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Can you make a cat more affectionate?


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#1 ERipley

Posted 31 March 2019 - 10:24 PM

I got a 1 year old cat from a shelter in November. I picked him because he happily played with my 3 small children and seemed like a friendly, relaxed kind of cat. He is! We got him home and then commenced about a month of chronic diarrhoea, vet trips, pills shoved down his throat, blood tests and about $2000 to fix up everything that was wrong with him. As of January I’ve had a healthy cat who had a bit of a rough start in his new life.

He is still good with the kids, he likes to be around us, he’s playful, but he’s just not cuddly. Don’t get me wrong - we’re keeping him no matter what! But if I have to spend the next 19 years with this guy I want some cuddles.

He won’t sit on my lap, will tolerate a pick up for about 30 seconds unless I’m giving him a good view out the window, then maybe a few minutes. He will lean against me sitting down if he’s in a happy mood and if he’s on the bench and I cuddle him he purrs but not smooches.

Sometimes he comes into the bedroom at night and will curl up in my arms for a cuddle but it never lasts long. He will suddenly bite my arm or my face softly then jump down.

I have no idea what his past was or how he’s been socialised. I used to have a Burmese so I love noisy cats who love to cuddle and smooch. I know he likes me but is there anything I can do to make him more cuddly?

He also bites and scratches me a lot. He does it gently and I don’t think he ever means to hurt me, but if he isn’t in the mood for a pat his immediate reaction is bite/scratch. Just with me though. He just glares at the kids if he isn’t engaging.

Thanks for any input. He is a sweet little fellow, but I need cuddles.

#2 Pocket...

Posted 31 March 2019 - 10:39 PM

Some cats aren't smoochy. My cat never was but has mellowed with age. Cats will do their own thing so I'd say the best way to increase the smoochyness is to let your cat come to you in her own time. Maybe some treats and possibly brushing if she enjoys it?

#3 MooGuru

Posted 31 March 2019 - 10:40 PM

My intial reaction was reading your title like:

Can you make a cat... NO.

But given what you described happening maybe he's still testing out the trust given the medication and illness etc.

#4 alfoil hat

Posted 01 April 2019 - 04:42 AM

He’ll probably get a bit more smoochy with age

#5 born.a.girl

Posted 01 April 2019 - 05:37 AM

View PostMooGuru, on 31 March 2019 - 10:40 PM, said:

My intial reaction was reading your title like:

Can you make a cat... NO.

But given what you described happening maybe he's still testing out the trust given the medication and illness etc.



Same.  In my head I said 'NO, next question'.



OP we have a six year old cat who's not cuddly, but is getting a bit more so with age. We got her from the RSPCA when she was one.

Until now, if someone picked her up for a cuddle, someone else might count to see if they get to ten before she wants out.

Yesterday evening watching the football was the first time ever that she's voluntarily come and sat on my lap.

She's not timid, goes to the door to see who's there.

Our other cat suffocates you with his attention, but he's terrified of anyone he doesn't know well, heads off rapidly if the doorbell rings, but smothers those he knows well with cuddles.


They're all very different, and as per others, may take him a little longer given the rough start.  Good luck.

#6 Caribou

Posted 01 April 2019 - 05:47 AM

I’d say he’ll get cuddly with age/time. My cat didn’t get cuddly until about 5 years in after getting her. She had a rough start and it took her a long time to trust we were going anywhere. She’s 12 now. Very cuddly.

Another thing I found got my cat on me is blankets. If I had a blanket on me she was there in seconds. Cats can’t resist a fluffy warm blanket

#7 Octopodes

Posted 01 April 2019 - 05:49 AM

Only one of our cats will cuddle and that is because he is stealing your body heating in winter. The other two sit next to you and will have a pat, but do not like to be restricted in a hug. We've had them both since they were tiny kittens, I think it is just personality. Our youngest cat nips if he isn't happy, but it is a 'quit it' bite not a 'I won't to hurt you' bite

#8 nom_de_plume

Posted 01 April 2019 - 06:13 AM

Is he neutered? They usually become a bit more mellow and affectionate after that.

