As much as we all try to be the best possible pet owners for our feline friends, situations can and do arise where we worry our cats will hold a grudge.
Maybe your cat is being standoffish with you after you’ve returned from vacation, or perhaps you’ve accidentally tripped over them or stepped on their tail (it happens).
Regardless of why you feel your cat may be upset with you, you’re probably eager for the dynamic to return to normal, which begs the question: how long does a cat hold a grudge?
Cats And Short-Term Memory
Cats have a short-term memory span of about 16 hours. This means that generally speaking, cats don’t remember small slights or accidents after the 16-hour mark.
So, if you’ve done something minor to upset your cat, such as making a loud noise and accidentally scaring them, you can expect them to return to their normal, affectionate self within a few hours - 16 hours at the most.
Things Cats Forgive And Forget Quickly
Here are some examples of things that your cat is likely to forgive you for quickly:
Prolonged Avoidance After Traumatic Events
While cats will typically forgive their owners for unintentional upsets within 16 hours, or 24 at most, there are some things that our feline companions won’t forgive so easily. The following things are likely to result in your cat holding a prolonged grudge against you:
How to Tell If Your Cat Is Upset With You
If you’re not sure whether your cat is mad at you, here are some telltale signs that you have some reconciliation to do:
Getting Your Cat To Forgive You
After upsetting your cat, you probably feel sad and guilty, but don’t be tempted to overcompensate by getting in your cat’s space to give them affection since this could backfire. Instead, sit somewhere accessible with your cat’s favorite blanket or toy near you. This will encourage your cat to approach you.
Other ways to get back in your cat’s good books is to give them their favorite food and speak softly to them while still giving them space so they know you’re not ignoring them.
After a few hours, try approaching your cat gently and offering a treat or a toy. By this point, they may be ready for love again.
Most of the time, cats will hold a grudge for a maximum of 16 hours due to how their short-term memory works. However, in some cases, such as if you step on their tail or punish them, cats might hold a grudge for several days.
Signs your cat is holding a grudge include aggressive or fearful body language, avoidant or aggressive behavior, or bathroom problems.
You can speed up reconciliation with your cat by giving them space, speaking softly, and giving their favorite food, treats, or toys as peace offerings.
At Love4Cats, our practice involves consistent collaboration with licensed veterinarians and reputable industry experts. However, it's important to note that the content provided on Excited Cats is not intended as veterinary advice. While we strive to enhance your understanding of feline care, the information presented on this blog should not replace professional veterinary guidance.