them get into a better mood. If that was the case, why didn’t they greet us at the door? Well, according to the animal psychologists, cat’s attitudes can go up and down and if it is sad it may go into hiding.

So I decided to read more about cat’s and their attitudes in relation to feeling guilty. One article made me chuckle. This, so called, cat expert wrote about the “personality considerations” and claimed that a cat who is shy and timid and runs away from its owner after doing something bad, may just need training to help it build its confidence. OMG, if our cat’s had any more confidence , they would rule the world. Our cat’s seem only to run and hide after they have done something bad, and if nothing bad has happened, they express zero shyness around us or others. They are the first to greet us at the door — you can scream at them, knock them over, roll them on the floor and they will purr loudly, meow loudly and continue to follow you through the house until you give them the attention they demand. But, the first time they do something bad, they are instantly gone. So what gives?

So, I did more research on cat’s and their personality traits. I found other experts have written that cat’s may not be so oblivious to what they have done as wrong. Specifically, if its owners have told them or portrayed a displeasure in what they have done in the past. I found that cat’s and dog’s don’t necessarily want their owners to be angry with them and may actually express feelings of guilt. But, a cat, has a different way in expressing their guilt than that of a dog. Cat’s may actually leave the room or hide from its owners until they feel comfortable enough to come out of hiding. This is similar to humans. If a little boy or girl does something bad, they too will hide, whether in there room or any other place to get away from their parent, until they feel comfortable to return to the normal living habits.

But, what about those cat’s who think they are above feeling guilty and for that matter doesn’t even respond to its owner scolding them? One of our cat’s reacts completely different to our other cat. If you scold him for doing something wrong, he just looks at you like, don’t talk to me like that and walks through the house like he is too good to be scolded. He then climbs into the top of his kitty condo (cat tree) lays there and looks at you like, don’t ever scold me again.

I researched more and could only find that a cat who is being scolded usually turns its back on its owner and walks away to hide. This behavior is a reflection of your cat surrendering. Although, I have found no writings about a non-surrendering cat, we must have one.



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