Why Does Your Cat Face Away From You? It’s Not What You Think!

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If there’s one aspect of cat behavior that’s totally misunderstood, it’s when your cat turns their back to you. Humans mistake it as a sign of aloofness. Some people even think it means their cat is mad at them! (In fact, there’s a term for it: “back of disrespect.”) But nothing could be further from the truth. And if you have any basic understanding of cats, you’ll get it as soon as I explain it to you.

A cat will face away from you because they love and trust you!

As both predator and prey, and a creature that is very territorial, cats always want to know what’s going on around them. And as a creature who is much, much larger than your cat, you could be a potential threat to their safety. Your cat wants nothing more than to feel safe in their home, and to know that the big creatures living with them are benevolent and good. When your cat sits a few feet away and turns their back to you, it’s a sign that they do feel safe, and they trust you. You wouldn’t turn your back on an enemy, would you? Neither would your cat.

When your cat turns their back to you, they consider you a family member, and a protector. Someone who will look out for them. And they’re content.

If you’ve done something to upset your cat, they won’t turn their back on you. Instead, they might stay on the far side of the room, watching your every move. That’s because they’ve lost trust in you, at least temporarily, and want to make sure you aren’t going to bother them or do something scary.

But what if your cat really does seem annoyed, facing away from you with ears a bit flattened, and twitching the tip of their tail? Okay, they may be a little annoyed with you over something, but they still trust you enough to not feel the need to face you. As long as you leave them alone for a while and don’t repeat the behavior that led them to be annoyed, they’ll relax and everything will be back to normal shortly.

The same goes for when you are in bed and your cat lies on top of you. If they are facing away from you, they are comfy and content, and they are showing it. So if your cat isn’t facing you and snuggling, don’t feel bad. They do love you, and the fact that they are making themselves comfortable on you shows it.

Somali cat turning around to face the camera

Incidentally, when I’m spending time with a bedridden patient as a therapy cat, I often face away from them! My human knows that the patient would rather see my face, so she usually turns me around. And she always explains that if I’m facing away, it means I trust them not to harm me. But really, I like the facing away position the best. Just don’t tell my patients!

Does your cat like to spend time with you, only with their back turned? Let’s discuss it in the comments!

Here are some of my other pro modeling sessions:

Why Does Your Cat Face Away From You? It’s Not What You Think!

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