A veterinary journal recently demonstrated cats in a shelter benefited from human interaction significantly, displaying reduced anxiety and more contentment than those who had less quality time with their owners. Increased human engagement also seemed to improve the pet’s immune system, with fewer instances of respiratory infections, a common issue facing shelter animals.
So, why do cats cuddle with their owners and what if they don’t want to cuddle—can you teach your cat to like cuddling?
Cats Who Cuddle
The reasons why cats cuddle with humans and other animals goes back to their lineage. Litters of kittens snuggle up together for basic needs, like warmth and mother’s milk. Cuddling makes a cat feel secure and content which impacts and stimulates the cat’s immune system, producing antibodies that makes it feel healthy and well.
Cuddling is something that most cats learn as kittens; they enjoy being near someone or something that will protect them while they sleep.
Some Cats Are Cuddlier Than Others
Why is it that some cats cuddle and are more tolerant of cuddling humans than others? Since cats are socialized differently in varying home environments, some will be more predisposed to cuddling than others.
Breed may also account for how cuddly the cat is, as some breeds, including Persians and Ragdolls, are more mellow and love to cuddle. Energetic breeds like Bengals, for instance, may be less inclined to want to snuggle up with their human on the couch.
Age also plays a role. Oftentimes, older cats prefer isolation and are less apt to cuddle. This could be due to an underlying medical issue like arthritis which could cause discomfort when petted, stroked or cuddled.
What If Your Cat Doesn’t Want to Cuddle?
Not all cats are going to be cuddlers. This is not the fault of anyone, nor should it be forced upon an apprehensive pet. It could be that they were startled at some point and it has made them reluctant to cuddle.
In these instances, you can provide them an alternative by offering them a cuddly cat bed or cat cave, widely available via online retailers. This provides them with the warmth and comfort of cuddling while sleeping, without the human contact. Also, do not be offended if a cat does not want to cuddle; some prefer to sit near their humans for a sense of security.
Teach Your Cat to Cuddle
Consider the following clever reasons and advantages to acclimating a cat to cuddling.
- Petting and stroking a cat’s fur helps promote good skin health.
- Cuddling provides owners with a chance to check their pet for bumps, lumps and skin issues, or look for ticks or spot fleas.
- Spending time petting a cat also helps owners notice when their pet is losing or gaining weight, which should be reported to their veterinary provider.
- It’s enjoyable to relax and snuggle your cat.
Does your cat like to cuddle? Most cats that are cuddled since birth are quite content to sit on their humans’ laps and sleep, but some may simply prefer the security of their own space. Use these tips and insights to be a more informed cuddler—and to identify when your cat is uncomfortable.