As much as we cat owners want to spend our entire day squishing our cats in our arms while they scramble to break free ... well, we know that's not possible. Mainly because we have jobs and responsibilities, but also because cats aren't exactly known for liking hugs.
As "crazy cat person" as it sounds, when it comes to hugging your cat, it is all about respecting what your cat wants. With just a little bit of respect, you'll find your cat cuddles will launch to a whole new level. In the words of Aretha Franklin, R-E-S-P-E-C-T, find out what it means to me ... ow.
Respect Your Cat's Personal Space
Or should we say purrsonal space? Cats are often mislabeled as aloof or unfriendly, not unlike humans that classify themselves as introverted. These cats (and humans) just tend to value their time alone and can get stressed out when their personal space is invaded. Even if your cat acts like a Velcro kitty and never leaves your side, they still need their personal space - and they still want to have control over cuddle time.
Don’t force things. Cats should never be chased or forcibly held down against their will - it can lead to agitation, stress, and in some cases, make your cat fearful of you.
Respect the Signals
Understanding cats is essentially understanding that they communicate almost entirely through body language. Pay close attention to their ears, whiskers, and tails. A cat with its ears and whiskers pointed forward and its tail held high is a friendly feline ready to say hello. A cat that's curled up with its tail pulled tight around them with ears back and whiskers flat is a cat that doesn't want to be touched - they want to be left alone.
Respect the No-Pet Zones
Like some humans are ticklish in some spots and not others, cats might have certain areas that are sensitive; we call them the "No-Pet Zones."
Generally, cats like to be pet by the base of their tail and around their muzzles and chin. This likely stems from the fact that cats have scent glands in these areas and like to rub their scent all over the things they love - including you.
Gently stroking the top of their head between their ears might also be a sweet spot for some kitties, as this reminds them of getting groomed by their mother's when they were kittens.
An older cat might have arthritis and certain areas may actually be painful when it comes to petting. Be gentle and keep this in mind if your older cat suddenly starts pawing at you when you pet her in her favorite part.