It would be unfair to give a blanket statement and say that all cats either do or do not like being hugged because, in reality, it comes down to the individual cat. There are several breeds, such as Ragdolls and Burmese cats, that are known for being very affectionate with their humans. These breeds are generally comfortable being held for extended lengths of time and won’t try to escape if you give them a little hug.
But this doesn’t mean that these are the only cats that enjoy being hugged. Much of a cat’s tolerance to being cuddled is formed in the first few weeks of their life. A cat that was handled and petted regularly during the key socialization period of two to seven weeks will be much more comfortable with hugs than a cat who did not have a high level of handling during the same period.
How Can I Tell If My Cat Likes Being Hugged?
Your cat may not be able to speak, but they will let you know how they feel about being hugged through their body language. The easiest way to tell if your cat enjoys being hugged is if they purr loudly and lean into the embrace – perhaps even giving you a little bump with their head.
On the other hand, if you notice your cat displaying any of the following behaviors, it’s a clear sign that hugs are not for them.
- Crouching or cowering: They crouch or cower, trying to make themselves look as small as possible.
- Running away: They make a beeline for a spot out of your arms reach.
- Avoiding eye contact: They actively turn their head away from you and avoid eye contact as you approach them.
- Flicking their tail: They flick their tail quickly from side to side.
- Flattening their ears: They flatten their ears against their head and stare at you as you approach.
- Vocalizing: They give a low growl or meow, often paired with flattened ears.
If you notice your cat displaying any of these behaviors as you approach or hug them, they’re telling you that they want some space.
How Can I Show My Cat I Love Them Without Hugging Them?
If your cat isn’t too thrilled about being hugged, that’s okay. It just means that it’s time to find another way to show your affection! The best way to figure out how to show your cat affection is to pay attention to their body language and behavior. Your cat may not like hugs, but do they enjoy sitting beside you on the couch and getting the occasional pet? Perhaps they have a favorite toy that they go wild for every time you bring it out. They may even be a more food-motivated creature who loves nothing more than their favorite Freshpet recipe or treat. By observing what makes your cat happy throughout their day, you’ll quickly learn the best way to shower them with affection.