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How Do Cats Apologize?

Updated: August 9, 2022 by Kristen Chapple

It’s said that cats are indifferent and uncaring animals, but the fact is that sometimes, they seem to be the most well-mannered animals in the world. At least with their most beloved person. Contrary to what many would believe, cats can say sorry. But how? How do cats apologize? What are the telltale signs you need to look for?

You only need to stay around your cat more and watch her actions and ‘manners’, especially after knocking down that pot by the window. But before learning about how do cats apologize, let’s understand the matter of guilt.

Do Cats Feel Guilt

Guilt is a complex human emotion that animals don’t have the capability to understand or replicate, because they are wired differently. They do have feelings, but they’re mainly just very basic ones.

Cats might look guilty from time to time, but that doesn’t mean they feel guilty. That look on their face when the pot they kicked just smashed on the floor doesn’t show guilt. It shows the fear of being reprimanded for what they did. And that behavior is a learned one.

Since that’s not the only time when they knock down something, if you do reprimand or punish them almost each time, they will learn to associate that behavior with the punishment, so the next time it happens, they’ll have that look on their face. Not that they understand it was something bad or why you’re upset. They just know what’s coming, fear it and want to get away or to escape it.

How Do Cats Apologize

Now, cats can be jerks. But when they develop a relationship with another fellow cat or their owner, they will try to fix things when they know they’ve upset their friend. And friends do apologize to one another when they screw up, don’t they?

Such is the case with cats. At least when they know they’ve upset us. And since they see us as just some other fellow cat – only bigger and clumsier – they will apologize exactly the way they apologize to any other cat. By rubbing on us, raising their tails and grooming us.

Sure, since we don’t understand them, they most often assume we’re a very tall, retarded and weird-looking cat, bald and bearded in some cases, with huge clumsy paws who doesn’t deserve their respect, so they might not feel the need to apologize to us.

But if you and your furry little friend have become friends, you can expect your cat to come to you and show you she’s sorry right before you want to reprimand her. She may not know why you’re upset and what’s the big deal with that smashed pot on the floor, but she knows you’ll be mad and she comes rubbing on your legs to ease off her sentence.

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