You might find over winter he becomes more cuddly as cats love to steal body heat.

I do agree it’s down to personality though. I had a boy who was very cuddly and so did my MIL. She now has a girl who is not at all affectionate (typical aloof cat stereotype) as did my Mum. I have a girl who is very social and affectionate (currently sitting on my lap while I drink my morning coffee). They were/are all shelter or rescue kitties.

#9 born.a.girl

Posted 01 April 2019 - 06:17 AM

View Postnom_de_plume, on 01 April 2019 - 06:13 AM, said:

Is he neutered? They usually become a bit more mellow and affectionate after that.

You might find over winter he becomes more cuddly as cats love to steal body heat.

I do agree it’s down to personality though. I had a boy who was very cuddly and so did my MIL. She now has a girl who is not at all affectionate (typical aloof cat stereotype) as did my Mum. I have a girl who is very social and affectionate (currently sitting on my lap while I drink my morning coffee). They were/are all shelter or rescue kitties.


When you have ducted heating, especially with metal vents,  they steal the vents, and you suddenly wonder why the room's gone cold.

#10 Sancti-claws

Posted 01 April 2019 - 06:42 AM

Based on the anecdata of our 12 year old cat - no.

Not unless you are the main food giver and you give food whenever demanded - at the time of demand and no later.

And even then, its not "affection" - it is lessening the collateral damage.

But it is relative.

DH, he of the cushion launching when the master of the house speaks, gets dirty looks and the room to himself.

#11 Kreme

Posted 01 April 2019 - 07:16 AM

I have 2 cats. One loves a lap, the other one prefers to cuddle next to me, not on top of me. He also dislikes being picked up. We got them both at the same time, they’re siblings and have been treated the same. They just have different personalities. With my side cuddler, if I sit on the couch he will often come and sit on the arm of the couch with my arm around him and put his head on my shoulder which is quite lovely.

#12 Romeo Void

Posted 01 April 2019 - 07:39 AM

No, not in my experience.  My boy does things on his own terms and to be honest I've gotten used to him.  He's a self sufficient slightly grumpy older *man* who thunks around the house in a permanent huff...and I've kind of come to love his strange grumpy a*se.

#13 sophiasmum

Posted 01 April 2019 - 07:49 AM

"He won’t sit on my lap, will tolerate a pick up for about 30 seconds unless I’m giving him a good view out the window, then maybe a few minutes. He will lean against me sitting down if he’s in a happy mood and if he’s on the bench and I cuddle him he purrs but not smooches."

This is our boy & we've had him for a few years but only since he was an adult cat not a kitten. He did have a rough start too, living on the streets for we don't know how long before we got him. He too will give you a love tap or love bite in a non-harmful half-a*sed way if he's had enough.

But he loves being around us (we are a family of 2A & 3C). He will tolerate more from my D15, but apart from no lap sitting & not being picked up for endless periods of time, he's just like a normal cat as far as we are concerned & shows his affection in other ways such as following us around, wanting attention, loving pats & head scratches, sitting next to us, being brushed, sleeping nearly all day, and food.

#14 BungyBaby

Posted 01 April 2019 - 07:59 AM

Can you make a cat....

You don't understand how serving a cat works.

We have 2 and they have remained the same for the past decade. One happily comes up for a scritch off virtually anyone, the other lets only me pat her and occasionally deems the wife worthy. To me she is a very smoochy thing and loves sleeping on my arm when it gets cooler, but contact is always on her terms.

#15 Kreme

Posted 01 April 2019 - 09:24 AM

I forgot my non cuddly cat’s other love language - head butts. How can such a small head be delivered with such force into my kidneys at 5am?

OP I think the most you can hope for is to be available when he’s feeling snuggly (especially with winter approaching) and hope he will relax a bit in old age.

