Why Do Cats Like to Cuddle?

Cat cuddling owner on bed

There are plenty of misconceptions about a cat’s temperament that you could see floating around on the internet or when you talk to someone about adopting these feline creatures.

While many people assume that these furry animals like to maintain their distance from human beings and want to be left alone, the reality is quite different from this.

If you have had cats around you in the past, you already know how much they enjoy cuddling with their humans. However, you may be wondering why they enjoy this act of snuggling as much as they do and we have answers for you!

Cat Breeds and Cuddling Tendencies

First and foremost, it is important to understand that there are many different breeds of cats and their propensity for cuddling may increase or decrease with each and every breed.

For example, you may have a very active cat — for example, a Bengal cat or an Abyssinian cat — that doesn’t enjoy its mobility being curtailed by the act of cuddling. On the other hand, you may notice that the more relaxed breeds like Persian cats and Rag dolls enjoy some downtime with tons of cuddling.

Their inherent tendency may not be the only reason why some cats love cuddling while others are averse to it. The other reasons will be discussed in a later section in more detail, but before we get to that, it is important to understand the many reasons why cats like to cuddle and how this exercise may benefit your furry — or not-so-furry — friends.

Major Reasons Why Cats Cuddle

You may have noticed that your cat jumps into bed to spend some relaxing time cuddling with you, but have you given enough thought to why this is the case? There are multiple reasons why cats cuddle with their humans and some of the more important ones out of these are discussed in this section.


In the initial phase of their lives, when they are under 3 weeks of age, kittens do not have the capability of regulating their own body temperature. Even after that, maintaining optimum body temperature can be particularly hard.

For this reason, it is very common for cats — especially kittens — to seek out cozy and soft spaces that they believe to be warm and safe. While the mother is the go-to choice of kittens at this point, they also seek out your lap for a nap once they are comfortable around you.


If you notice the behavior of young kittens, you may see that a bunch of them get together and sleep so that they not only stay warm but also safe. Safety is a major reason why kittens look out for your lap or put themselves up against your body to seek some warmth and protection. As and when they grow up, they display a large number of the same instincts that they have inculcated over time.

Companionship and Bonding

If you have a new kitten — or adult cat — that you have recently adopted and brought home, you may notice that it takes time to get comfortable with you. It may not enjoy being picked up or playing with you during this phase.

However, an exercise that new cats tend to indulge in is cuddling. It may enjoy coming close to you and cuddling up in your lap to form a type of bond with the owner. Here, it is important that you stay calm and let the cat do all the work.


Finally, regardless of what notions you may already hold, cats love getting attention from their owners. This may manifest in positive or negative ways, so it is important that you encourage positive displays of attention like cuddling.

When your cat comes up to you and snuggles, it is important that you make an attempt to shower it with attention. If such behavior is ignored, you may notice that the cat gets agitated and uses techniques like scratching or meowing to get your attention.

Benefits of Cuddles

There are many different benefits of cuddling and these aren’t just limited to the cats but also extend to the human beings that are surrounded by these cats. Some of the main ways in which cuddling can help cats and their owners are mentioned below:

  • Lowered Aggression — There have been several studies that show that cats that have been routinely cuddled with or had positive human interactions, like stroking, may showcase gentler behavior. These cats are less likely to be aggressive and display greater balance in moods when compared with cats that had no human interaction. This goes to show how important positively reinforced human interactions are when it comes to cats.
  • Happiness Among Humans — Cats are not the only ones that benefit from cuddling. Even human beings stand to live a better life if they routinely cuddle with their pets. The act of cuddling has been known to release oxytocin in the human brain, which helps reduce stress and anxiety. Not only that, but it can also help when you are feeling lonely or depressed.
  • Therapeutic Effects — There have been recent studies that show that the sound of a cat purring — which fluctuates between the frequency range of 20 Hz to 140 Hz — could stand to have a therapeutic effect on human beings, improving blood pressure and promoting healing in your body. More work, however, has to be done in this field.

Do All Cats Like to Cuddle?

If the answer to this question was to be put in the simplest way possible, it is a resounding no. A cat’s affinity towards cuddling depends a lot on its genetic buildup as well as the way in which it has been socialized since it was a kitten.

As was discussed before, different types of cat breeds behave differently when it comes to enjoying cuddles with the owner.

If your cat is very energetic or likes to whizz around the house staying active, it may not enjoy being tied down as you try to snuggle with it. Instead, you need to leave it up to the cat to get comfortable and seek you out.

In any case, the more sedate cats may enjoy getting close to you and taking a nap that keeps them warm and secure.

The way in which the cats have been socialized also has a lot to do with whether they enjoy cuddling or not. If they haven’t been treated with love and care, staying devoid of the warmth that a human being offers them, the cats may be averse to cuddling.

Here, it is recommended that you showcase your affection for the cat in different ways — sometimes, even with treats — so that they can get comfortable with you. If they have received tons of love and cuddles as kittens, they are more likely to feel warm and fuzzy with you around.

Reasons Why Your Cat May Not Enjoy Cuddling

In this section, we will be going into some details about why your cat may not be enjoying some cuddling sections. As discussed before, their genetic buildup, as well as socialization, are the major factors that affect their outlook towards snuggling with their owners.

Both of these are discussed in further detail below:

Genetic Considerations

While there isn’t enough research carried out on how exactly genetics come into play when the personality of cats is being studied, you may notice the distinct behavior that different cats display once you have spent some time with them.

For example, Burmese cats, Siamese cats, Rag doll cats, Persian cats and a bunch of others may seek you out to spend some time cuddling. Others like the Bengal cat may not enjoy this as much.

Socialization of Cats

While a ton of genetic factors may influence the cat’s behavior, a significant role in the development of its personality is also played by the environment that it has grown up in.

For example, if the cat receives a good amount of positive stimulation in the initial weeks after birth, it is more likely to grow up into a sociable and friendly cat. If they undergo some trauma in this stage, their development and behavior at a later stage can be affected.

There are many cats that love the feeling of warmth and protection that is associated with cuddling with their humans. However, you must keep in mind that the cat should be the one initiating such sessions, as not all cats love cuddling.

If they haven’t been socialized into enjoying this, they may take some coaxing to respond well to your love and affection. Ensure that they feel secure around you and they will slowly overcome any hurdles to cuddling!