Cats are some of the most protective pets anyone could own. It’s nice to have them around, but sometimes cats end up guarding you for no reason. Whether it’s friends or family around, they won’t let anyone get to you, and that can be concerning. So this leaves you wondering, why does my cat guard me?
Cats guard you because they want to protect their territory. Cats with separation anxiety are more likely to stay close to you and guard you. Guarding is a sign of affection from cats and expected behavior.
Guarding is a lot more common than you think. Next, we’ll describe how cats go about guarding their owners and generally what you can expect to see.
Reasons Your Cat Guards You
Cats guard people for many reasons. However, there are a few key ones you’ll probably see time and time again. Here are a few to keep in mind.
Your Cat Loves You
When a cat guards you, it can be a sign of love and affection. Much like a toy, cats can treat their owners like prized objects. The guarding is your cat’s way of showing respect for you and finding you valuable to their life.
They repay you through loyalty and protecting you at all costs. Sometimes this guarding is accompanied by light purring, head bunting, and licking.
Your Cat Wants To Close The Space
Cats are very aware of the spaces around them. If something feels off to them, they are quick to go close to that space to feel comfortable again. If you’re in the room with your cat and move, they may immediately run to guard you so that their territory is not compromised.
Similarly, if you move their litter box or anything out of place, they are aware and may feel like something is wrong. To protect you from the oddness of the layout of the room, your cat will come and guard you.
The same can be said when walking from one room to another or venturing into a hallway. Anytime a cat feels like there are kinks in the armor, they’ll get into that protective stance until their territory feels comfortable for them again.
Your Cat Is Afraid
Loud noises, big shadows, all of those unexpected twists can make a cat fearful. When a cat is afraid, they’ll sprint over to protect you and guard that space. In their mind, nothing can stop the both of you.
It’s cute to see your furry friend do that, but it’s also concerning because your cat is afraid.
It’s Part Of Your Cats Routine
Just like eating, running around, playing with toys, and jumping all over the furniture is a routine for cats, so is guarding. Some cats like to do it!
Often you’ll see this happening when you do things like
- Go to the bathroom
- return home from work
- turn on the TV
- open the door for a guest
Anytime something happens, it turns on a thought in your cat’s head. And by instinct, they’ll come and guard your space. Often, it’s a short amount of time, and it’s always in response to a cue the cat gets.
Your Cat Has Separation Anxiety
One of the biggest reasons a cat will come to guard you is due to separation anxiety. Many cats have it, especially if they are left in their own spaces for long periods, kept in a room, whichever it may be.
AS you return home from a grocery trip or work, your cat will likely run up to guard you. Even with something as simple as going to the restroom, a cat may not enjoy those few moments of a disconnect.
You’ve Encouraged The Behavior
Guarding is, in many cases, an encouraged behavior. Whenever your cat comes close to you to guard, it’s seen as a cute gesture. So naturally, you may end up feeding them a treat, petting them on the head, playing with them, among other activities.
But that’s all encouraged behavior. So, if it’s something you don’t mind, then they’ll continue to do it, expecting you to reward them with attention or food.
Can Cats Be Protective Of Their Owners
Yes, cats can be protective of their owners.
In a lot of cases, the guarding is just that. When a cat feels its owner is in danger or feels uncomfortable with the situation, they will guard you. It’s all instinctual because cats are so territorial.
This behavior is seen in both male and female cats. Really, in many cases, the protection comes when it’s against another cat rather than people or other types of pets.
Do Cats Protect You While You Sleep
Some cats do protect you while you sleep.
How many times have you awakened to find your cat standing over your chest, looking deep into your eyes? Not only are they checking to see if you’re still with them, but they’ve likely been watching you throughout the night.
Some cats will even stay by the bedroom door until you fall asleep before they retreat to their quarters for the night.
In many cases, a cat will sleep at the foot of the bed instead of right next to you. They do this because they feel more secure in that location. It offers them a safer space and allows them to be more alert if something were to happen.
Why Does My Cat Guard Me In The Bathroom
Your cat guards you when you go to the bathroom due to separation anxiety.
Usually, when we use the bathroom, we close the door to a cat. That’s a huge deal because they aren’t able to see you anymore. Because of that, it’s not uncommon to hear your cat howling and sticking its paws under the door to trying to locate you.
Now imagine turning on the shower, washing your hands, or flushing the toilet. All those loud noises immediately become disturbing to your cat, and when they’re on the other side of the door, they feel helpless and afraid.
So, what will often happen is a cat will quickly follow you into the bathroom and sit at your feet as you occupy the space. Some will even stand by the door, keeping a lookout.
