Do Cats Like Hugs?

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Nothing is more comforting to humans than a good hug, but do cats like hugs too? Every cat is unique and has their own likes and dislikes, but in general, cats do not enjoy hugs. A hug can actually make her feel anxious rather than loved and comforted.

Every cat is unique and has their own likes and dislikes.
Image Credit: Larisa Stefanuyk/iStock/GettyImages

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Why don't cats like hugs?

Cats can be very affectionate creatures, so why don't cats like hugs? Being restrained can trigger an instinctive fear response in cats. If a cat is restrained by a predator, it can spell serious trouble, so even though you are hugging your cat with affection, he may not see it that way.

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This doesn't mean you can't hug your cat, and some cats may even enjoy the experience, but be aware of your cat's body language and back off if he is getting uncomfortable. There are other ways to show your affection that your cat will enjoy more.

Monitor your cat's response to hugs

If you decide to hug your cat, be sure to monitor her response. If she relaxes and snuggles in, you may have a cat that loves to be hugged. In many cases, a cat may tolerate the hug but prefer another form of attention.

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If your cat gets fearful in the hug, she may hiss and fight to get away from you. In other cases, the signs may be more subtle. She may tense her body and push away from you or crouch down and avert her eyes when you reach to pick her up. A twitching tail is an indication that your cat is getting upset, so it's best to put her down before she gets angry. Other signs your cat may be stressed and wanting to avoid a hug include dilated pupils, tensing, and turning her ears back.

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Cat cuddles and pets

Even if your cat doesn't enjoy a full-on hug, she may love cuddling with you. Cuddles are different in that she is not restrained and is remaining close on purpose. Allow your cat to come to you and make sure her body is supported as she settles in your lap or against your leg.

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You can also pet your cat, again paying attention to body language to know what spots your cat doesn't enjoy. Most cats love to be scratched on the chin, cheeks, or in front of the ears. You can also try stroking your cat gently from her head to her tail, but not all cats like this type of touch. You can also brush your cat if she enjoys that. If your cat is enjoying the interaction, she will likely lean into the scratches, and she may also start purring and may gently close her eyes.

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Other cat interactions

Sometimes, your cat is too full of energy to enjoy hugs and cuddles, but you can still interact with him and deepen your bond. Playing with your cat is a great way to have fun and let him burn off energy. Consider options like a feather wand or laser light that your cat can hunt and chase. A toy mouse he can bat around or a food puzzle can also offer great entertainment and mental stimulation. It is a good idea to rotate his toys to keep him interested and engaged.

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