VCA Animal Hospitals

Why won't my cat cuddle with me?

Published: Aug 22, 2012

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Cats are highly independent animals, but even the most independent cat enjoys cuddling up on his owner for a good petting session. If your once-cuddly cat seems standoffish, or if you adopted a feline that does not seem to like attention, there are a number of reasons that could be behind the behavior.

He might be in pain

If your cat used to be the kind who enjoyed cuddling but is suddenly avoiding your touch, something physical may be going on. Cats tend to hide their pain as a survival mechanism, so you may not know that something is wrong right away, according to VCA Animal Hospitals. However, some of the signs of pain in cats include resisting handling or being picked up, aggression when approached or handled and unexpected reactions when touched. If this is the case with your cat, you should bring him to see the veterinarian to determine whether there is a physical problem that needs to be treated.

He might not be in the mood

If all physical injuries are ruled out and your cat still won't cuddle, he might just not be in the mood. Cat aggression can be triggered when an owner tries to cuddle or pet a cat when he is not in a snuggly mood. Any cat owner knows that these independent animals march to the beat of their own drum, which means eating, playing and sleeping is done on their time. Cuddling is the same way. Try allowing the cat to come to you, instead of picking him up while he was sleeping or doing another activity.

He might have had a traumatic past

If your adopted cat isn't snuggly at first, his past may be to blame. Cats who were handled aggressively as kittens or cuddled then punished in some way may have a negative association with cuddling and touching in general. In this case, it is important to start slow and create a positive association for the cat. Always allow your cat to come to you for cuddling as opposed to forcing it, which may instill even more fear. When he allows you to pet him, offer a treat. You could also try petting him just before a meal so he associates petting with a positive experience like food.

Some cats may just not like being picked up, and that is an aspect of their personalities you may need to accept. 


General Practice

We have over 540 animal hospitals in 41 states that are staffed by more than 2,000 fully qualified, dedicated and compassionate veterinarians, with more than 200 being board-certified specialists. The nationwide VCA family of general practice hospitals give your pet the very best in medical care, providing a full range of general medical and surgical services as well as specialized treatments*: Wellness, Spay/neuter, Advanced diagnostic services (MRI/CT Scan), Internal medicine, Oncology, Ophthalmology, Dermatology, Cardiology, Neurology, Boarding, Grooming

*services may vary by location.

Our family of pet hospitals stands out by delivering the greatest resources in order provide the highest quality care available for your pets. By maintaining the highest standards of pet health care available anywhere, we emphasize prevention as well as healing. We provide continuing education programs to our doctors and staff and promote the open exchange of professional knowledge and expertise. And finally, we have established a consistent program of procedures and techniques, proven to be the most effective in keeping pets healthy.

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Specialty Care

Sometimes sick or injured pets need the care of a veterinary medical specialist. When that happens, VCA specialty hospitals work closely with the general practitioner veterinarians who refer cases to us in order to provide seamless veterinary care to your pet. When your pet is facing any kind of serious illness or injury, our specialty referral hospitals will provide the compassionate and expert care your beloved pet needs.

Our goal is to make sure that when you and your pet are in need that you have access to board certified specialists who are up to date on the very latest developments in their field. In our state of the art hospitals, our specialists also have access to the most sophisticated diagnostic and treatment tools and techniques from ultrasonography and endoscopy to CAT scans and even MRI.

We have twenty-eight specialty hospitals across the US so there may be one near you. Our specialized services include: cardiology, critical care, dentistry, dermatology, internal medicine, neurology, oncology, ophthalmology, radiology and surgery.

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Emergency Care

In case of emergency, please call us immediately. If it is after hours, check with a local animal hospital emergency clinic.