In ancient Egypt, cats were revered as gods and often buried alongside their beloved kings and queens. Today we continue to revere our household cats, yet sometimes, it can feel as if they are treating us more like servants than royalty. Truth is, if your cat gives you the cold shoulder, you should probably consider it a compliment. Sometimes, domesticated felines just look like they’re ignoring you, when what they’re really trying to do is prove just how worthy you are of their inattention.

It all comes down to how cats communicate: The same traits that make felines so endearing — intelligence, independence, individuality, and a healthy dose of aloofness — also come into play when cats express their wants, needs, and desires. Unlike dogs, who tend to lavish attention on their owners at any given moment, cats prefer to show their love and admiration in their own way — at their own pace.

There’s a little psychology behind the behavior, too. Clever cats know that if they ignore you long enough, it will actually get them attention. So the next time your tabby turns her back on you, it might actually be a sign that you’re the center of her universe.

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