Things you should know about your kitty’s snuggling habits

Do you you love cuddling up with your pet cat? Find out why some cats love a snuggle, and some of the mutual benefits you both enjoy from it.

Snuggling with your feline BFF is one of the best things about owning a cat. However, while many cats will love a snuggle and do anything to get one, others apparently hate or disdain snuggling. So, why is that?

The internet is filled with delightful photos of pet parents snuggling with their kitties. Is your cat one of those felines that appears to recoil from a cuddle? And more importantly, is there anything you can do?

Why do cats snuggle?

Cats that like to snuggle are simply reproducing behavior that they learned when still kittens. Most kittens will try instinctively to snuggle with their mom because this provides warmth and a calming sense of security.

When your cat climbs onto your knee and curls up on your lap, or if she snuggles against you while you’re lying in bed, they are seeking that same warmth and sense of security all over again.

How is snuggling good for your cat – and you?

They may be famous for acting cool and standoffish, but cats do form emotional connections with the humans who care for them. Cats look to their owners as a source of safety and security, and showing. them physical affection in the form of stroking and cuddling helps reassure and calm your pet.

And it’s not just your cat whose, getting something from your snuggling. When you cuddle your cat, it stimulates the production of a hormone called oxytocin, which is also known as the “cuddle hormone”, in both of you.

Oxytocin is usually associated with feelings of trust and bonding. It can also inhibit the production of the stress hormone cortisol, which is known to cause weight gain and reduce your immunity.

Other scientifically proven benefits of cuddling with your pet include positive effects on your heart rate, blood pressure, fear and anxiety (and eternal mental health) and cardiovascular diseases.

Why does one cat snuggle more than another?

A cat’s personality is heavily influenced during the first few weeks of life, and this will include snuggling. Mom cat plays a crucial role in the socialization of kittens in the first two months of life as well as breeders and pet parents.

If a baby kitten is petted regularly and handled often, this will provide a basis for snuggling as an adult feline. On the other hand, if the kitten has experienced some trauma, there is a chance they may refuse to be touched. It is important to have lots of patience and take things slow.

How can you socialize a young kitten?

If you are starting to socialize a young kitten, make sure you use a calm, low voice and slow movements. Start by getting down to your kitten’s level and gently pet their head and shoulders (avoid their underbelly).

When you’re ready to lift your kitten, lift them smoothly from under their chest. And don’t overdo your first few sessions; a few 15-minute sessions each day are a good starting point. And always stop if your kitten seems agitated or tries to get away.

Is snuggling more characteristic of certain feline breeds?

Certain feline breeds may be more inclined to snuggle than others even with differing socialization in the crucial months after birth. Salon cats or sedate companion breeds like orange tabby cats, or Ragdolls may be more inclined to search out a cuddle than some of the high-energy breeds such as Abyssinians or Bengals.

Felines with specific health issues that are uncomfortable, such as a senior cat with arthritis may be averse to snuggling because it’s painful or distressing. When considering adopting a feline, consider looking for a breed and an appropriately aged cat if you look forward to snuggling with your kitty.

Is there a right way to snuggle with a cat?

If your cat appears open to snuggling when engaging in a cuddle make sure that your cat is well supported much the same way that an infant needs support regardless of the position. If they are on your lap or you’ve picked your cat up, the kitty needs solid support.

Avoid squeezing, squishing, and uncomfortable hugging or applying stressful pressure at some point of your cat’s anatomy.

Don’t limit yourself to a snuggle when interacting with your feline buddy. Scratch your cat’s chin, or belly, or alternate with petting so that your cat enjoys cuddle time and looks forward to it. Many cats do not enjoy suddenly being picked up or held, especially when they’ve been left alone in the dark.

At the first sign of your cat wanting to be free, let them go. Remember that for snuggling to be successful, it has to be done on your cat’s terms. If you force a feline into snuggling it will become a negative experience.

Cats will communicate when they’ve snuggled enough. Aside from struggling to get free, they may give you soft cat bites to signal that enough is enough!

If my cat won’t snuggle, does it mean they don’t like me?

Actually, a cat that doesn’t enjoy snuggling does not necessarily mean that your kitty doesn’t love you or isn’t attached to you. Your cat may be very affectionate but just not demonstrate it by snuggling. Your kitty may be sufficiently satisfied by just being near to you or in your company.

What can I do if my cat hates snuggling?

Some cats just don’t like to snuggle, and they shouldn’t be forced to. It’s probably due to a lack of socialization in those first few weeks, a lack of being handled during the first few months of life, or a violent experience.

Another thing that can influence snuggling negatively is something that spooks a feline while engaged in cuddling.  A loud noise is a perfect example of this. Your cat is on your lap and hears a particularly loud bang, jumps away, and hesitates in the future to snuggle anew.

The best advice when dealing with a feline is to remember that everything from petting, belly rubbing, kisses, and snuggling have to be done on your kitty’s terms.

Forcing a cat to do something will inevitably stimulate a negative reaction and memory association. Relax, be patient, and eventually, your cat will communicate his or her preferred method for being close to you.

Photo by Priscilla Du Preez