Cat Suddenly Doesn’t Want To Be Touched

Cat Suddenly Doesn't Want To Be Touched

Cats yearn for human interaction but not all the time. They appreciate being cuddled and touched but only to a certain degree. If your cat suddenly doesn’t want to be touched, be vigilant. Observe and try to find out what triggered her behavior.  You may have touched her at a wrong moment and in an off-limits body area or she may be suffering from chronic pain or health issues.  

Why doesn’t my cat want to be touched suddenly?

Having an affectionate and sweet feline that suddenly doesn’t want to be touched is heartbreaking for a pet parent. Here are the most probable reasons why your cat suddenly doesn’t want to be touched:

1. You may be touching her in the wrong places.

Cats do want to be touched by their humans but only in specific areas of their bodies.  These may include the neck, behind the ears, their chin’s underside, part of the neck and the base of the tail.  Other than these areas, it’s almost always off-limits to human touch.  Thus, your cat may suddenly not want to be touched because you may be touching her belly, which is a certified no-touch zone for most cats. 

2. Your cat may be experiencing pain or health issues.

If your cat doesn’t want to be touched, she may be experiencing physical pain or a medical condition.  They are not much different from humans who avoid interaction or bury themselves under the blanket when not feeling well. A cat’s pain may come from an internal or external problem like wounds, bruises, burns, or osteoarthritis. It may also be due to a swollen rear area after vaccination. 

If you suspect that your cat is in pain, bring her to the vet for a thorough evaluation. Aside from avoiding your touch, these are the other signs that your cat is pain:

  • urinating outside the litter box
  • sleeping more than usual 
  • lack of marking such as jaw rubbing and nail sharpening 
  • loss of interest in self-grooming 
  • protruding nictitating membrane or third eyelid 
  • excessive drooling 
  • aggressiveness 
  • frequent vocalization 
  • manifests pain-relieving positions like hunching over 

3. You may be touching your cat at the wrong moment. 

Your cat may be avoiding you and doesn’t want to be touched because it is just the wrong moment. She may be staring at the window because she saw birds on a nearby tree or she may be busy playing with her toys. She may be in some kind of stress due to fireworks or loud noises and prefers to hide instead of cuddling.  

4. Your cat may be experiencing emotional and mental trauma. 

If your cat suddenly doesn’t want to be touched, it may be due to an emotional or mental trauma.  Cats that were adopted from pet shelters can manifest distrust toward humans.  This is because most of the cats from shelters were either abandoned or got lost. Kittens that were separated too early from their mothers also tend to be aloof and do not enjoy being touched and petted.  

Similarly, cats that have been abused may become scared of humans since they associate danger and pain with people. Usually, it requires the help of a cat behaviorist to correct this behavior.  Fortunately, your cat may eventually adapt and trust humans again. 

5. Your cat may be experiencing personality changes. 

Your cat may suddenly avoid being touched because it may come with her age. This has been observed among kittens that suddenly do not want to be touched as they age and grow older.  It is usually attributed to hormonal changes along with physical development. Similarly, senior cats may suddenly avoid being touched because of feline dementia resulting in changes in their personality. 

6. Your cat may have detected a scent that she hates.

If your cat is usually affectionate and loves to be petted but suddenly doesn’t want to be touched, she may have picked up a scent from you that she finds unpleasant. It could be a lotion, hand cream or a perfume that you’re currently using. Maybe it was lavender or citrus-infused fragrance or lotion that is why your cat is suddenly avoiding you. Check out our earlier article on smells that cats hate for additional information on this.

What to do if my cat suddenly doesn’t want to be touched?

Being avoided by your cat may hurt feelings but understand that cats have unique personalities and temperaments.  Even the most affectionate cat may suddenly avoid you for no specific reason at all.  What you can do is give her time and let her be. Sooner or later,  your cat will interact with you on her terms.

Here are some things that you can do to encourage your cat to be more receptive of your touch:

  1. Eliminate stressors in your home that may lead to a cat’s insecurity. Avoid loud music and unnecessary noises or sudden home changes. 
  2. Establish a feeding schedule for your cat and feed her well. 
  3. Do not scold or physically hurt your cat. 
  4. Wait for your cat to come to you and if she does, pet her minimally and gradually. 
  5. Use positive reinforcement by giving her treats. 
  6. Ensure your cat’s health and well-being through regular vet visits and adhering to deworming and vaccination schedules. 


Your cat may suddenly avoid you and does not want to be touched because you are touching her at the wrong places or due to personality changes. It may also be due to emotional or mental trauma including stress.  However, if you feel that her behavior is due to pain or medical condition, be sure to bring her to the vet at once for a thorough check-up so that the necessary treatment may be given. 

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