Updated: March 8, 2021 by
It’s said that cats are indifferent and uncaring animals, but the fact is that sometimes, they seem to be the most well mannered animals in the world. At least with their most beloved person. Contrary to what many would believe, cats can say sorry. But how? How do cats apologize? What are the telltale signs you need to look for?
You only need to stay around your cat more and watch her actions and ‘manners’, especially after knocking down that pot by the window. But before learning about how do cats apologize, let’s understand the matter of guilt.
Do Cats Feel Guilt
Guilt is a complex human emotion that animals don’t have the capability to understand or replicate, because they are wired differently. They do have feelings, but they’re mainly just very basic ones.
Cats might look guilty from time to time, but that doesn’t mean they feel guilty. That look on their face when the pot they kicked just smashed on the floor doesn’t show guilt. It shows the fear of being reprimanded for what they did. And that behavior is a learned one.
Since that’s not the only time when they knock down something, if you do reprimand or punish them almost each time, they will learn to associate that behavior with the punishment, so the next time it happens, they’ll have that look on their face. Not that they understand it was something bad or why you’re upset. They just know what’s coming, fear it and want to get away or to escape it.
How Do Cats Apologize
Now, cats can be jerks. But when they develop a relationship with another fellow cat or their owner, they will try to fix things when they know they’ve upset their friend. And friends do apologize to one another when they screw up, don’t they?
Such is the case with cats. At least when they know they’ve upset us. And since they see us as just some other fellow cat – only bigger and clumsier – they will apologize exactly the way they apologize to any other cat. By rubbing on us, raising their tails and grooming us.
Sure, since we don’t understand them, they most often assume we’re a very tall, retarded and weird looking cat, bald and bearded in some cases, with huge clumsy paws who doesn’t deserve their respect, so they might not feel the need to apologize to us.
But if you and your furry little friend have become friends, you can expect your cat to come to you and show you she’s sorry right before you want to reprimand her. She may not know why you’re upset and what’s the big deal with that smashed pot on the floor, but she knows you’ll be mad and she comes rubbing on your legs to ease off her sentence.
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Screwed up? Here’s how to have the best chance of making it better.
- The Importance of Forgiveness
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Despite the unrealistic expectations that many of us have for ourselves (and others), virtually all of us make mistakes—sometimes even big ones—with some frequency. In fact, if you are living a bold, creative life in which you are engaging with the world in a way that makes the most of your experiences, it’s hard to imagine how you could get away without making a blunder every once in a while. Mistakes don’t have to define you.
What’s key is handling your mistakes the right way.
When your mistakes affect others, it’s not enough just to accept that mistakes happen and move along. A good apology can go a long way toward not only reversing some of the damage that has been done, but also preventing further deterioration of a relationship. And although most of us have been taught to apologize from our earliest days, many of us lose sight of the point of an effective apology. Here are some key components to keep in mind.
1. Be clear about what you are apologizing for. If you know that your partner is mad at you, but you’re not sure why, you may be tempted to create a blanket apology just to try to move forward (“You’re obviously mad about something; I’m sorry for whatever I did”). This misses the chance to convey your understanding of what you did and how you hurt them—which misses the whole point of the apology. Similarly, “I’m sorry you’re upset” or “I’m sorry if you took it wrong” are not true apologies for your own behavior. That doesn’t mean they don’t have a place, but if a true apology for your specific actions is what’s called for, they are not an adequate substitute.
2. Don’t add conditions where conditions don’t belong. With apologies that are coming on the heels of a contentious situation, there is often the urge to protect yourself by limiting your apology within specific parameters or putting conditions on it. You may also be tempted to only give a piecemeal apology, and then see if the other person apologizes next. Be careful of this, and mindful of the risk of adding so many conditions to your apology that it ceases to mean anything anymore. “I’m sorry I said X, but if you hadn’t done Y, then I would have never been so upset” may be true, but it is also prone to escalating the conflict and making it sound like you’re not very sorry at all.
