If your cat backs away when you pet it, this post will show you likely causes and what you can do about them.

So, why does my cat back away when I pet it? Likely reasons why your cat backs away when you pet it are that it wants you to stop petting it, it does not like how you are petting it or that it does not want to be bothered.

There are a number of possible reasons why your cat backs away when you pet it and it could be due to a combination of reasons. However, there are some things you can consider to help figure out the main cause and there are some things you can do about it.

Reasons why your cat backs away when you pet it

Below are likely reasons why your cat has been doing it and what would make them more likely.

It wants you to stop petting it

The cause is likely to be that it wants to be pet for a while but it quickly decides that it no longer wants to be pet. This would be more likely if your cat initially shows signs of wanting you to pet it such as by purring, kneading and rubbing itself against you but it quickly changes its body language and backs away.

It wants something from you

It could also be the case that it is trying to tell you that it wants something. This would be more likely if your cat tends to come to you and back away at a certain time such as before you have fed it in the morning.

Intimidation

The cause could also be that it is intimidated. This would be more likely if it backs away when you approach it in a bold manner and when you pet it firmly.

It does not want to be bothered

Another possible cause is that it does not want to be bothered. This would be more likely if your cat backs away when you try to pet it when it was sitting or sleeping by itself.

It doesn’t like the way you pet it

One possibility is that your cat doesn’t like the way you pet her. Some cats like to be stroked from head to tail, for example, while others prefer to be petted on the chin. This would be more likely if your cat shows signs of getting agitated such as flicking its tail and pushing you away from it.

Things to consider

Below are some things to consider to help figure out the main cause.

If your cat always walked away

If your cat did not always back away when you pet it, it would help to consider what else happened when it first started doing it. If it started doing it suddenly, it might be due to things such as you petting it differently or a change in the way you interact with it.

What is different when your cat backs away

It would also help to consider what is different when your cat backs away. If your cat backs away when you pet it in a certain manner, the issue could be with the way you are petting it.

What to do about your cat backing away

Below are some options you have when dealing with the behavior.

Pet it differently

It could help to be calm with it and to pet it more gently and in a different manner. Generally, cats don’t like a full backrub and prefer to pet rubbed below the chin.

Leave it alone

It could be the case that your cat has been backing away because you have been giving it too much attention. It would help to observe your cat’s body language and to stop giving it as much attention when it starts showing signs of being agitated such as by flicking its tail.

Observe its body language

It would also help to respond to your cat’s body language. If it starts doing things such as flicking its tail and stop purring, it would be likely that your cat has decided that it does not want you to pet it anymore.

Author

I created and currently run Kitty Cat Tips, the website that you can go to when you have questions about your cat's behavior. It's my hope that you find Kitty Cat Tips to be a helpful resource. It is also my hope that it will help you to improve your relationship with your cat. You can read more about me and my website here.