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 your cat doesn’t love you! Nevertheless, it’s frustrating when you want to hug and squeeze your furry friend and they’re just not interested. 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, they may not be used to people. After all, cats are tiny, and humans may still look like giants to them. Some cats may also associate being picked up with negative experiences, such as having their nails trimmed or getting vaccinated. 
  • Trauma. It’s hard to think that your rescue kitty may have been harmed, but animal abuse does occur. The fear of touch fear may be due to past abuse.
  • Pain. If your cat used to love cuddling but no longer does, something may be wrong. Bring it up at your cat’s 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 they just don’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 Like to 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 their head or chin against you, they’re “inducting” you into their pride of lions. They 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 they want your attention. It means, “stop folding the laundry and pet me right now!”
  • Bringing gifts. When a cat picks up their toy and brings it to you, it means they’re “hunting” for you. They don’t see you hunting, so this is their 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, don’t try to force it. There are plenty of other ways to let your cat know you love them. 

  • 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 them.

Never Force It  

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

Concerned About Your Cat’s Behavior?

At East Valley Animal Hospital in Gilbert, 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. Contact us today to schedule an appointment. 

Image by Monika on Pixabay.