3. Your apology should stand on its own: Don’t apologize as a means to get what you want. An apology can be a useful tool—for connection, for repairing a relationship, and for understanding yourself and others better. It should not, however, be used as a tool to get something that you jeopardized by behaving badly. Apologies that have this “let me get it over with” flavor ring hollow and risk doing more harm than good. When you prepare to apologize, ask yourself: Is this apology something I feel is useful in its own right? Or am I viewing it as a means to an end to get what I want? Of course, you may very much hope for some positive effects of the apology. But those should come naturally, not be part of a quid pro quo of your having said sorry.
4. Know the difference between explaining and justifying. Explaining why you did something can sometimes help the other person understand what happened, but there’s a fine line between that and making excuses for your behavior. “I’m sorry I said that; I was angry, and I didn’t handle it well. I let my emotions get the best of me, and that is why I lashed out” is an infinitely more helpful opening to a true, vulnerable conversation than “I’m sorry I said that. You make me so mad sometimes that I just can’t help myself.”
5. Express remorse with empathy. An apology is about more than words—it is also about body language, tone of voice, etc.—yes, I am assuming that you are apologizing by the spoken word, not by text or email. A lot of times, the words may be there, but the empathy and remorse are not. Like an 8-year-old screaming “SOR-ry!” as she storms away on the playground, or a politician offering a canned, superficial press release about mistakes having been made, it becomes clear that there is no true remorse. If you don’t feel actual remorse within an apology, ask yourself why you’re doing it—and whether it’s just a charade that you are apologizing at all.
6. Have a plan for it to not happen again. I have worked with many people whose relationships are caught in a cycle of: hurt each other, apologize, hurt each other, apologize. Rinse and repeat. This is one of the main reasons even a “good” apology can fall on deaf ears. Words don’t mean nearly as much if the actions don’t follow. As the saying goes, “The best apology is changed behavior.” Even better, explain in your apology what you are going to do to try not to make the same mistake anew, to further give the other person some confidence that they won’t have to endure it all over again.
7. Be open to repairing and making further amends. Sometimes, words—even good ones—don’t feel quite sufficient to complete the process of repairing a relationship to the extent that it can begin to move forward. Maybe there is a corrective action you need to make—perhaps involving additional people—or logistical or even financial tolls that need to be paid. Don’t assume that saying sorry is enough when what your friend really could use is further help to mitigate the damage of a situation you had a hand in.
8. Listen. Ultimately, an apology shouldn’t just be about you. It should be about the feelings of the person you are apologizing to. After all, the fact that you are choosing to apologize makes it clear that you feel that you have wronged someone, at least on some level, so their feeling about it is just as important as yours. Don’t get so caught up in your own words that you forget to listen to theirs.
What makes a good apology to you? Let me know in the comments!
You might not know what a microaggression is, but you’ve probably heard at least one before. Chances are, you might have said or done one, too.
A 2019 survey by Glassdoor of 1,100 US employees found that 61% of US employees had witnessed or experienced workplace discrimination based on age, race, gender, or LGBTQ identity.
Microaggressions are unconscious expressions of racism, sexism, or other problematic beliefs. They come out in seemingly innocuous comments or actions by people who might be well-intentioned.
Think of asking a person of color where they’re really from, commenting on a Black colleague’s hair, or the “universal phenomenon” of men interrupting women.
Everyone holds unconscious beliefs about race, ethnicity, gender, weight, religion, and many other characteristics. So while you might believe yourself to be totally rid of problematic opinions, there might come a time where you accidentally say a microaggression.
Here’s how to apologize for saying an offensive comment in the workplace.
Say sorry as soon as possible
As soon as you recognize that whatever came out of your mouth was problematic, apologize right away, said Joan Williams, University of California, Hastings College of the Law distinguished professor.
Williams advised saying the following: “Wow, I just heard what I said. I apologize.”
Don’t say “Sorry I offended you”
“I’m sorry that I offended you, but that wasn’t my intent.”
“Sorry, it was just a joke!”
Queens College associate professor David Rivera, a co-author of the book “Microaggression Theory: Influence and Implications”, told Business Insider that he hears too often of these sort of half-apologies.
Apologizing for offending someone is an attempt to validate your own comment by implying that the other person just reacted poorly, Rivera told Business Insider.
