Skip to content

Why won’t my cat cuddle me?

Do you wish you had a cuddly cat? Have you ever wondered why your cat won’t cuddle you? In this blog we will take a look at why your cat won’t snuggle.

I have been working with cats and their guardians for over 15 years. I have yet to meet a cat guardian who isn’t bothered about having cuddles with their cat. Maybe it’s because these gorgeous beings are so soft to touch (even the furless ones have a cute fuzz all over their body). Maybe it’s because cats are cuddly toy size? Who knows why we crave so much love, contact and affection from our feline friends.

Back away human

As much as we want, wish for and dream about cuddles with our cat, they may have other ideas! And this is something that we need to understand so that we can give our cat the respect it deserves.

As cat guardians we owe it to our cats to do the best we can for them. To give them all they need. This may include personal space or a lack of physical touch.

Cats can be very clear about what they need, we just need to ensure we are paying attention!

Have you ever been hissed at, scratched by or swiped at by your cat? I have.

I’ve tried to give Leo cuddles and he will literally run away from me! It’s like I’m coming towards him with a giant ball of fire or something. I’ve picked up Baby Max when I’ve come home and squished my face into him.

I’m not proud of it, but I have subjected both my cats to unwanted cuddles. Why? Because I love them, because I’ve missed them and because cuddles is a way I show love.

But I’m human. My boys are not.

What we need to remember is that humans may show love, affection or kindness through a cuddle, but this isn’t a default behaviour for a cat.

Why aren’t all cats cuddly?

Some of us may have been lucky enough to enjoy lap, chest or head cuddle from a cat.

This could be a regular occurrence for you and if that’s the case I am soooo pleased for you. For the rest of us, we need to take time to look at the love we do get from our cats and stop looking at what we don’t get. Sometimes it’s just about a shift in perspective. More on this in a moment.

In this list I’ve detailed why some cats may not want/tolerate or be able to accept physical touch:

Previously feral – The cat may not know what a cuddle or even human touch is, let alone be able to accept it.
 Stray The cat may need time to re-adjust being around humans.
Abused – If the cat has been mentally, physically or emotionally abused it may never be able to receive human touch.
Pain – The cat may be in physical pain and therefore can not have anything touching it.
Personality – The cat may not want it.

I know this last point may be hard for some of you to read but as I always say, each cat is unique. An individual.

Who are we to dictate how our cats should act?

Who are we to determine what our cats should and should not do?

We are no better than them. We are humans they are cats. We are not the better/higher ranking/more righteous species (in my opinion).

We are two species asking each other to coexist together. And part of that is understanding and accepting the beings we are living with.

Are all humans cuddly? Goodness no. Do we force other humans to tolerate our touch or physical interaction…I hope not!

Why are cats different?

By now you might be thinking, well come on Julie-Anne you said we shouldn’t force touch onto our cats, yet you said earlier on in the blog that you have given both your boys  unwanted cuddles?!


Well for Leo, I only do it once or twice a month. That is because whenever I pick him up he freezes. Of course I don’t want my boy to be in that state, however I need to be able to pick him up because as/when he needs to go to the vet I need to get him there. The vet needs to be able to touch him. When we go to the vet Leo goes into TOTAL shut down mode and has to have a blanket over his face to manage being around other humans.

For those of you that don’t know, he was feral for the first 18 months of his life. I have no idea how much (if any) socialisation he had with humans in his early years. He will come and sit on my chest a couple of times a month. When he wants to. He will brush up against my leg in the kitchen. He will give me copious amounts of eye kisses.

Leo loves at a distance most of the time.

I have, eventually, come to love and respect his way of showing me love. I treasure the beloved chest cuddles as and when I get them.

Baby Max is the polar opposite of Leo. He is a very aloof, chilled and cuddly cat. He will roll over onto his back to have his tummy stroked when people come in the front door. He does give me lap cuddles sometimes once a day. I pick him up for cuddles when I get home because he lets me. After a couple of seconds of kisses he starts to purr. And if he doesn’t I put him straight down and see how he wants to receive me. Usually by rolling onto his back so we have tummy strokes instead. (Have you seen how fluffy his tummy is!?)

If he froze like Leo I wouldn’t be doing it.

What about your cat?

So what is your cat like?

Can they accept your touch? If not what other ways to they show you love?

Are they a leg booper? A head butter? Are they a hand holder?

Remember that wishing for a cuddly cat may put continuous and expansive holes in your relationship with your cat. Instead of looking at what you don’t have with them. Shift it.

Look at what you do have. How do they show up for you?

Your cat may not be a cuddly cat, but I bet you they do love you and they show that in their own unique way.

I hope you have enjoyed this blog.

Feel free to get in touch and tell me how your cat shows you they love you.

Pictures of all cats welcome!

With Love,
Julie-Anne, Leo and Baby Max xxx


Thumbnail image by Photo by Sam Lion

All Blogs by Julie-Anne Thorne

Is it normal to prefer cats to humans?

In this blog we are going to discuss the subject about preferring time with our feline friends over humans. Looking at why we want to spend more time with our cats over other people, and how society views us for that!

Read More »

Leo’s eclipse message

In this blog I’ll share with you the communication that Leo gave me when I was journaling during the recent eclipse. As I was mid-session, writing out my own thoughts, he took over and gave me a download. He has since asked me that I share it wider with you, the Naturally Cats Community, so here we go:

Read More »

Soul loss in cats

In this guest blog Linda Roberts, Shaman and animal communicator shares with us what soul loss is and how it can affect our feline friends.

Read More »