If your cat doesn’t like to cuddle, don’t take it personally. Some cats just don’t like being picked up, or aren’t physically affectionate. That doesn’t mean he doesn’t love you! Nevertheless, it’s frustrating when you want to hug and squeeze him and he’s just not interested. At East Valley Animal Hospital in Gilbert, we understand how important your bond is with your cat. In today’s post we will help you understand and communicate with a cat who doesn’t like to cuddle. 

Why Doesn’t My Cat Like to Cuddle?

Many factors may play a role in your cat’s aversion to cuddling. Keep in mind that none of them are your fault! 

  • Personality/breed. Cats tend to be much more independent than dogs. Some are more independent than others and prefer to be left alone. Some breeds are more snuggly than others. For instance, Ragdoll cats are known for being physically affectionate and love to be held. 
  • Mistrust of humans. If your cat wasn’t exposed to many humans as a kitten, she may not be used to people. After all, she’s tiny, and humans still may look like giants to her. Some cats may also associate being picked up with negative experiences, such as having her nails trimmed or getting vaccinated. 
  • Trauma. It’s hard to think that your rescue kitty may have been abused, but animal abuse does occur. The aforementioned fear may be due to past abuse.
  • Pain. Especially if your cat used to love cuddling but no longer does, something may be wrong. Bring it up at his next appointment, as it could be a sign of arthritis or another underlying issue.
  • Preference. Believe it or not, it may be as simple as he just doesn’t like to be touched or picked up. Your kitty might just dislike the way being held feels. For some cats, being picked up may actually communicate disrespect

Other Ways Cats Show Affection

Just like people, different cats show affection in different ways. Here are some other ways cats like to show affection to their humans:

  • Nuzzling. When your cat rubs his head or chin against you, he’s “inducting” you into his pride of lions. He may also rub against your legs when you walk in the door. A nuzzle is like a kiss from your cat. 
  • Head bunting. You’ll see your cat doing this when he wants your attention. It means, “stop folding the laundry and pet me right now!”
  • Bringing gifts. When a cat picks up his toy and brings it to you, he’s “hunting” for you. He doesn’t see you hunting, so this is his way of providing for you. 
  • Licking. Cats mostly do this to each other, but occasionally, they’ll try to “groom” you. This is another way of taking care of you.

How Do I Express My Love for Kitty Without Cuddling? 

If your cat doesn’t like to cuddle, there are a lot of other ways to let him know you love him. 

  • Pets. Even if cuddling is out of the question, ear and belly scratches go a long way!
  • Treats. Cats love the occasional, healthy treat. 
  • Playing. Break out a feather wand toy! Playing with your kitty is a great way to bond with him.

Never Force It  

DO NOT force your cat to cuddle! Your cat isn’t resisting your cuddles because he dislikes you. Whatever his reason is, he has a good one for not wanting to cuddle. But forcing him to be held and snuggled is not going to change his behavior, and in fact it will likely worsen any fear or mistrust that already exists. 

Your Local Vet in Gilbert 

At East Valley Animal Hospital, we know every cat is different. We provide expert care for cats who love to cuddle and cats who prefer not to. Remember to attend your cat’s annual check-ups, where you can let us know if anything seems wrong and we can identify potential issues early. 

Image by Monika on Pixabay.