What happens when the cats are in front of the mirror?

If your cat walks past a mirror, he is likely to react to this situation. Some cats suddenly become aggressive, while others seem afraid of what they see. It’s a weird reaction, and it certainly makes you think he’s seeing something.

Felines see an image in the mirror, but they don’t always understand it. Cats look in the mirror and do not recognize themselves. They will see another cat and react according to its personality.

It can be a lot of fun watching your cat look at his reflection. This article explains what cats see in mirrors and why they react the way they do.

Do cats recognize themselves in the mirror?

Your cat will see a feline in the mirror. However, it will not be recognized in the mirror . Even in the case of its owners, a cat will not recognize a human face, what they do identify is the peculiar voice of its owner.

This means that when your pet poses in front of a mirror, he sees a cat, nothing else. This was covered in a 1970 psychological experiment called  The Mirror Test . This experiment evaluated how a variety of animals, including cats, reacted to their reflexes.

How your cat will react depends on his personality. The most common reactions are:

  • The cat can remain hypnotizedlooking at the reflection in the mirror.
  • Absolute panic, your cat might run away.
  • Aggressionagainst the invasion of his “territory” if your cat considers the “new cat” as an intruder.
  • Sniff and investigate the mirror, as if interacting with the other cat.
  • There are cats that do not react. Kittens that grow up in a house surrounded by mirrors learn to accept them.

Below, I detail the possible reactions of your cat to its reflection in a mirror:

1. Your cat does not stop looking in the mirror

Some cats seem completely fascinated by their reflection in the mirror, they are trying to make sense of what they are seeing.

If your cat is playful and cheerful, he will try to get his reflection to participate in the game. A cheerful kitten or cat will always want to play, after all. You will be happy to see another feline in your space. There are cats that touch the mirror, trying to interact with this possible playmate.

Most likely, he will get bored, if the “other cat” does not react the way he would like, moving on to other entertainment.

2. The cat is meowing in the mirror

If your cat looks at himself and meows, he’s probably trying to get your attention . Cats don’t meow each other, that’s reserved for humans. Your pet is likely trying to alert you to this new cat in the house.

3. My cat runs every time he looks in a mirror

If your cat runs, it is because it is afraid. Your pet will think it is another feline and will be eager to avoid a confrontation.

Also kittens that have lived their entire lives in an animal shelter may not have been exposed to common household items such as mirrors, rugs, etc. When they are adopted and brought into a home, each of these things can create fear of the unknown.

Your cat can go and hide until it thinks the area is clear. You will need to control their reaction, helping your pet feel more comfortable if necessary.

If your cat is suddenly frightened by its own reflection, find out why.

4. My cat is indifferent to his own reflection

Many cats will not react to your reflection. This should not worry you, and it is not a sign that your cat is going blind.

They will simply have gotten used to mirrors, and understand that the cat they see is not tangible. This does not mean that your cat understands how mirrors work, felines lack this cognitive function. The lack of smell determines that your cat does not react.

This behavior is very common in cats that have always lived in a house with mirrors.

5. My cat tries to fight his own reflection

Cats that become aggressive upon seeing their own reflection can be troublesome. When he sees himself reflected, he will think that there is another feline that comes to endanger “his territory”.

The first step will be for your cat to try to intimidate this “other” feline. This involves striking a threatening pose, whistling, or even growling at the reflection. This will try to scare the other cat.

This can lead to the extreme that your cat considers that it has no other option but to attack, which can cause the cat to damage the mirror or, worse, injure itself.

The most normal thing is that your cat calms down due to the lack of smell and the consequences do not trigger any danger.

How can you keep your cat calm around mirrors?

It is impossible to live in a house without mirrors. However, if you have a cat, and this causes a stressful situation, you can take one of the following measures:

  • Remove any mirrors that are at ground level.
  • Play with your cat in front of a mirror to form a positive association.
  • Cover the mirrors while your cat is home alone and when you go to bed at night.
  • Stand in front of a mirror and talk to your cat. It will recognize your voice and make the connection slowly.
  • Use pheromone diffusers around mirrors in the home.
  • Put catnip on a mirror to encourage your cat to investigate. This will trigger exposure therapy.

Some cats will never accept their own reflection, but with these steps, you can minimize the risks.

Mirrors are essential, so you will have to try to help your cat make peace with them. Just don’t force him to look at his reflection if he doesn’t want to. It takes time for nervous cats to accept their own reflection.



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