When You’re Not Your Cat’s Favorite Person

Does your cat cuddle up to family members but hiss at you? Hear how to win your cat over.

My cat is 3 years old and she likes my mom and brother. She’ll let them pet her, but my other brother and I can’t. My cat bites and hisses at us. Why is that? Mariah Nicole Brady

I’m sorry your cat is being a pill. Sometimes cats, like people, have favorites. But I don’t think you should give up on having a relationship with your cat just yet.

Observe how your mother and lucky brother interact with her. See how they pet your cat and where. Maybe they let her approach them instead of the other way around. Maybe they’re quieter in general with their footsteps and in the voice they use to talk to her. Try mirroring their behavior when you engage with your cat.

Also, simply try hanging out with your cat in the same room without any expectations that she’ll be nice to you. I work as a pet sitter and sometimes meet cats that don’t take to me right away. I’ll sit somewhere close, but not too close, and read aloud, occasionally looking at them and talking to them. I might say, for example, “Have you read Ulysses yet, Sparky? I’m enjoying it, but it’s so complicated.” Then I’ll toss a treat in their general direction (bonito flakes seem particularly tasty).

I also use my phone to my advantage. My cat seems to enjoy hearing classical music and we’ve even used an app called Pet Acoustics that plays new-age type music to sooth anxious pets. Finally, give it time. Your cat at age 3 might not be your biggest fan, but she could change her mind at 4. Good luck. 

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