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Pet Powwow: Why Your Cat Gives You the Cold Shoulder

By Colleen Williams
October 27, 2014 • 1 min. read
Orange tabby cat

As all cat-owners know, feline affection can feel maddeningly fickle.

But there’s a scientific explanation for why cats and humans don’t always understand each other, says Tony Buffington, a veterinarian at Ohio State University. Unlike dogs, cats evolved as solitary hunters with little need for reading social cues and often lack the cognitive ability to connect their actions with human feedback. Take your admonishment for scratching the couch, for instance: “To the cat, you’re this crazy primate who is attacking him for no reason,” Buffington tells Wired.

Many human behaviors stress our cats out (such as petting their bellies or putting the litter box too close to the humming refrigerator). The best cure, according to Buffington, is learning to listen to your cat, offering choices and creating a calming environment with your cat’s nerves in mind.


colleen williams
By Colleen Williams

Over the past decade, Colleen has written about health, wellness, beauty, and even pets for The New York Times, The Cut, Refinery29, xoVain, Healthy Paws Pet Insurance, and Seattle Met Magazine, as well as many beauty brands. She has a BFA in Art History from the University of New Mexico and an AAS in Fashion Design from Parsons School of Design in New York.

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