It’s also a way to brush off any allegations that you did something wrong.
Instead, recognize the implicit bias in your remark
“The apology should be earnest and include an awareness that you engaged in microaggressive behavior,” Rivera told Business Insider.
So, if you realize you made a blunder by complimenting a non-white coworker who was born in America on their English skills, you can try: “I’m sorry for what I just said. That was totally out of line, and based off the false impression that you were not born in America. My apologies again.”
There’s no need to continue to dwell on it right after you’ve said it, especially if it’s in front of other people, Williams said.
But you may want to follow up later with the person with an additional apology if it seems appropriate.
Keep educating yourself
Rivera said the best way to move on from saying a microaggression is to have “open communication about diversity and inclusion.”
That could involve setting up a diversity task force within your company, or keeping educated by reading one of dozens of books on anti-racism or diversity and inclusion.
SEE ALSO: 9 things people think are fine to say at work — but are actually racist, sexist, or offensive
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Rachel has reported on Bon Appétit’s culture of racism, safety concerns among pilots who fly for Amazon, and the 2019 trucking \”bloodbath.\” She has appeared on ABC News, NBC Nightly News, The Today Show, France24, and other major outlets to discuss her coverage.
She was a Stigler Center Journalist-in-Residence at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business in the spring of 2019 — one of eight fellows to be chosen for the program among hundreds of applicants.
Before joining Business Insider, she was a journalist in Seoul, South Korea. Her articles were published in The Washington Post, Forbes, Foreign Policy, The Ringer, Quartz, CityLab, Business of Fashion, The Verge, and others. She’s also published research on the Korean and Japanese economies in SAGE Business Researcher, a scholarly businesss publication.
Originally from Metro Detroit, Rachel studied history at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. Her Twitter account is @rrpre.
Marguerite is a senior reporter at Business Insider, covering diversity, inclusion, and general career and leadership topics. She also helps oversee Business Insider’s Better Capitalism section.
Knowing the secrets of a really good apology can mean the difference between this:
Most of us learned to apologize back when we were in preschool and, unfortunately, too few of us have upgraded our approach.
Remember the drill?
You whacked some girl with your shovel or you yanked the cat’s tail and before you had time to enjoy what you’d done, some looming grown-up was pressuring you to apologize.
So you took a deep breath and, contrite or not, you managed to squeak out a barely audible “sorry.”
With that, thank goodness, the ordeal was over.
An apology like this is lacking, well. just about everything that a true apology needs.
An apology is worth very little if it’s been extracted, rather than given. If your M.O. is to “demand” an apology, rethink your strategy. A well-executed, sincere apology feels like a gift to the receiver. Once you’ve experienced the real thing, you’ll clearly know the difference.
Worse still is an apology that is an attack or a criticism in disguise. Here are some common apology blunders to eliminate from your repertoire:
“I’m sorry you took what I said the wrong way.”
“I’m sorry that you’re so sensitive.”
“I’m sorry that it pissed you off when I did the thing you always do.”
“You want an apology? Fine, here’s an apology.”
Ready for an alternative?
Mean what you say.
The key ingredient to making a truly standout apology is that you are sincerely sorry. This is essential.
You may not have been at all sorry that you stole your sister’s cupcake when you were six. But by the time you’re, say, forty-six, if you forgot to pick your daughter up from her saxophone lesson or you didn’t close the sunroof and the car is knee-deep in rain– or things even worse– unless you’re a sociopath, chances are you feel sorry and you’re ready to say so.
Say exactly what it is that you’re sorry for.
“I’m sorry I left the cat door unlocked. I overspent at Nordstrom’s. I forgot to pick up the dry cleaning. I drank too much at your office party. I made a joke that embarrassed you.”
I’m not suggesting that you have to wear a hair shirt or fall on your knees. I’m simply suggesting that you look yourself in the eye and be prepared to admit what you’ve done.
A slightly better-than-average apology is consists of the two previous ingredients, but if you’re going for the gold, you’ll have to do some soul-searching about what led to your misstep in the first place.
