9 Signs Your Cat Is Protecting You (and Itself!)

Many believe cats are aloof and don’t care about anything, which isn’t necessarily true, as they still watch over their owners in their own unique way.

Below, we present you with nine signs your cat is protecting you, so if you see them in your furry friend, you better take out the tasty treat bag!

Signs Your Cat Is Protecting You

Have you noticed that your cat has been acting differently in stressful circumstances? If so, it might be because it’s trying to protect you. After all, cats securely bond to their owners just like dogs do, as reported by a 2019 study published in the Current Biology journal.

In such cases, be on the lookout for these nine signs:

  • Dilated pupils
  • Hissing
  • Growling
  • Flattened ears
  • Exposed claws and teeth
  • Arched back
  • Tail lashing
  • Clinginess
  • Sleeping next to you
  • Following you around

1. Dilated pupils

When a cat has dilated eyes, its nervous system is on high alert, and the kitty is trying to take in as much information as possible. They’re cautious and ready to attack if necessary.

2. Hissing

If your feline is hissing at someone or something, it most likely perceives a potential threat and is attempting to protect itself or you. You should feel flattered if that ever happens!

3. Growling

Like hissing, growling is another way cats show they’re feeling threatened. If that ever happens, take it away from the perceived danger to defuse the situation.

4. Flattened ears

When a kitty feels alert, attentive, and ready to pounce, it also shows it through the ears—first, its ears will be turned out and swiveling to locate the danger before flattening them fully against the head in order to protect them in a potential fight.

5. Exposed claws and teeth

You have chosen violence! At this point, your feline menace is in attack mode and will mostly use its claws to keep its “enemy” at bay. But, if you see it barring its tiny teeth and pulling back its whiskers, you better give it some space as it will probably “go in for the kill”.

As for the reasons why your kitty may go from cuddly to bitey in the blink of an eye, it may be anything from showing affection to playing and venting stress.

6. Arched back

Unlike the aggressive cat body language described above, the arched back, aka ‘Halloween Cat”, is a purely defensive stance you must have seen in cat-dog interactions when they slowly walk sideways around the “danger” to appear larger and threatening.

7. Tail lashing

As their most expressive body part, cats utilize their tails to signify a range of moods and intentions. Still, the most common meaning of fast tail swatting is that the kitty is agitated or irritated. If it also takes a crouching position, it will soon lash out.

8. Clinginess

If your kitty transforms into a “velcro cat” overnight—follows you everywhere you go and jumps on your legs and tummy—it might mean it senses something is amiss and wants to comfort you since it is adept at reading emotions and detecting things we cannot.

Cats that are particularly worried or need some love may even urinate on your clothes!

9. Sleeping next to you

If your cat likes to sleep next to you, it simply wants to protect its owner and itself. They feel safer when they’re near you at night and assume you might need company too. So if they curl up next to your feet to share your warmth, let them; you’ll both be better for it!

How to Handle a Cat That Is Too Protective?

If you have an overprotective cat prone to aggressive outbursts, you can do a few things to calm it down and help it feel at ease around you and other people and animals.

First, provide it with a safe spot to retreat to when it feels scared or threatened, such as a nook under your staircase, a hidden cat cot, or some space behind the sofa.

Also, ensure that it has plenty of toys and playthings to keep it occupied and distracted from whatever brings about its fear and anxiousness.

The experts over at Hill’s also recommend never to punish or reward your cat for its aggressive episodes as you will condone further similar outbursts in either case.

Ultimately, if your cat is feeling stressed and agitated more often than usual, you can try giving it CBD oil for felines to keep them calm, happy, and healthy!

Key Takeaways

Contrary to popular belief, cats are some of the most loyal pets you can have, but they show their affection in small and subtle ways. Just keep an eye on the obvious signs your cat is protecting you so you keep it away from frightening situations. In any case, do remember that your cute little fluff ball is still a distant cousin of the ferocious wildcat!


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