Have you ever had a cat guard you while you shower? If not, it’s a matter of time! Cats aren’t the fondest of water, but they understand that you’re vulnerable in there, and they’ll keep a lookout for you while you clean.
It’s all instincts for your cat, and being near you is essential for them as they associate losing sight of you and hearing all of those noises in the bathroom that you need protection.
Signs Your Cat Is Overprotective
While guarding is a cute behavior and appreciated mainly by cat owners, sometimes it can be a bit much. Some cats take it too far, and you end up with an overprotective cat.
Below are some signs that the cat guarding you is overprotective.
- Large eyes
- Arched back
- Quick movements of the tail
- Aggressive biting and scratching towards people and pets
Having a cat guarding you is a bit of a mixed bag. In one way, it’s rewarding to know your pet wants to protect you. On the other hand, the lack of personal space can be overwhelming, especially when trying to sleep or using the bathroom.
In some cases, the guarding can get out of hand, and a friend or family member might end up with a nasty scratch or bite.
Ultimately, it’s all about finding balance with your feline friend. Consider working on your cat’s behavior and encouraging them to do different things. Also, put your cat in a position to feel comfortable too. Try to leave doorways open, don’t disappear out of view for too long, and encourage other behaviors to limit the amount of guarding they do.
My name is James, and welcome to FAQCats!
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Signs of an Overprotective Cat
Dilated eyes. Pointed ears turned out like satellite dishes. Sharp, quick tail movements. Crouched stance.
What Is 'Guarding'? Domestic cats may be clingy, following you everywhere; this is a protect behavior. Do you have the feeling you're being watched? Guarding is a normal protective behavior that is often a display of affection, accompanied by purring, kneading, head butting, and licking.Do cats look to their owners for protection? ›
"The majority of cats are looking to their owners to be a source of safety and security," Vitale said. "It's important for owners to think about that.How can you tell if a cat has imprinted on you? ›
- Communicating with you — meows, purrs, and all the other happy noises a cat makes.
- Kneading you (a.k.a. ...
- Choosing to be close to you — following you around, cuddling and sleeping with you, being on your lap whenever they get the chance.
- Greeting you when you come home.
It's normal for a cat to be a little possessive of their favorite person, but sometimes possessive behavior becomes extreme and causes issues in a household. Possible triggers for excessive possessive behavior include living with multiple cats, guests visiting the home, and new human family members.Can cats warn you of danger? ›
While the website Science ABC reported that there is no scientific evidence to indicate that animals can predict disasters, the fact they see, sense, smell, and hear things that humans don't means your pet might be aware of what's happening before you are.Does my cat sleep with me to protect me? ›
Sleeping with you provides them with security and an extra defense if a predator should launch a nighttime attack. They sleep with you because they trust you, they know you're not a danger and you can also provide an extra layer of defense if needed.What does it mean when your cat grabs you and bites you? ›
The most common reason that cats bite their owners isn't that they have an aggressive cat, it's because they are trying to play! While sharp teeth or claws may not feel very “playful” to you, hunting behavior equals play behavior for your kitty. This means stalking, pouncing, biting, and kicking.Why does my cat guard me when I go to the bathroom? ›
Why does my cat guard me in the bathroom? Cats are very protective of their owners' territory. Cats with separation-related problems tend to seek their owners' undivided attention and likewise guard them within the bathroom.How do cats choose their human? ›
According to a study done by the nutrition company, Canadae, they discovered that the person who makes the most effort is the favorite. People who communicate with their cat by getting to know their cues and motives are more attractive to their cat companions.
According to a new study, cats experience the greatest fondness for female owners. Cats attach to your veterinary clients—your female clients in particular—as social partners and it's not just because they want to be fed, according to research in the journal Behavioral Processes.Do cats think they are superior to humans? ›
Providing your kitty with healthy cat food and fresh water is an essential part of being a pet parent, but you'd better do it on her schedule. Your cat thinks she's the boss (or rather, she knows she's the boss) of what you do and when you do it. (Not all cats have this mindset, of course.)How do cats show dominance to humans? ›
They include: Dilated pupils, direct staring. Thrashing/twitching tail. Hissing, growling or spitting.How do you tell who a cat's favorite person is? ›
- They treat you like you're a cat. ...
- They rub against you. ...
- They follow you into a room. ...
- They come into your bedroom while you're sleeping. ...
- They blink their eyes slowly. ...
- They knead their paws like a kitten. ...
- They make the right kind of meow. ...
- They show their belly—in some cases.
