When it comes to showing affection to our cats (or any other living being), it is natural for us to show affection through physical touch. Picking up, cuddling, and kissing. But love languages can differ not only from person to person but also from species to species.
So why do cats seem to reject our display of affection when we want to pick them up?
Why your cat hates being picked up: An adult cat might have a hard time accepting your form of affection because it is unnatural to them. Secondly, being held is a restrictive act – and we all know cats love their freedom. When they are restricted, they feel threatened and hence, they want to flee from us.
Heard of this phrase, “if you love me, let me go”? This applies aptly on cats when it comes to affection.
However, it is not true for all cats. Some cats are indeed cuddly and needy. Can we transform our heartbreakers into more ‘affectionate’ felines? Yes! But first, let’s understand where this behavior is coming from.
Being Picked Is An Unnatural Way Of Affection For Them
If you observe closely, you would notice that cats are generally not picked. When it comes to adult cats, they feel more secure being on their four paws than being picked up.
Picking them up like babies activates a feeling of threat. We are, naturally, a predator to them and they are prey. Now that we have collectively decided to keep them as pets, they don’t seem to get the same message.
For them, more natural ways of affection are head bunting, them curling their tail on your legs while excitedly asking for food, being fed, and some playtime. But they want to do all that knowing that they are independent.
The streak of independence is really strong in them than in dogs.
They Perceive It As A Threat
Being held translates to being restricted. That is often true when it comes to handling cats. For example, you hold them when you
– do not want them to enter a certain room
– do not want them to flee when they are getting their shots
– do not want them to run away when they are having a bath, etc.
All these are perceived as threats to them. Although your intentions might be good, they don’t fully trust you.
If you train them to trust you enough, they can become more domesticated than the rest. Sometimes, there are certain breeds of cats that are more friendly and trusting than the other.
If you are patient enough to wait on them to trust you, understand their love language, and try not to punish or mold them into loving you the way you want, you can witness a miracle.
How To Teach Them To Love Being Held
Even though cats do not love being held or kissed, they can certainly tolerate you when you show them affection. You cannot expect them to show you affection every time and in the way you want.
However, they can at least learn how to be more patient with you as much as you are with them. Is this deal good enough for you? Then read on to know how we can trick them into loving (tolerating) us more:
Make them accustomed to your touch
Never force a cat to stay with you. When it is in a relaxed state, call them in a calm and soothing voice. Next, invite them to come and sit on your lap.
If they don’t want to jump to your lap, just pet them with long strokes from their head to tail. Do this 3-4 times a day for over a minute.
Offer them treat for a positive reaction
If they have had a negative experience while being held before, then you need to swap it with a positive one. Make them sit on your lap gently. When they do sit on your lap, praise them, pet them, and give them a treat.
Allow them to jump back to the floor if they want. They will start to associate sitting on your lap with a positive experience.
Keep feeding their positive experiences gradually
Don’t overwhelm them with too much attention, touching, and treats. They might get confused. Just do it gradually enough so that they start tolerating being touched.
Within a month or so, your cat should be able to like it better. Incorporate a little bit of touch during their playtime as well.
Do not rush the process or punish them
Do not punish them when they want to get away from you. They might learn to tolerate you but sometimes, they don’t want to be picked. Respect their choice and leave them be for a while.
The more you give them freedom, the more they come meowing to you. Try not to force your love and affection on them. Be gentle, be caring, and most importantly, be respectful of their space.
Understanding Cat’s Love Language
Cats are not really obvious when it comes to showing affection. They either are all over you or cannot be bothered with your presence. How would you get an idea if they love you or not?
These are the signs that your cat loves you even though it might not be very obvious.
- They move around more when you are around. They would start playing with things; try to get your attention while not being very obvious.
When you are not around, they might not be motivated to play and would sit at one place, waiting for you. This is not true for all cats, but most of them behave this way.
- They show you their belly as a sign of trust and a sense of comfort with you.
- Their tail tells it all. They would curl their tail around you and in some way, they would swing their tail swiftly while touching you with it.
- You can hear deep purrs when they are around you or when you pet them.
- They get vocal and try to ‘talk’ to you with their constant meowing chatters.
- They try to lick you in the process of ‘grooming’ you.
- They paw on you and nibble on your hand to show affection. Do not punish them for that. If it hurts you, gently move your hand away.
You can also say ‘ow’, ‘ouch’ a little loudly to let them know that it hurts you. They generally keep that in mind and try to be gentler.
- They rub their cheeks on you and head-bunt you.
- They bring you gifts they ‘hunted’. It could range from a dead rat to a rattling bunch of leaves they found to be interesting.
Which breeds of cats are more affectionate? Scottish Fold, Tonkinese, Ragdolls, Sphynx, Siamese, Bombay, Burmese, and Kurilian Bobtail cats are known to be more affectionate. They love being social and being held. You can keep them in your lap all day and they will not complain.
Do cats feel love when they are kissed? Either cats love being held, will kiss you back in their way, or they wouldn’t at all. The answer would be very obvious to you if you try this with your cat. They can tolerate being kissed and take it as a sign of affection. But their reciprocation is dependent on their own persona.
Do cats have a favorite person? Yes, cats do have a favorite human. They mostly trust those who spend more time with them, play with them, and feed them. They grow a connection with them and would get anxious if they are not around. They are very picky – and if they choose you, you are lucky.