Cats are sociable and affectionate but they can also be unpredictable. Your usually friendly cat suddenly becomes aloof, runs away from you, and avoids you as much as she can. This can be heartbreaking for you especially if this happens all of a sudden.
Your cat may not like to be touched because she may be in pain or stressed. It may also be because of the way she was raised by a former owner. She may also be avoiding your touch simply because you are petting her at the wrong places.
My cat doesn’t like to be touched: What are the reasons
Here are the common reasons why cats don’t like to be touched:
Your cat may be in pain.
Your cat does not want to be touched especially if they are in pain. A cat with a bad hip, an abscess on the back, or a bruised leg does not feel good although it may just be a gentle pat. Cats are good at disguising pain and you do not have a way of knowing until you try to pet them and they lash back with a warning sound or they may run and hide.
It may be because of the way your cat was raised.
Did you adopt your cat from a local pet shelter? Most likely, your cat’s former owner did not often hold or petted her when she was still a kitten. Cats that were raised by owners who constantly cuddled them are more receptive to petting and playtime sessions. If your cat was previously a stray one, she may also have reservations of being touched especially if she was on her own with little human interaction for quite a while.
Your cat may be stressed.
Your cat may be avoiding human touch because she is stressed or anxious. This usually happens when there are abrupt changes in her routine or at home. You may have a new dog or another cat around, you had a recent home remodeling, or a relative came for a visit. These and more could stress out a cat and it may take a while before she gets used to the changes.
Your cat does not want to be touched in certain areas.
While most cats like to be petted, your cat may be one of those felines that do not want to be touched in certain areas like their face or near the neck. Other cats do not like to be touched in the belly area, some cats take a long time before they warm up while some others will let you hold them for just a few moments. This just goes to show that each cat is unique and each one has a certain preference of where they want to be touched.
These are the four good areas to hold a cat according to cat experts:
- cheeks, behind the whiskers
- the base of your cat’s ears
- the base of her tail
- the base of your cat’s chin
Your cat may be scared or excited that is why she does not want to be touched.
There are instances when a cat suddenly becomes scared such as during a thunderstorm or when there are sudden, loud noises at home like banging doors. If you attempt to hold her during such times you may be disappointed, Scared felines often are not too keen to be touched.
There will also be occasions where people will be the cause of a cat’s fear. She may back off, hide, and burrow under blankets. What you can do is to just let her be and leave her to her elements. Your cat will eventually calm down and will allow you to pet her on her terms.
An excited cat most often does not want to be touched, too. This usually happens when she is engrossed in active playtime and usually runs around like crazy. Attempting to hold or touch her at this particular time may not end up well for you as she may tend to smack or give you a little nip.
My cat doesn’t like to be touched: What to do
Holding or touching your cat against her will may only result in aggressive behavior. Cat experts agree that the best approach to win your cat’s affection is not to insist on her interaction. What you can do is to encourage her to come to you. Never hold, touch, or cuddle a cat against her will but greet your cat that will allow her the choice of communicating with you.
If your cat is a few feet away from you, try to sit or crouch so you are at the same level as her. Try to extend your finger toward her at the cat-nose level but do not approach her. If your cat decides to interact, she will come up to your finger and touch it with her nose and will turn her head until your finger is on her cheek. This is a sign that it is okay for you to pet her and if she responds well, try to put your hand around her as if you are about to lift her.
Once you feel that your cat does not want to be touched or held, stop interacting with her. Give her a treat if you notice that she is in a relaxed position and encourage her to come to your lap without holding her. If she stands or sits on your lap, reward her with more treats so she will associate laps with a positive experience.
If your cat stays calm in your lap, start holding her for at least a few seconds, giving her treats now and then. If you feel that he does not want to be stroked, release your hold or safely place him on the floor. The process may take countless times before your cat will start to warm up on you and be willing to be cuddled and touched.
Every cat has a unique personality and temperament and your cat is not much different. If she doesn’t like to be touched, do not feel bad but understand that it is part of a cat’s behavior. While they may be sociable not everyone will warm up instantly to you just as humans need some time to trust another person. Your cat may not want to be touched for certain reasons like stress or due to pain or upbringing, but she will eventually be up to it with a little patience and plenty of love from you.
Image: istockphoto.com / cynoclub