When my cat is napping and I go to pet her, she is fine with it. But if she is sleeping because she is tired and I wake up her, she makes noises to make me understand that she doesn't like what is going on.

From this we can assume that she understands that when you are uncomfortable you can express it and the other being will stop.

But when she wakes me up and I make her know that I don't like it, she doesn't care.

She doesn't care, doesn't understand or she is evil?

  • 4
    A very similar question was answered on Philosophy.SE: Why is a lion not evil?. You assume your cat understands when you want to be left alone. Without having an objective proof of that assumption, you could also assume that she is unaware of your discomfort or that she doesn't care or that she's unable to comprehend the consequences of her actions or or or... None of those assumptions would change her behavior in any way. AFAIK scientist have not found objective proof of moral thinking in animals yet.
    – Elmy
    Nov 18, 2020 at 14:08

1 Answer 1


Morality is only meaningful for the species which can understand their actions and their consequences.

For example, rape is a very serious crime for humans but it is not used for animals. Rather, forced copulation is the preferred term to explain such behaviours in the animal kingdom. (There is an ongoing debate whether dolphins are raping or force copulating, but that is another issue.)

Cats give importance to their own personal space. It doesn't mean that they reciprocate your need of personal space. Some of them are known to be selfish and love to dictate the relationship with their human companions.

Another issue is that since you have the mental capacity to understand actions of a member of another species, you know that the cat wants to be left alone. It might not be the case for the cat. He might not understand that you dislike his behaviour.

It is also totally possible that he understands it, but doesn't care at all. After all, unlike dogs, they don't need to obsessively satisfy the alpha.

If you really want him to know you are annoyed by his behaviour, here are some tips. Don't forget that you have to do these things as soon as he wakes you up, otherwise he won't make the association.

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