Mindful Monday – How to Hug a Cat

Last Thursday we celebrated National Hug Your Cat Day. And I imagine that most of you with cats (and that’s probably most of you) did hug your cat that day and almost every other day of the year. But what does that hug consist of? Is your cat comfortable being picked up? Some of the most huggable-looking cats are not, unfortunately. As you know, if you’ve had very many cats in your lifetime, they each come with their own level of affection and/or aloofness. Right?

I’ve had cats that love, love, loved to be cradled and handled and smooched on. Others, not so much.

Who doesn’t adore gently massaging a cat or even just a paw? I love kitty-cat paws. Katy, my Himalayan, had big, fat paws and she adored having me pet them. She wasn’t a lap-sitter, but she often sat next to me in a chair or on the sofa and always with one paw resting on my leg or arm—touching me. She also liked to sleep on my pillow with me at night. LOVED those moments.

Winfield liked being held in your arms like a baby. It didn’t matter who held him—stranger or friend or us—he would relax in your arms and purr as you walked around the room or sat with him. Sweet.

Some cats don’t want to be restrained in anyway. They’re awkward to pick up and hold. If you manage to get them into your arms, they stiffen and seem to stop breathing until you finally let them go. Then they might rub against you lovingly and welcome a ruffling of fur around their neck. Some cats will take a complete lick-bath after a vigorous petting session.

So what is the best way to show your love and affection to your cat? As many of you have learned, it depends on the cat. It’s what she wants—how she wants it done—what she will tolerate and even enjoy. With our Sophie, it’s a lot of petting and neck-scratches and massaging, but don’t try to pick her up.

Lily loved the fur-ruffling around the neck and head. She also welcomed long petting strokes all over her kitty-cat body. She enjoyed it when I got on the floor with her and gave her lots of kitty-kisses and massages. But she didn’t appreciate being picked up and held. That was outside her comfort zone. She’d become rigid and, it seemed, worried about what might happen—was she going to get her nails trimmed or maybe have her ears treated or get medication or, heaven forbid, be put into the carrier and taken someplace?

How does your cat display his or her comfort level when it comes to your display of affection?


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One Response to Mindful Monday – How to Hug a Cat

  1. Betsy Pompi says:

    We have two cats who are completely different in the aspect of personal boundaries. Our
    Lucy likes being held like a baby and she will sit with me in a chair in the crook of my arm for hours being held like that and loved. Zoey (who is 2 years older, but with us 2la years later) has always hated being picked up and held and squeezed and loved. I’ve always said that she had trust issues. She has watched me handle Lucy over the years and will finally let me hug her and kiss her. She will even relax while I do it. But when I am finished she gets out of there ASAP! I do so love to pull her chain occasionally. And she is a great cat to really hug!

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