June 4 Hug Your Cat Day: Here’s How Cats Want to Be Hugged

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It’s National Hug Your Cat Day but what if they don’t like hugs? We show you how to get your cat to allow a hug, and how to know when your cat is showing affection their way.

do you ever feel that your cat doesn't want to be hugged

Not all cats are going to be enthralled with Hug Your Cat Day. Lots of cats don’t like to be hugged.

You pick up your cat and it pushes against you, it squirms, it gives you that look. At best it just hangs there, waiting for it all to be over.

One of our cats hated to be held or hugged. My sons were strong enough to hold him there and make him comply, but he hated every second and gave them that cattitude to tell them that hugs were supposed to be on his terms.

If your cat runs the other way when they see you bend over to pick them up, if they try to get out of your arms or make a growl, they’re trying to tell you hugging is not a good idea.

So, how are you going to hug your cat?

happy cat with woman's finger under chin

Here’s how you can hug them on hug your cat day, or any day:

  1. Talk softly to your cat so they know you want their attention. Surprising them is not the best way to get on their good side!
  2. Put your finger out at the cat’s nose level and if it is interested in snuggles, it will rub up against it.
  3. Pet them gently until they start purring and their eyes half-close as a signal that they are enjoying your attention.
  4. It is best to let them come to you – because cats like everything on their own terms – so if you sit or lay beside them rather than pick them up you might have more success. If they crawl up on your lap, even better.
  5. When you pick them up, they will be more comfortable if they have their four paws against you so the know they will be able to get away when they want.
  6. Cats hate to be restrained, so try not to hug them too tightly.
  7. If they allow you to hold them, praise them and tell them what a good boy/girl they are to reinforce the behavior.
  8. Once they squirm or let you know that the hug is over, let them go so they’ll welcome a hug another time.

How do cats show affection if they don’t really like hugs?

Cats show affection with their eyes.

Half-closed or closed eyes mean they trust you and are content

Half-closed or closed eyes mean they trust you and are content. Slow blinks mean “I love you.” It’s a love blink!

Cats show happiness with their tails.

cat at feet rubbing against legs as a hug

If a cat is twining their tail around you, that is like holding your hand.

cat with question mark tail

If the tip of its tail is curved like a question mark, it is happy and content. This is the perfect time to approach them for a hug.

If the tail is quivering, this is a happy dance!

Cats give hugs by rubbing up against you.

cats give hugs by rubbing up against you
  • If your cat is doing figure 8s around your feet, rubbing up against your legs, they are giving you a cat hug.
  • If your cat is giving you a cheek rub, this is also a hug.
  • If they are doing a cheek rub against the furniture, they are saying they’re happy to be with you. (Cats have scent glands on their cheeks that have pheromones for marking their territory.)

Cats head butt like little goats to show affection.

cat head butting dog to show affection
  • Its officially called head bunting, but also head butting, head bumping or head booping.
  • If a cat considers you family, you get a head butt from them.
  • Cats also have scent glands on their heads, so this is how they mark you as belonging to them.
  • You will quite often see two cats head butting each other if they are being friendly because this is typical social behavior for cats.

Some cats even “talk” to the ones they love.

cat talking to humans
  • cats will purr when they are happy, content and secure – some purr louder than others.
  • some cats are very talkative, looking you right in the eye while making different happy sounds called “trilling”, but not all cats trill.
  • scientists believe cats make “baby” sounds to endear themselves to us

Cats may not like hugging but many want to be touching you.

  • they want to be beside you with one paw or their tail touching you, if not their whole body alongside you
  • some reach for you to get your attention like a kitty high-five
  • they crawl in your lap or will sleep on top of you, when they feel secure
high five cat

Have a wonderful Hug Your Cat Day! I hope these tips on how to get your cat to allow a hug, and how to know when a cat is showing affection makes today even better.

happy hug your cat day

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June 4 Hug Your Cat Day: Here\'s How Cats Want to Be Hugged