How To Tell If A Cat Is Angry?

Cats are fascinating creatures, but they can also be quite mysterious, especially when it comes to expressing their emotions. As cat owners, it’s essential to be able to recognize the signs of anger in our feline friends, as it can help prevent unpleasant situations like scratches or bites. In this blog post, we’ll dive into how you can tell if your cat is angry and what you can do to remedy the situation.

Have you ever found yourself on the receiving end of a withering glare from your cat? Or perhaps they’ve lashed out at you seemingly out of nowhere? Understanding your cat’s behavior is key to understanding their emotions. That’s why we’ve put together this guide on how to recognize the signs that indicate when your cat is upset or angry.

We’ll cover everything from body posture and vocalization to other behaviors that can clue you in on your cat’s mood. Additionally, we’ll provide some helpful tips on how to calm down an angry kitty and restore their happy demeanor. Whether you’re a seasoned cat owner or new to the feline world, this article will give you valuable insight into communicating with your furry friend.

So, buckle up and get ready for an informative journey into the fascinating world of feline emotions.

Body Language: Ears and Tail

Cats may not be able to speak our language, but they have a unique way of communicating their emotions and feelings through their body, particularly their ears and tail.

The position of a cat’s ears can reveal a lot about how they are feeling. If your cat’s ears are pointing forward or slightly tilted, it means that they are alert and interested in something. Conversely, if their ears are flattened against their head, it’s a clear sign that they are feeling agitated or angry. A cat may also rotate its ears to pinpoint the source of a sound or show interest in something.

Similarly, the position of a cat’s tail can be very telling. If your cat’s tail is held high and straight up, it usually means that they are happy and content. However, if their tail is pointed down or tucked between their legs, it indicates that they are afraid or anxious. A cat may also lash its tail back and forth when feeling irritated or annoyed.

It’s important to remember that every cat has its own unique personality and mood, which can affect their body language cues. Therefore, it’s crucial to learn about and observe your cat’s behavior over time to understand their individual body language signals better.

Vocalizations: Hissing, Growling, and Lashing Out

Sometimes, they use vocalizations like hissing, growling, and lashing out to express their emotions. These sounds can indicate that our cats are feeling threatened, scared, or angry.

Hissing is a common warning sign that cats use when they feel uncomfortable or threatened. It’s a sound that lets other animals know to stay away. If your cat hisses, it’s important to respect their need for space and give them time to calm down.

Growling is another vocalization that cats use when they’re feeling upset or threatened. It’s a low rumbling sound that can be heard when a cat is angry or scared. When your cat growls, it’s best to avoid any direct contact until they calm down. Giving them some space can help prevent any further escalation of their emotions.

Lashing out is another way that cats show their anger or frustration. This can include scratching, biting, or swatting at people or objects around them. When a cat is lashing out, it’s important to give them space and avoid any direct contact until they calm down. Trying to calm them down when they’re in this state can result in further aggression.

It’s worth noting that not all cats will use vocalizations to show their anger. Some may become very still and quiet when they’re upset, while others may become more active and aggressive. Understanding your cat’s body language and behavior is key to understanding their emotions.

Pupils: Dilated or Constricted

Believe it or not, a cat’s pupils can provide valuable insight into their emotional state.

When a cat is feeling angry or agitated, their pupils may become dilated, making them appear larger than usual. This is because their body is preparing for action – either to defend itself or attack. Dilated pupils can also indicate fear or excitement, so it’s important to take into account other signs of feline body language before concluding that a cat is angry.

On the flip side, when a cat’s pupils are constricted, it can indicate that they are feeling relaxed or content. Their eyes adjust to the amount of light in the environment, and they don’t need to let in as much light as they would in a darker setting. However, constricted pupils can also be a sign of pain or discomfort, so it’s crucial to check for any physical signs of distress.

Keep in mind that changes in pupil size can happen quickly and may not always be easy to detect. Plus, some cats naturally have larger or smaller pupils than others. So it’s essential to observe your cat’s usual behavior and body language to determine if they’re showing signs of anger or other emotions.

By understanding your cat’s pupils and other forms of body language, you can better understand their emotional state and respond appropriately to their needs. For instance, if you notice dilated pupils and other signs of aggression, it’s best to give them space and avoid direct contact until they calm down.

