How Do Cats Say Sorry?

Now, anyone who has been on the wrong end of a Temperamental Tortie will tell you: Cats have no remorse! But do our furry friends really not care about our feelings at all? The answer to that may surprise you. 

Guilt is a complex human emotion, which we cannot translate to animals. So, while your feline companion may not be apologizing for feeling guilty, they will use physical, visual and vocal signals to say sorry. This may include slow eye blinks or head bunting.

How Do Cats Apologize?

They will call to be petted, then swipe for no apparent reason when it seems they’ve had enough. They’ll knock that glass right off the table without a thought – and who really cared for that expensive vase on the mantle anyway? 

But when the dust has settled and everything is calm, how does your furry companion tell you they didn’t mean to? Well, there are three main ways a cat can apologize:

  • Visually 
  • Vocally 
  • Physically

Your cat may not understand the feeling of guilt that should come with their actions, but that doesn’t mean that they won’t apologize for you feeling bad about it.


One of the first things you will notice when your cat comes to apologize is – that you can see your cat! It may seem silly, but the first step to offering an apology is to come and find you. If they are happy to see you, they will have a tail held high or perhaps they will approach their apology cautiously with their tail hovering behind. 

‘Cat kisses’ or slow eye blinks, are also another common way your cat may use in the first stages of their apology. To a cat, the act of closing your eyes slowly is a sign of love, trust and affection and reciprocating this motion will allow you to tell your cat you accept their apology, or at least open to the next stages!


Studies have shown that cats only make noise to communicate to humans, so taking this into consideration; those soft purrs, meows and cute little trills you’ve been hearing across the room since Fluffy was caught stealing some chicken from the counter could quite literally be your cat ‘saying’ that they are sorry.

Some cat owners are even able to discern between the types of mewls and meows their furry companion makes and know whether they are saying sorry – or just have an empty bowl again.


Probably the most obvious of ways a cat may apologize is with physical touch. They may lie all over your lap, rubbing the scent glands in their cheeks against you and making biscuits on your stomach. Head bunting, or ‘head butts’ are another way your perfect pet may be trying to tell you they are sorry.

If you’re extra lucky, you may even have your furry friend give you a nice tongue bath as a way to say sorry. But before you get upset with the rough feeling of their tongue, just remember – to a cat, grooming is one of the highest of honors.

Final Thoughts

Unlike their canine counterpart, most cats are a little harder to discern their behaviors if you are not familiar with the small social and affectionate signals they give out. This had led to the common misconception that, unlike dogs, cats are not as loyal or loving towards their owner and therefore do not care whether their actions cause distress or upset to their loving caregivers. This however, is simply not true and once you become more familiar with the signs of affection, you will start to see that they do in fact, care a whole lot about how you feel and have their own little ways of issuing an apology.

So while your feline friend may not understand that their actions are the reason that you are upset, they are very sorry that you feel that way and will do their best to give you comfort – even if sometimes that comfort can mean a stray claw or two catching your cheek as they reach out their little paw to you – they really do care about your feelings and want to do what they can to rectify what is making you feel bad. 

And what better way than to shower you with their attention? Who wouldn’t want that?!