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Why Do Cats Like to Cuddle So Much? 7 Likely Reasons


Apr 25, 2023
Furry tabby cat lying on its owner


Furry tabby cat lying on its owner's lap

Cats are stunning animals and beloved pets for families around the world. While some may believe that cats are distant and uninterested in humans, many felines actually love to cuddle with their owners.

But why do cats like to cuddle so much?

There are various reasons, with the most common ones being to feel safe, stay warm, and get your attention. Your cat may also cuddle with you to strengthen your bond, show love and affection, or ask for something.

In this article, we discuss why cats like cuddles, if specific breeds are cuddlier than others, the benefits of cuddling with your cat, and why some cats dislike cuddling.



The 7 Reasons That Cats Like to Cuddle

1. To Feel Safe and Protected

Cats need a place where they can relax and unwind while knowing that they’re safe and protected. Most cats that feel close to their owners and have been cuddling since they were kittens will likely also exhibit the same behavior in adulthood.

Your cat considers you a safe person who’s always there for them, which is why they like to cuddle and nap in your lap for security and protection.

Holding Cat
Image Credit: Ann Kosolapova, Shutterstock

2. To Stay Warm

Many cats, especially kittens, like to cuddle to stay warm; kittens are unable to regulate their body temperature until they’re about 4 weeks old,1 which is why cuddling up with you seems like the perfect way to get necessary warmth and feel love and companionship.

Cuddling is a learned behavior, so if you cuddle with your feline from a young age, the chances for your feline to be cuddly in adulthood are higher.

3. To Get a Better View

Due to their territorial nature, cats like to climb to high places to get a better view of their surroundings. If your home doesn’t have high shelves, closets, or places where a cat can climb, they may simply jump onto your lap instead.

Woman holding up a ginger cat
Image Credit: Marlia Boiko, Shutterstock

4. To Get Your Attention

Felines that feel neglected will jump in your lap and start to cuddle as a way to get your attention. They may do this while you’re watching TV, cooking, or reading a book. If you notice this behavior in your cat, you should consider playing and cuddling with your furry friend more often to strengthen your bond.

Some cats may display aggressive behavior if you don’t pay attention to them, even after they try to cuddle with you. It’s essential to always show your pet that they can feel safe, loved, and protected around you.

5. To Bond and Show Love and Affection

Cats are often mischievous, and many of them don’t like to cuddle unless they have an ulterior motive, like to get warm or have a better view. However, some felines simply like to cuddle with their owners to bond with them and show love and affection.

Many cats will be especially cuddly if they haven’t seen their owner for a while or have been separated for a while. It’s also common for some cats to greet their owners by cuddling with them after a long day of work or an exhausting training session at the gym.

woman holding and stroking a purring cat
Image Credit: Gadzick, Shutterstock


6. To Ask for Something

Cats that are thirsty or hungry or want to play may try to “ask” you for those things by jumping in your lap. They will cuddle with you for a short period and then point out the activity they’d like to perform. Since cats can’t talk, getting your attention by cuddling is an efficient way for them to ask for something and get what they want.


3 Benefits of Cuddling With Your Cat

Cuddling is a loving activity that enables you to bond with your cat and show affection. It has other benefits too, such as improving your health and the health of your pet.

Here is a list of the three most important benefits of cuddling with your cat.

1. Reduces Stress and Anxiety

Cats are excellent human companions, and cuddling with them helps us feel safe and can reduce stress and anxiety. Feline presence around humans, especially while cuddling and purring, has a positive impact on our mental health and an abundance of benefits for our brain and body.

Cuddling with a cat will increase oxytocin levels and reduce cortisol levels in both you and the cat, meaning you’ll both be relaxed, happy, and content.

2. Lowers Blood Pressure

Cuddling with your feline can positively affect your blood pressure and heart. Simply petting a cat will lower your blood pressure, helping you remain calm and reduce negative feelings and thoughts.

Since it helps you lower your blood pressure, it also reduces the chances of heart-related issues and even heart attacks.

white cat with the owner
Image Credit: New Africa, Shutterstock

3. Improves Overall Health in Cats and Humans

Cuddling can have a good impact on our general health and the overall health of our cats. Since cuddling increases oxytocin and reduces cortisol levels, it makes people and animals calmer, more content and happier, and generally less stressed and anxious. It positively affects many things in our and our cat’s bodies, from the brain to the heart.

Cuddling can help people live better and happier lives, which is why they’re commonly used as emotional-support animals.


Why Do Some Cats Like to Cuddle More Than Others?

Every cat is different, so not every feline will have the same desires. The cuddly side of your cat depends on multiple factors, including their genetics, personality, behavior, and the environment that they grow up in.

Cats that are socialized and introduced to other humans and animals from a young age typically become more friendly and confident during adulthood.

Although the cuddly side of your felines may vary based on their personalities and breed, cuddling and affectionate behaviors can be learned. If you cuddle with your kittens and handle them early on, they should also be cuddly in adulthood.

Do Specific Cat Breeds Like to Cuddle More Than Others?

Genetics has a role in determining the temperament of your kitten, including their cuddly side and affectionate behaviors. The breed of your cat can’t guarantee that they will be cuddly, but some breeds are considered more affectionate than others due to their relaxed temperaments and low energy levels.

Cat breeds that are typically classified as affectionate:

Although these cats are more prone to be cuddly, remember that cuddling is a learned behavior. Even these breeds need to be cuddled from a young age in order to like it once they grow older.

cat owner looking at her pet
Image Credit: U__Photo, Shutterstock

Do All Cats Like to Cuddle With Their Owners?

Not all cats like to cuddle with their owners, and this is not unusual, as even those that do like to cuddle typically don’t do it for too long. So, if your cat has a somewhat shy temperament or simply doesn’t like to cuddle, that’s entirely normal behavior.

If you’d still like to cuddle with your cat, you can try to slowly develop the habit in your feline.

What Should You Do If Your Cat Doesn’t Like to Cuddle?

If your cat doesn’t like to cuddle, you can try to strengthen your bond and help your feline feel comfortable in your lap. You can start by handling and picking up your cat more often, showing that you’re a safe person who can be trusted. By you showing them affection and love, your feline should start to feel more comfortable and become cuddlier.

However, if you notice your cat getting scared or anxious during these attempts, it’s best not to continue. Forcing your cat to cuddle may lead to multiple problems, causing stress and reducing your chances of ever cuddling with your cat again.


Final Thoughts

Every cat is different, and every feline has a different reason for cuddling. Some cats like to cuddle to bond with us, stay warm, or get our attention, while others do it to show love and affection or get a better view.

Regardless of the reason, cuddling with cats has a positive effect on both them and us. Keep in mind, though, that many cats don’t like to cuddle for long periods, so cherish this bonding activity while it lasts, and enjoy the peace that you feel while cuddling with your kitty.

Featured Image Credit: Impact Photography, Shutterstock

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