Cat Cuddling – What You Ought to Know About Your Cat's Cuddling Habits

We have all seen cute social media pics of cats who love to cuddle with their humans. But why are these cat cuddles so easy to come by with some cats – and why do some kittens seem to avoid any form of cuddling greatly? And how can you encourage your own cat to snuggle up to you?

Let's dive into the science behind cat cuddling.

What's wrong with these cat cuddles – or what's missing? Photography by vladans / Thinkstock.

How and why do cats cuddle?

When cats cuddle, they are performing behaviors that they learned as kittens. Back then, cuddling with the mother gave a kitten warmth and a sense of security. If your cat is bouncing on your lap and curling up in a ball while you laze on the couch, or if she decides to be too cozy next to you while you doze in bed, she'll snuggle up to you to keep yourself safe and comfortable to feel warm.

Why do some cats cuddle more than others?

Much of your cat's personality and temperament is determined in the first few weeks of life – and the likelihood of a cat cuddling is no different. According to Sally E. Bahner, a cat counselor and pet writer, it is important that kittens are socialized at a very young age, between two and seven weeks. "That means getting treated and petted regularly, which is what they get used to being cuddled early on," she says.

Do some breeds like cat cuddling more than others?

Even when different breeds of cats and a cat's inherent tendency to be finicky are taken into account, certain breeds of cats are more likely to enjoy cat cuddling over others. "I would think that the quieter breeds like Ragdolls and Persians have more fun cuddling than the active, high-energy breeds like Bengals and Abyssinians," says Sally.

Older cats, who may have medical conditions like arthritis, may also show an aversion to cuddling, Sally points out. So, if you are considering adopting a cat who prefers cat cuddling, consider age and breed.

How should you give cat cuddles?

When your kitten is open to cat cuddling, it is imperative that she is always well supported, whether you picked her up or she's in your lap. Support kittens and cats like newborns and always avoid squeezing or unnecessary pressure while cuddling. Adding chin scratches to the mix can also help keep your cat comfortable. In general, petting while cuddling can encourage your kitten to enjoy cat cuddling.

Sally says that one of her own cats, Mollie, doesn't particularly like being held. When she picks up Mollie, she makes sure that she is well supported and is always released at the first sign of a fight. "Then I will thank her profusely," she says, "because it has to be on the cat's terms; if you force (cuddle), you make it a negative association." If your cat becomes overexcited during a cuddle and decides Blessing them with a feline love bite should be taken as a clear signal that it is time to end the cuddling session.

What if your cat hates cuddling?

Unfortunately, some cats don't like cat cuddling. Sally says this is likely due to a lack of adequate socialization, especially if she is not treated regularly during childhood. She also suggests that a bad experience – "like hearing a loud noise while being held" – can prevent a kitten from enjoying cat cuddling.

If your cat hates cuddling … does he hate you?

Sally claims that just because a cat doesn't seem to enjoy cuddling doesn't mean the kitten isn't loving at heart: Even if these full-fledged cat cuddles are out of the question, your cat is still likely experiencing a great deal of comfort and feeling security simply by being close to you.

Thumbnail: Photography © PeopleImages | E + / Getty Images.

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