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Why won’t my cat let me touch him?

In this blog we look at why your cat won’t tolerate your touch. Here’s a heads up before we get into it…it’s NOT about you!

Cats are not a toy.

We have had cats in my family for as long as I can remember. I have been brought up with feline friends all around me. I was never taught how to approach a cat. How to offer my hand. How to respect their boundaries. This is only something that I have come to learn and observe since having my own cat Pickle. The reason I learnt about boundaries with cats is because she was VERY clear about hers!

The first day I brought her home from the rescue centre I went to head rub her and she bit my nose! And so the lessons began.

Now with Leo and Baby Max they have VERY different ideas about how much physical touch they will tolerate.

Baby Max comes in from outside and brushes against my leg and will continue to do so until I bend down to stroke him. Once I have touched him he rolls over onto his side (or as we call it…a Baby Max down), ready for his side or tummy – or both – to be touched some more.

Heaven right!

I feel lucky and honoured that Baby Max will a) tolerate such touch and b) seems to enjoy it.

Leo is the cat that continues to teach me. Every. Single. Day.

They deserve respect and boundaries.

When we brought Leo home any sign of a hand coming towards him and he would run and hide, or occasionally reach up with his paw to bat it away.

In time we have worked together so that he will tolerate and enjoy touch to his head and neck. It has taken time. I mean a couple of years. We go at his pace.

In the last few months he has started to accept and enjoy brushes! Something I never thought I would see. Last weekend he even came and laid on my chest with his throat over my mouth. The most intimate of connections.

Leo will accept touch when he can. When he wants it. When he can receive it.

Would you like forced contact?

Frequently I will go to stroke Leo, and he does one of the following:

 Runs away from me.
Backs away from my hand.
Looks at me like I’ve got a torch of fire that I’m brandishing towards him.
Slinks under my hand.

Does your cat do any of these? I asked Leo in a recent cat communication session with him why he does this. His answer was:

‘I can’t receive you.’

That was it. Short. Simple. To the point.

You can see more from Leo here: Lessons from Leo

I’m a hugger. When I see friends and family I like to give them a hug. BUT there are times when I don’t want to be touched or held by anyone. And there are some people that just don’t feel right so I definitely don’t want to hug them.

I get to choose. Who I touch. Who I embrace. Who I let into my personal space and energy field.

Why shouldn’t cats do the same?

 They are not toys for us to pet when we feel like it.
 There are not for our amusement.
They do not need to do what we want them to do.
It is not their responsibility to comfort us when we need it.

The next time your cat slinks away from your hand or runs away from you … don’t take it personally. It’s not about you.

It’s not a rejection. It’s not a refusal of love.

It is simply that they can’t receive you. And we shouldn’t force them to.

Offer your hand, or a finger. Be open with your body posture and embrace.

Let the cat come to you, if they want to.

Give your cat a voice, give them a choice in how they interact with you.

Respect your cat and their capacity for touch. When you approach them from a place of openness and respect … you’ll be amazed how it will transform your relationship with them.

They are not our toys, playthings or pets.

They are a sensitive, sentient being who deserves to set boundaries and have those boundaries respected.

If you feel rejected by your cat when you go to stroke or touch them…you need to take a look at yourself. What emotion does that bring up for you? Where does that come from?

The cat isn’t bad or wrong for not wanting touch. They are not hurting you, rejecting you or being mean to you.

They simply can’t receive you in that moment.

I’d love to know how this blog has resonated for you.

Feel free to email me and let me know:

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



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