Here's the important part, though: Cats think you're just a a slightly big, dumb non-hostile cat. Quite specifically, he says that they treat humans as if they were their Mama Cat.How do cats show jealousy? ›
Signs of Jealousy in Cats
Typical "jealous" behaviors include hissing, growling, and swatting at the object that the cat is jealous of, such as your cell phone while you are holding it. Jealous cats may also intrude on your personal space while you are holding a new baby or video game controller.
Cats are very territorial, much more so than dogs. Territorial aggression occurs when a cat feels that his territory has been invaded by an intruder. Depending on where your cat spends his time, he may view your whole neighborhood as his territory. Female cats can be just as territorial as males.How can you tell if a cat is jealous? ›
- Physically coming between you and the object they are jealous of.
- Hissing and growling.
- Swatting at an object.
- Urinating/marking territory.
A cat's sixth sense is also believed to give them ability to pick up on when their owner is sad, sick or distressed, leading the cat to behave strangely. In many cases, owners have reported their feline friends displaying abnormal behaviors with the supposed intent of providing them comfort, warmth and joy.What is the strongest sense in a cat? ›
Smell. A cat's sense of smell is the primary way he identifies people and objects. Cats have more than 200 million odor sensors in their noses; humans have just 5 million. Their sense of smell is 14 times better than that of humans.
Pacing and Pouncing —One of the most obvious ways your cat tells you there is an intruder is when they are trying to hunt them down.Do cats think of humans as parents? ›
Cats don't just think of their owners as food machines. They actually see us as parents. A 2019 study revealed that cats have the same attachment to their owners that babies show to their parents. Kittens in the study acted distressed when their caregivers left and happy and secure when they returned.Do cats miss their humans? ›
Yes, they do. The cats miss the owners whenever they are away or have been detached from the owner. They notice the absence of all the showered love their owners have left for them.What Do cats think about when they sleep on you? ›
They want to feel secure
Cats are vulnerable when sleeping, so this behavior suggests that they trust you and feel secure when you're there. This behavior can also be traced back to kittenhood when litters would pillow on each other and on their mothers as they sleep.
It is a very important and sensitive part of their body. However, if your cat lets you touch its paws, it means that they love and trust you. This small action truly demonstrates that you have created a great bond with your cat as they trust you enough to let you touch one of the most sensitive areas of their body.Why does my cat hold my arm and bite it? ›
Cats bite because they are fearful, stressed, or frustrated. They do not act out of spite or anger. There is always a good reason (in their mind) behind the behavior.How do you punish a cat for attacking me? ›
Species appropriate punishment such as “hissing” or the use of punishment devices such as a water sprayer, can of compressed air, or hand held alarm are better than using any physical techniques since they are less likely to lead to fear and retaliation.Do cats protect you while you poop? ›
This is very normal in cats. The reason they might want to sit next to your feet, or just be near you while you're going to the bathroom, is an instinctive thing that cats all do. They usually do this to protect you, since going to the bathroom is a very vulnerable action.Why cats shouldn follow you to the bathroom? ›
To your cat, the bathroom smells like you. The wet towels smell like you, the robe smells like you, and yes, the toilet has your scent as well. Scent means different things to animals than it does to humans.Why does my cat follow me everywhere but won't cuddle? ›
Some reasons a cat may not enjoy physical contact include individual personality variations, a lack of adequate socialization during kittenhood, a history of being feral, or a previous negative experience associated with human physical touch.
While there still might be an emotional element we're not aware of, most researchers suggest that a cat's favorite color is blue. This is because blue is the color that cats see most clearly. They can also see yellowy-green colors well, so those shades might also be in the running for your cat's favorite.Can cats sense your energy? ›
Like humans, cats, dogs and other animals have the ability to sense energy shifts in people. Speaking or acting out in fear, anger or stress are obvious sources of negative energy, but our pets may even pick up on silent fretting.Are girl or boy cats more affectionate? ›
Male cats tend to be more social and affectionate with both humans and other cats. They commonly form strong bonds with other cats in the home, even when they are not from the same litter. Females, on the other hand, are often more standoffish. If you are looking for a cuddle bug, adopting a male may be your best bet.Why do cats like old ladies? ›
Cats appear to have better relationships with older women, according to a new article by a university expert in animal behavior. Cats prefer adults to children because they usually call to a cat before interacting, allowing the cat to decide whether to respond or not, Kiddie writes on the website The Conversation.Why do cats walk on you? ›
Basically, your feline friend sees you as one big cushion she can relax on. As Chewy puts it, "your lap is a cat bed." Much as she does with a pile of blankets, a pillow or the couch, your kitty needs to make sure she chooses the perfect napping spot, and walking all over you fulfills this goal.Do cats have healing powers? ›
The same frequency has been shown to aid in the healing of broken bones, joint and tendon repair, and wound healing. Cats are well-known for their ability to heal quickly from their own broken bones, and the incidences of joint problems and bone cancer in cats are low.Do cats realize how big we are? ›
They obviously know we're bigger than them, but they don't seem to have adapted their social behavior much. Putting their tails up in the air, rubbing around our legs, and sitting beside us and grooming us are exactly what cats do to each other. (Also see "How Cats and People Grew to Love Each Other.")Do cats understand no? ›
Do cats understand when you say no? Cats don't understand language, so they will not respond if you just say words to them, including "no." However, they can be taught to understand that saying "no" means you want them to stop what they are doing.Do cats see you as Alpha? ›
In short, the answer is no. Cats don't view humans as alpha, but they still love their owners and can even have a favorite person in the household.How do I show my cat I am Alpha? ›
When dominating a cat, don't be rude to the cat. Don't mock the cat while doing it. Just be firm and loving as a cat-mom, and you will get across the message that the cat's not rejected. Time, patience, honesty, confidence and consistency are the best ways to establish enough trust that you can dominate a cat.