Fur Standing on End

As it turns out, this phenomenon, known as piloerection, is a fascinating defense mechanism that cats use when they feel threatened or afraid.

When a cat is feeling angry or threatened, the tiny muscles at the base of each hair follicle contract, causing their fur to stand up. This makes the cat appear larger and more intimidating to potential predators or threats. However, it’s important to note that not all fur standing on end is related to anger or aggression. Sometimes, cats may also have their fur stand up when they’re excited or aroused, such as during playtime or affection from their owner.

To tell if your cat’s fur standing on end is a sign of anger or aggression, pay attention to their body language and vocalizations. If their ears are flattened against their head and their pupils are dilated, this may indicate that they’re feeling threatened or aggressive. They may also hiss, growl, or swipe at you with their claws.

It’s also essential to consider the context of the situation. If you’ve just introduced your cat to a new environment or another animal, they may be feeling anxious or defensive. Similarly, if you’re handling them in a way that they don’t enjoy, such as holding them too tightly or petting them in a sensitive spot, they may become agitated and display signs of anger.

Individual Cat Behaviors

Cats are amazing animals who have their own unique way of communicating, and it’s essential to understand their signals to ensure a harmonious relationship.

When it comes to anger, cats can display various behaviors that give us clues. One of the most obvious signs is aggressive behavior. If your cat starts hissing, growling, or swatting, it’s a clear signal that they feel threatened or provoked. However, it’s crucial to remember that these actions can also be triggered by fear or anxiety.

Another telltale sign of anger in cats is a change in posture. When feeling upset, cats may puff up their fur to appear bigger and more intimidating. They may also arch their back and hold their tail erect, with the fur standing on end. These are all signals that your cat is feeling defensive and ready to defend themselves if necessary.

Vocalizations are another way that cats express their emotions, including anger. If you hear your cat meowing, yowling, or screaming, then they might be feeling upset. However, it’s important to recognize that vocalizations can also be due to other emotions like stress or discomfort.

Lastly, changes in routine or environment can trigger anger in cats. They’re creatures of habit and may become agitated if their routines are disrupted or if they’re introduced to new people or animals. During these times, it’s vital to observe your cat’s behavior closely and provide them with plenty of reassurance and comfort.

Medical Issues or Other Underlying Factors

However, it’s essential to understand that there may be medical issues or underlying factors that are causing this behavior. Let’s delve deeper into how medical issues and other factors can contribute to a cat’s aggression.

Before assuming that your cat is merely being aggressive, it’s vital to rule out any potential medical issues. Hyperthyroidism, for instance, can cause a cat to become restless, irritable, and aggressive due to the overproduction of thyroid hormones. Similarly, pain caused by injury or illness can trigger a defensive mechanism in cats, leading to aggression.

Neurological disorders such as feline cognitive dysfunction or brain tumors can also contribute to a cat’s aggressive behavior. These conditions affect mood and behavior, causing unexpected outbursts and changes in demeanor.

Apart from medical issues, there are other underlying factors that can contribute to a cat’s anger. For instance, stress or anxiety triggered by changes in their environment or routine can make cats lash out. Lack of socialization or training and past trauma or abuse can also cause cats to display aggressive behavior.

As responsible pet owners, we must understand and work with our cats to address these underlying factors to improve their well-being and behavior. With patience and care, even the angriest of cats can learn to trust and love their owners.


To sum up, understanding your cat’s emotions is essential for a happy and healthy relationship with your furry companion. As cat owners, it’s crucial to recognize the signs of anger in our cats and take appropriate steps to address the situation. By paying attention to their body language and vocalizations, we can tell if our cat is upset or threatened.

Observing their ears and tail positions, as well as changes in pupil size and fur standing on end, are significant indicators of anger. Additionally, vocalizations like hissing, growling, or lashing out can suggest that your cat is not happy.

It’s important to note that each cat has its own personality and mood that can affect their behavior. Thus, it’s vital to learn about your feline friend’s individual signals over time.

Lastly, medical issues or underlying factors such as stress or anxiety can contribute to a cat’s aggressive behavior. As responsible pet owners, we must understand these underlying factors to improve our cats’ well-being and behavior.