How Long Does A Cat Hold A Grudge

Cats are famous online because their looks are great for memes. Their actions and facial expressions will get your attention. There are internet celebrity cats like the beluga cat and the grumpy cat. Grumpy cat is popular for its grumpy facial expression. While it may seem funny, how do we know if a cat is grumpy and annoyed at us? If a cat is already annoyed, how long does a cat hold a grudge? 

Can Felines Hold A Grudge?

Cats are playful and active- that is why there might be instances when we accidentally step on their tail or paws. If you’ve come across this situation, did you make it up by petting and providing treats?

Can cats hold a grudge? The answer is YES, but it’s not exactly what like grudge in cats as it is in humans. Holding a grudge means having hatred or resentment towards someone. This is not the case with cats. What might be construed as holding a grudge in cats is when they make negative associations from something they experienced. Therefore, when they seem to hold a grudge, they are only acting that way to protect themselves. They’re doing this to avoid getting exposed to that negative experience again.

How Long Does A Cat Hold A Grudge

A cat’s age plays a big role in how long they hold a grudge. Kittens have shorter memory which means they don’t hold a grudge for a long time. On the other hand, adult cats have a longer memory span.

So, how long does a cat hold a grudge? A cat may recollect memories in as long as 16 hours. Therefore, they can associate something with a negative experience for as long as 16 hours. There will also be events that may seem more memorable for them, like events that threaten or scare them. But most of the time, it only takes a few hours before they move on and forget. 

angry orange cat

We also have to take note that at times, it could take them days before they can get back to their old self when something traumatic happens to them. For instance, this may happen when you step on their paw or tail.

To prevent your cat from “holding a grudge” or associating negative things with you, you need to know their body language. By doing so, you will be able to identify if your cat is irritated or not. You can also create a bonding experience when you learn how to tickle your cat.

Signs Your Cat Holds A Grudge At You

If you’re unsure if your cat is holding a grudge, remember the following signs when a cat is holding a grudge at you.

When They’re Showing Their Angry Look

You might have heard of the grumpy cat. That facial expression is the look of an annoyed cat.

angry look gray cat

Your Cat Is Avoiding You

Just like humans, cats tend to avoid people when they are angry.   Your cat may hide or leave whenever you approach it. Or it may ignore you when you call out your cat’s name.

When There’s A Change In Their Appetite

Is your cat showing less appetite for food or not eating at all? This is a possible sign that your cat is angry.

Other signs that your cat is upset are when it avoids eye contact, holds its ears back, and when your cat growls when you approach it.

Reasons To Upset A Cat

Is your cat aloof, and you have no idea why? If you’re noticing the abovementioned signs that your cat is holding a grudge, here are the possible reasons why your cat is upset.

Accidentally Struck Your Cat

Your cat may get upset if you hit it. But if the act is not repeated, your cat can easily forgive and forget it. As much as possible, do your best to avoid hitting your cat because the more often you do it, it might associate the hitting with a repetitive abusive act. 

Excessive Petting

Cats love cuddles, but too much attention and petting will only overwhelm them. It can make them upset. Note that cats also need their own time for themselves. Let them spend time on their own, but also give them enough time for petting. 

Lifting Your Cat

Cats are adorable that you couldn’t help but carry them up in a heartbeat. If you think this is fun for them, you’re wrong about it. Lifting them makes them feel restricted or afraid. Your cat may let you lift them; however, if they continue to associate it with a negative experience, they may start holding a grudge against you.

If you want to spend quality time with your cat without scaring them, learn how to properly pick up and hold your cat.

How To Apologize To Your Cat

Now that you know the signs and reasons why your cat is holding a grudge, it’s time to know how to make amends with your pet.

You can start by gathering your cat’s favorite things with you. Wait patiently if your cat will come to you. Remember to give your cat some space.

Next, feed your cat its favorite food. Again, do this without forcing your affection on your cat. 

After some time, if your cat is not exposed to a negative experience, you may start petting it again. Talk to your cat in a pleasant tone.


Nobody is perfect- there will come a time when you might unintentionally hurt your cat. It’s important to know that cats do not necessarily hold a grudge. They act this way to protect themselves.

If you offer sincere apologies to your cat and it has accepted your apologies, it won’t hold a grudge against you. Just learn your cat’s physical cues and prevent the things that might upset your cat.

At The Lovable Cat, we believe that every cat deserves to be loved and cared about.

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