June 4: National Hug Your Cat Day

June 4 is national hug your cat day

Do you ever feel that your cat may not like being 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.

A cat we had hated to be held or hugged. The boys 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 ready for a hug on June 5 Hug your cat day.

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?

Woman hugging and kissing happy cat on hug your cat day

Cats show affection with their eyes.

  • Half-closed or closed eyes mean they trust you and are content.
  • Slow blinks mean “I love you.”
No, this cat is not about to spray the cupboards. It’s shaking its tail in happiness.

Cats show happiness with their tails.

  • If a cat is twining their tail around you, that is like holding your hand.
  • If the tip of its tail is curved like a question mark, it is happy and content.
  • 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

  • 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.

  • 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.

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, just as long as they feel secure

Our Cat Charlie

Our newest cat, Charlie, is a stray who adopted us. I feed the birds in the summer and he came by in July looking for dinner. He was emaciated and almost colorless, he was in really bad shape. I felt sorry for him so I started feeding him on my back porch, mostly so he would leave the birds alone.

He was very scared and wouldn’t come within arms length of humans. I started sitting outside with my coffee while he was eating so he would get used to me. Eventually I was permitted to stay close and pet his head for a few seconds before I got the, “Alright that’s enough” look.

By December, he would let me pet him and maybe even pick him up for a few seconds. It was getting cold, so we had to decide if we were going to see if he would like it in the house or prefer the big out doors.

He LOVED it in the house. He never once asked to go back outside, which surprised us.

Charlie turned into the most loving cat I’ve ever seen. He loves to be held, kissed and snuggled. He even tilts his head back so you’ll kiss him on the top of his head. He always reaches out and has to touch me with his paw. He sleeps with his head on the other side of the pillow so we can be eye-to-eye.

He is very connected to me. He literally follows me around the house everywhere I go. He talks NON-STOP. After he’s finished sleeping in the chair, he meows at me to let me know he’s move somewhere else now. As he follows me somewhere, he gives me his opinion while we’re walking. When he jumps out of the window he comes straight over to report what he saw outside. I’m talkative too, so I’ve been told that he’s the perfect cat for me. lol

Our cat charlie reaching out to touch  us while we take his picture.

He is also the most obedient cat ever. He always changes his behavior after being told “No” only once. He’s never offered to walk on tables or counters. I thought it would be difficult to train a stray but there’s an opinion out there that strays are more grateful when they’re adopted and show it with loving obedience. That seems to be true for our Charlie.


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