One client I worked with refused to keep a calendar, insisting he didn’t need one. Yet, time and again, he missed important meetings, especially with his partner. His new and improved apology included an admission of being both dishonest with himself about his imperfect memory and inconsiderate of the impact that his self-deception had on others.
Another client who was consistently late, admitted that she felt entitled to have her lateness overlooked because she was such a kind and generous mother. This, she said sheepishly, had prevented her from making any apology at all.
Seek ways to improve your performance.
Even the most heartfelt and thorough apology isn’t worth much if you turn right around and do the exact same thing again. A winning apology includes a commitment to change.
Consider this. We all make mistakes, but there’s no reason for your apology to be a mistake of its own.
Looking to have a more satisfying marriage? Get my free bonus article:
75 Ways To Improve Your Relationship Starting Today
This article first appeared on Speaking of Marriage.
Photos: istock photos/Getty Images
For most people, the question of “how do cats apologise” is easy to answer: they don’t! They knock our picture frames off the shelves. They kick litter out of the box seemingly on purpose. If we leave them overnight with a cat-loving Pet Sitter, we get reports of them zooming around the house at 3am. As this article is being written, a cat is unapologetically trying to sit on the keyboard.
It seems they are simply incapable of apologies.
At least that’s what we all thought. But as it turns out, science shows us that cats are much more complex and emotionally attuned than we give them credit for. They may not say sorry the same way a human would. But they do apologise, in their own way. And once you learn “how do cats apologise,” maybe you won’t be quite so angry about them for looking you straight in the eye while they scratch up your furniture.
“Uhhhhh, hooman? I may have messed up…”
First of all, are cats capable of apologising?
It can seem like cats live in their own little world. We assume that in their mind, they rule the house. You’re simply a servant that gives them their food and cleans out their litter box. But, research of cat behaviour tells us that’s not totally true.
On the one hand, cats are self-sustaining and territorial. Give a cat a safe place to live and the opportunity to hunt and they don’t need to have a human around. But that doesn’t mean that cats are unable to form strong emotional bonds. According to International Cat Care, females in feral colonies will groom each other and care for kittens communally. They may hunt alone, but many chose to live together in social groups.
Interestingly, fights and aggression within feral colonies are quite rare. Cats may not have much of a need to apologise because they don’t tend to anger the cats within their colony.
When we bring cats into our homes, we have the potential of creating the social group that is common in a feral colony. If we invest time in bonding exercises and general cuddles, our fur babies may see us as part of their social group. If your cat is very social and secure in their territory and relationship with their Owners, they may warm up more easily to cat-loving Pet Sitters, as well.
When you get angry at your cat, on the other hand, they get scared and stressed out. All they want is for things to go back to normal. But do they apologise? Well, it’s probably more likely that your cat just wants to make sure that they can still feel safe in their social group. They’re not admitting guilt, but they’re likely testing the waters to make sure you’re still friends.
So when they want to make things right, how do cats apologise?
Now, in the heat of the argument, your cat’s first reaction is likely going to be to run away. They may hide or go to a place in the room where they feel safe. You’ll also notice them staring at you. A lot of owners mistake this as defiance in their cat, as if their cat is saying to them, “Yes, I did that, and I don’t care.” But it’s more likely that your feline friend is trying to read the situation. Only when you’re calm will they be able to relax as well.
When things cool off, that’s when you’re going to see “apologising” behaviour. Every cat is different, but there are a few feline behaviours that may be your cat’s way of saying they’d like to patch things up. They include,
- Approaching you (it’s a little gesture, but it means they feel safe)
- Head butting and rubbing
- Blinking slowly
It’s impossible to say how long it will take for your cat to come around. But when they do, validate it! Only with an intact relationship will you be able to correct the behaviour that made you angry in the first place.
Perhaps more important than asking “how do cats apologise,” is asking ourselves, “why should they?”
At this point, a few things are clear. Cats don’t feel guilt. They do feel connected to us. And there are certain behaviours that show us they still think of us as part of their social group. And now that you’ve read this far to find out “how do cats apologise,” it might be time to ask yourself why you expected them to in the first place.
