Cats are some of the most protective pets anyone could own. It’s nice to have them around, but sometimes cats end up guarding you for no reason. Whether it’s friends or family around, they won’t let anyone get to you, and that can be concerning. So this leaves you wondering, why does my cat guard me?
Cats guard you because they want to protect their territory. Cats with separation anxiety are more likely to stay close to you and guard you. Guarding is a sign of affection from cats and expected behavior.
Guarding is a lot more common than you think. Next, we’ll describe how cats go about guarding their owners and generally what you can expect to see.
Reasons Your Cat Guards You
Cats guard people for many reasons. However, there are a few key ones you’ll probably see time and time again. Here are a few to keep in mind.
Your Cat Loves You
When a cat guards you, it can be a sign of love and affection. Much like a toy, cats can treat their owners like prized objects. The guarding is your cat’s way of showing respect for you and finding you valuable to their life.
They repay you through loyalty and protecting you at all costs. Sometimes this guarding is accompanied by light purring, head bunting, and licking.
Your Cat Wants To Close The Space
Cats are very aware of the spaces around them. If something feels off to them, they are quick to go close to that space to feel comfortable again. If you’re in the room with your cat and move, they may immediately run to guard you so that their territory is not compromised.
Similarly, if you move their litter box or anything out of place, they are aware and may feel like something is wrong. To protect you from the oddness of the layout of the room, your cat will come and guard you.
The same can be said when walking from one room to another or venturing into a hallway. Anytime a cat feels like there are kinks in the armor, they’ll get into that protective stance until their territory feels comfortable for them again.
Your Cat Is Afraid
Loud noises, big shadows, all of those unexpected twists can make a cat fearful. When a cat is afraid, they’ll sprint over to protect you and guard that space. In their mind, nothing can stop the both of you.
It’s cute to see your furry friend do that, but it’s also concerning because your cat is afraid.
It’s Part Of Your Cats Routine
Just like eating, running around, playing with toys, and jumping all over the furniture is a routine for cats, so is guarding. Some cats like to do it!
Often you’ll see this happening when you do things like
- Go to the bathroom
- return home from work
- turn on the TV
- open the door for a guest
Anytime something happens, it turns on a thought in your cat’s head. And by instinct, they’ll come and guard your space. Often, it’s a short amount of time, and it’s always in response to a cue the cat gets.
Your Cat Has Separation Anxiety
One of the biggest reasons a cat will come to guard you is due to separation anxiety. Many cats have it, especially if they are left in their own spaces for long periods, kept in a room, whichever it may be.
AS you return home from a grocery trip or work, your cat will likely run up to guard you. Even with something as simple as going to the restroom, a cat may not enjoy those few moments of a disconnect.
You’ve Encouraged The Behavior
Guarding is, in many cases, an encouraged behavior. Whenever your cat comes close to you to guard, it’s seen as a cute gesture. So naturally, you may end up feeding them a treat, petting them on the head, playing with them, among other activities.
But that’s all encouraged behavior. So, if it’s something you don’t mind, then they’ll continue to do it, expecting you to reward them with attention or food.
Can Cats Be Protective Of Their Owners
Yes, cats can be protective of their owners.
In a lot of cases, the guarding is just that. When a cat feels its owner is in danger or feels uncomfortable with the situation, they will guard you. It’s all instinctual because cats are so territorial.
This behavior is seen in both male and female cats. Really, in many cases, the protection comes when it’s against another cat rather than people or other types of pets.
Do Cats Protect You While You Sleep
Some cats do protect you while you sleep.
How many times have you awakened to find your cat standing over your chest, looking deep into your eyes? Not only are they checking to see if you’re still with them, but they’ve likely been watching you throughout the night.
Some cats will even stay by the bedroom door until you fall asleep before they retreat to their quarters for the night.
In many cases, a cat will sleep at the foot of the bed instead of right next to you. They do this because they feel more secure in that location. It offers them a safer space and allows them to be more alert if something were to happen.
Why Does My Cat Guard Me In The Bathroom
Your cat guards you when you go to the bathroom due to separation anxiety.
Usually, when we use the bathroom, we close the door to a cat. That’s a huge deal because they aren’t able to see you anymore. Because of that, it’s not uncommon to hear your cat howling and sticking its paws under the door to trying to locate you.
Now imagine turning on the shower, washing your hands, or flushing the toilet. All those loud noises immediately become disturbing to your cat, and when they’re on the other side of the door, they feel helpless and afraid.
So, what will often happen is a cat will quickly follow you into the bathroom and sit at your feet as you occupy the space. Some will even stand by the door, keeping a lookout.
Have you ever had a cat guard you while you shower? If not, it’s a matter of time! Cats aren’t the fondest of water, but they understand that you’re vulnerable in there, and they’ll keep a lookout for you while you clean.
It’s all instincts for your cat, and being near you is essential for them as they associate losing sight of you and hearing all of those noises in the bathroom that you need protection.
Signs Your Cat Is Overprotective
While guarding is a cute behavior and appreciated mainly by cat owners, sometimes it can be a bit much. Some cats take it too far, and you end up with an overprotective cat.
Below are some signs that the cat guarding you is overprotective.
- Large eyes
- Arched back
- Quick movements of the tail
- Aggressive biting and scratching towards people and pets
Having a cat guarding you is a bit of a mixed bag. In one way, it’s rewarding to know your pet wants to protect you. On the other hand, the lack of personal space can be overwhelming, especially when trying to sleep or using the bathroom.
In some cases, the guarding can get out of hand, and a friend or family member might end up with a nasty scratch or bite.
Ultimately, it’s all about finding balance with your feline friend. Consider working on your cat’s behavior and encouraging them to do different things. Also, put your cat in a position to feel comfortable too. Try to leave doorways open, don’t disappear out of view for too long, and encourage other behaviors to limit the amount of guarding they do.