Although a cat may not care (as that word is generally used) about human morals, cats can and do distinguish between good and bad people, and are excellent judges of human character and emotion.What's the IQ of a cat? ›
The domestic cat is attributed a value of between 1–1.71; relative to human value, that is 7.44–7.8. The largest brains in the family Felidae are those of the tigers in Java and Bali. It is debated whether there exists a causal relationship between brain size and intelligence in vertebrates.What language do cats think in? ›
Cats lack the cognitive skills to interpret human language, but they recognize when you talk to them. To put it another way, cats comprehend human language in the same way that we understand meowing. It's similar to how you interpret your cat's language by "reading" how they arch their back or swish their tail.What do humans look like to cats? ›
A cat's vision is similar to a human who is color blind. They can see shades of blue and green, but reds and pinks can be confusing. These may appear more green, while purple can look like another shade of blue. Cats also don't see the same richness of hues and saturation of colors that we can.
Cats' territorial aggression is usually directly toward other cats, but it can be directed toward dogs and people, too. A cat can show territorial aggression toward some family members and not others and toward some cats but not others. Cats mark their turf by patrolling, chin rubbing and urine spraying.How do cats show they are territorial? ›
Signs of Territorial Behavior in Cats
Territorial behavior can range from largely benign (rubbing their chin on household objects to scent marking) to destructive (clawing furniture) to obnoxious (spraying urine on walls or relieving themselves outside the litter box) to dangerous (clawing, fighting, and biting).
They aren't necessarily standing guard over you while you sleep, but if your cat tends to sleep with you, you can rest assured you are a trusted companion and they feel safe with you. The way your cat sees it, sticking together during sleep is a means of protection and extra security for both you and them.How does a cat show dominance over humans? ›
They include: Dilated pupils, direct staring. Thrashing/twitching tail. Hissing, growling or spitting.How do you know which cat is dominant? ›
Dominant cats may attempt to establish their dominance in a multiple cat household by hissing, hitting, and growling. They may also urinate outside of the litter box in areas that the other cats frequent, push other cats out of the food bowl until they are done eating, and make the other cats feel threatened.How do cats mark their humans? ›
Marking by rubbing
Felines have scent glands on their cheeks, paws and flanks and when they rub against something—a door, a chair, you—they put their own personal scent on that object. This leaves the message for other cats that they've been there and laid claim.
Cats demonstrating fear aggression may flatten their ears against their heads, hiss, bare their teeth, or crouch low to the ground with their tail tucked under their body, and their fur may stand on end. The best way to deal with fear aggression is to identify and avoid situations that produce a fearful response.How do I stop my cat from resource guarding? ›
Steps to Take to Reduce Resource Guarding
Only purchase open-air litter boxes. This way the cats cannot be trapped by other cats inside. In that same vein, cats cannot be prevented from using it. Also make sure you provide multiple litter boxes for multiple cats.
The Siamese cat is known to be the most aggressive of all cat breeds, likely due to the breed's tendency to get very jealous of other pets. Siamese cats are needy and clingy, becoming very attached to their favorite human. And they don't want to share!Why do cats watch you when you pee? ›
“Their litter box might be in there, so it could be a room that smells very familiar. Cats also probably know that when we are on the toilet, we are a captive audience — nowadays we are so busy and distracted that many cats are probably looking for an opportunity to have our undivided attention!”Why do cats need to be touching me when they sleep? ›
Sleeping with you provides them with security and an extra defense if a predator should launch a nighttime attack. They sleep with you because they trust you, they know you're not a danger and you can also provide an extra layer of defense if needed.