#16 Romeo Void

Posted 01 April 2019 - 09:37 AM

I'll add that my boy cat is most undemonstrative and affectionate UNLESS you happen to be a big burly bloke.  A tradie maybe?  In that instance he's all over them.  The blokier the better.

#17 CallMeFeral

Posted 01 April 2019 - 09:45 AM

Think you need a dog :p

#18 IamOzgirl

Posted 01 April 2019 - 09:49 AM

Our cat was the same, rescue too.

The rescue place let us have her because we seemed a perfect match (her being slightly distant to us having a busy life)

Yeah no. Took about a year and now she is as cuddly as ever.

It sound promising with your cat. I suspect she will over time get more cuddly.

#19 seayork2002

Posted 01 April 2019 - 10:29 AM

We had lots of cats (well just turned up and hung around mostly) and I have met lots over the years I don't remember meeting an affectionate cat really?

#20 Nasty Poobah

Posted 01 April 2019 - 11:04 AM

:rofl: :rofl: :rofl: :rofl: :rofl: :rofl: :rofl: :rofl: :rofl: :rofl: :rofl: :rofl: :rofl: :rofl: :rofl: :rofl: :rofl: :rofl: :rofl: :rofl: :rofl: :rofl: :rofl: :rofl: :rofl: :rofl: :rofl: :rofl: :rofl: :rofl: :rofl: :rofl: :rofl: :rofl: :rofl: :rofl:


No.

#21 darcswan

Posted 01 April 2019 - 11:06 AM

I got my boy as a kitten from a breeder. He was well socialised, but is just not a lap cat. Pick him up or plop him on your lap - he's gone within 30 seconds.

He does snuggle into my side on the couch, and is little spoon during the night. So I appreciate his gestures of love.


Jackson Galaxy has a beautiful blog about this
https://www.jacksong...ys-i-love-you-/
"You can’t. The plain fact is that, instead of giving into that primal desire for validation by proximity, we need to expand our idea of what love looks like, bearing in mind that each cat has their own unique way of showing love along that spectrum. Some are lap cats, or chest cats, or crook of the arm cats.Others are lie-at-the-foot-of-the-bed cats, or lie-down-on-the-sofa-arm-rest cats.Our job is to accept and appreciate each unique gesture because they are, believe it or not, equally significant. A cat who is more acutely prey-oriented, is doing a lot in their book to simply close their eyes and sleep in a vulnerable, geographically open location like your bed. That gesture should be appreciated, for what it is and who it is coming from.

Edited by darcswan, 01 April 2019 - 11:08 AM.


#22 seayork2002

Posted 01 April 2019 - 11:08 AM

I do love cats but I am also yet to meet one that does not look down at you (the general sense of the word you)

#23 lozoodle

Posted 01 April 2019 - 11:14 AM

Mmmm..... not really, cats can be jerks like that. I had a cat who would occasionally snuggle up to me but it had to be on HER terms, and it remained this way up until the ripe old age of 19 when she passed away.

My other cat is a total attention whore to the point where sometimes I find myself shoving her away just because she doesn't seem to understand the concept of personal space haha.


Given all that your cat has been through recently, though, there's a chance maybe it just needs more time to settle in and build the necessary trust?

#24 Bandwagon

Posted 01 April 2019 - 11:35 AM

My cat has never been a lap cat but she is getting better with age (she’s 2 now). The only time she’ll sit on my lap is if she is cold and there is a blanket involved. She prefers to be close, but not too close.

She’s the first cat I’ve ever had that is like this.

#25 Goldenash

Posted 01 April 2019 - 05:56 PM

No you cant.....but it may change its mind if you keep him for 15 years! I had a v independent cat. Not really cuddly. Would wonder off (back in the 1980s and early 90s when i knee no better) anyway when she turned 15 it was like a swtlirch she suddenly became an inside cuddly cat and stayed like that till she died about 5 years later.

It was a long wait but it did happen




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