If your cat is peeing in the house, pooping outside the litter box, scratching up the furniture, or causing some other widespread chaos in your home, there’s a reason. Some behaviours are instinctual, like sharpening their claws and waking you up at 4am. Others are cries for help, like pooping outside the litter box because it’s dirty or the litter is bothering their paws.
When you learn about the behaviours of your cat, you’ll be able to address issues and make your home more cat-friendly. We’ve written articles about how to stop your cat from scratching the furniture and how to convince your cat to love you so that the bond between the two of you is stronger. Do more research about your cat’s unique behaviours to see if there’s anything you can do to make them feel more comfortable.
Overall, your cat wants to be on good terms with you. If you can compromise a little bit for your cat, there will be far fewer reasons for them to be apologising to you.
By Kelly Forst January 26, 2021
Use these examples as a guide if you ever need to send a heartfelt — or even humorous — apology.
When your business makes a mistake, you need to act quickly. A sincere apology email can often help to fix the damage.
But the stakes are high. Use the wrong words in your apology email, and you might anger your audience.
To avoid disasters like this, we gathered 6 brilliant examples of companies saying “sorry.” Consider this the Hall of Fame of Apology Emails. Use them as a guide if you ever need to send a heartfelt — or even humorous — sorry.
When should you send an apology email?
Before sending an apology email, evaluate whether the situation calls for it.
Ask yourself two questions:
- Would subscribers be inconvenienced or confused if I don’t send an apology?
- Did I (or my business) offend or upset my audience by doing something wrong?
If you respond with a “yes” to either question, you should send an apology email.
Different mistakes require different responses. Here are examples of apology emails for some of the most common mistakes businesses make.
Incorrect info, broken links, and typos
If you forget to carefully review and test your emails, you might end up sending an email with broken links or typos. It happens quite a bit. (Pro tip: Test your emails before you send them.)
If you did this, send an email to give people the correct information and to apologize for the mistake.
BuzzFeed sent a newsletter with the wrong link. They quickly sent an apology email with the right link and a lighthearted explanation.
The wrong audience
Accidentally send an email to the wrong list or segment? Don’t panic, we’re all human.
That’s exactly what Uberflip admitted to in their apology email to subscribers who received information about a webinar they did not RSVP for.
Accidental email sends
If you hit send too early or deliver an email you never meant to send, keep calm and send an apology.
If the email you accidentally sent is funny (Let’s say it contains nothing but a cat.), you can even make your apology humorous, like Fab’s purrfect email below.
Missing information or details
Forgot to include important information or details in your email? Send a follow up email to correct your mistake.
Notice how Really Good Emails apologizes for sending another email in the same day and shares the information they forgot.
Technology doesn’t always work. If your website goes down or you’re dealing with another tech issue that affects your audience, email them to apologize and give an update on what’s happening.
Joanna Wiebe, founder of CopyHackers, sent an apology email after her webinar platform failed to work during her presentation on apology emails. (I think she jinxed herself.)
Wine Insiders also experienced technical difficulties on their website. As the email explains, the mistake wasn’t caught in a timely manner due to a company holiday, so they made up for it by extending a limited-time deep discount.
Broken products or poor service
A bad experience with your company can destroy your relationship with a customer and lead to negative reviews of your product or service.
If a large group of customers have a bad experience because you delivered a poor product or service, the negative impact is magnified. But you can send an apology email to help alleviate the damage.
After delivering defective products to their customers, Passion Planner emailed their audience an apology and an offer for a full refund.
If you’ve made a serious mistake, own it. No excuses. Apologize and explain how you’re addressing the issue so it doesn’t happen again.
Check out the apology email AirBnb sent for a serious mistake below.
How to write an apology email subject line
Not sure what to write in your subject lines? Try one of these tips.
Explain exactly what happened and what you’re doing about it.
Example: Passion Planner
Subject line: Trouble with Eco? We Hear Your Concerns.
Mention your mistake.
Be clear about the mistake you made right in your subject line.
Example: Really Good Emails
Subject line: We forgot some stufferoo
Everybody makes mistakes. As long as you haven’t made a serious one, use a human tone, like Buzzfeed, and maybe even add an emoji.
