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Do Cats Like Hugs?

June 4th is National Hug Your Cat Day - but is this a micro-holiday your cat actually wants to observe?

It’s hard to resist scooping up your warm, fluffy kitty for a hug. But while most cats love snuggling up to their favorite humans, they might not be as receptive to feeling squished. Hugs may come naturally to us, but we sometimes have to learn our cat’s love languages to keep those purrs coming.

How To Tell If Your Cat Likes Hugs
Though your cat is a fuzzy ball of instincts and wild tendencies, snuggles are definitely a part of their DNA. Cats snuggle to feel safe and stay warm as kittens when they’re still with their litter, and they keep those cuddly tendencies throughout their lifetime.

But cats generally prefer to have the opportunity to get away at any moment. A quick squeeze and a smooch may be tolerable to a cat who trusts you, but some cats just don’t like being constricted.

To figure out if your cat truly likes hugs, watch their body language as you pull them in for a snuggle. Do they purr and rub up against you? Or do they lower their head and flatten their ears? An annoyed cat may also swish their tail, and their pupils may dilate.

Many cats love to be hugged. Certain breeds like Ragdolls, Siamese, and Maine Coons are known for being cuddly. Cats that have been socialized from a very young age tend to be cuddlier than former strays. Some cats will even wrap their paws around you with a hug of their own.

Can A Cat Be Taught To Like Hugs?
If you’re cat is newly adopted, you may not get to know their true personality until they’ve lived with you for a few months. Some cats are shy at first, but become total cuddle-bugs once they learn they can trust you. If you allow your cat to approach you for attention on their own terms, and let them leave when they’re finished being cuddled, they’re likely to develop a positive association with physical affection.

Some cats never become very cuddly, but show affection in other ways. They may prefer to face against you, releasing calming pheromones in their cheeks. They might lick you. They may also knead next to you, or even on you, when they’re feeling happy and relaxed. These are all ways your cat tells you that they love and trust you.

So, maybe your cat won’t mind a quick squeeze on National Hug Your Cat Day. For others, curling up in your lap is the perfect parallel to a great big hug.