Subject line: Let’s try this again…?
Apologize for your mistake with a gift. But be sure to hint at it in the subject line, or subscribers won’t know what they’re missing.
Example: Wine Insiders
Subject line: Oops! Our mistake – your reward!
Own your mistakes.
It’s much better for your brand to apologize than to say nothing when a mistake happens. Plus, it’s the right thing to do.
AWeber is an email marketing platform that’s enabled more than 1,000,000 small businesses and entrepreneurs create and send emails people love.
Ready to send beautiful emails your subscribers will love? Get started with AWeber Free today!
Additional reporting by Amanda Gagnon & Kelly Forst
I’ve been giving We Rule a try on my iPhone. Recently though, I’ve been having connection problems, with the game being slow to load and play, and sometimes unavailable. Yes, all online services have issues sometimes, but this was getting ridiculous.
I was just about ready to uninstall it when I received a perfectly timed email from ngmoco, the developer of the game.
It was a great example of how to apologize to your customers for service problems, and frankly, kept me as a customer. Here’s why.
Firstly, although I only discovered this once I had read to the bottom, I really appreciated that the email had come directly from ngmoco’s CEO, Neil.
I also appreciated his honesty in describing the issues that were causing the connectivity issues:
…we underestimated the number of people that would play the game, the number of social connections that they would have, the number of push messages that would be sent, the number of times that they would play per day and the number of minutes that they would play for.
Simply put, ‘we didn’t expect the game to be as successful as it’s been.’
I liked how the steps to resolve the issues were outlined and the urgency with which they were being implemented:
…we’re working around the clock to scale our physical infrastructure and we’re also in the process of finishing a new round of changes to both the We Rule and Plus+ servers, as well as an update to the We Rule App…
Lastly, it was heartening to learn that not only were service issues being addressed but new features were also being brought online:
We’re going to be rolling out new content on a fairly regular cadence over the course of the game’s life and we have enhancements lined up for many many months to come.
As a customer, the first part of this email saved me from leaving and the last part aroused my interest enough to stay around for the foreseeable future in order to see how the game evolves. Nice job, Neil.
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Today I stepped on Amanda’s feet. I don’t think I’ve hurt her, because she has been running and jumping normally since then, but she did hiss at me and run away. She’s never hissed at me before. I’m glad I don’t wear shoes inside the house.
I would like to know how to apologize to her, to let her know that I didn’t mean any harm. I suspect that my actual reaction was exactly wrong from a cat’s point of view: I made a loud noise, I waved my arms around (to avoid putting more weight on that foot), then I came after her (to check if she’s all right) and talked more loudly than usual. I don’t think she understood any of that as an apology. But what is the right way to do it in cat language?
Try getting down on her level so you don’t seem like a threatening giant and then give her a treat or play with one of her favorite toys.
Rufus did the same thing to me when he was a kitten. I stepped on his paw and he cried and when I looked he was sitting under the table holding his paw in the air. I felt SO guilty until I put food in his dish and he came running on all 4 paws! LOL.
I have indeed found that the cats are quick to forgive.
Currently I have to pester the other cat Victoria to put salve in her eye 3x per day. She doesn’t like it, but it hasn’t changed her attitude to me. She still comes to my lap. And even if I pick her up, exactly the way I do to bring her to the medication station (edge of the sofa) she grabs my shoulder and purrs like usual.
It probably helps that she gets some of her favorite food (grilled salmon is best) right after the operation. When I let her go she jumps away, but she has her tail up! She knows there’s a treat coming. Unfortunately, I think I’ve trained her wrong. Sometimes I get it mostly on her eyelid and then I have to try again, but she doesn’t always sit still for that. And I didn’t make sufficient distinction between when I let her go, or when she escapes and I consider it good enough. So now she thinks she gets food as soon as she escapes.
With Amanda, I’ve had to take her to the vet where she got an injection in her thigh. She got a terribly offended look, then turned around and hissed. Then she was ok again. It was a very good heart-and-soul hiss, I was proud of her.