Do you ever look at your cat and become overwhelmed by the sudden urge to squeeze them tight, though you’d never intend to hurt them in any way? Cuteness aggression is very real,1 and it seems to be caused by an involuntary response to being overwhelmed by a positive feeling.
If you’ve ever let the cuteness aggression take hold and squeezed your kitty a little too tight, you’re probably wondering what your cat’s reaction was. Did they enjoy the squishes, or are they planning a secret middle-of-the-night attack on you to exact their revenge?
Unfortunately, the answer isn’t cut and dry because it really depends on the cat in question. Read on to learn more.
Do Cats Enjoy Being Squished?
Each cat has its own unique set of personality traits, likes, and dislikes. So, while one kitty may enjoy getting hugs from its owner, others will respond aggressively. But what causes one cat to enjoy getting squeezes and another to despise it?
Several factors can determine whether your cat enjoys a good squishy hug or not.
The sooner your kitty is introduced to snuggles and hugs, the sooner it can become accustomed to them. Some cats get squished and squeezed often when they’re kittens, so they may come to enjoy (or tolerate) hugs because they’re used to them.
Some cat breeds are naturally more easy-going than others. The most mellow breeds include Ragdolls, Sphynx, and Scottish Folds. Their even-tempered and happy-go-lucky personalities may make them more likely to put up with your squeezes than other breeds.
Swaddling, the act of bundling up a baby in a thin blanket, is a distant relative of squishing as it provides the same compressed feeling. Swaddling can help calm pet anxiety, which is why products like the ThunderShirt are often recommended for cats and dogs with situational nervousness.
It goes to the reason that if your kitty feels a little nervous, a perfectly timed hug or squish session could provide some relief.
How Can I Know If I’m Squeezing Too Hard?
Assuming you’re one of the lucky cat owners whose pet enjoys a good squish now and then, you need to ensure you’re not squeezing it too hard.
Thankfully, cats are great at letting us know when they don’t like something, so all you need to do is pay attention to your cat’s response. Does it stiffen up or try to wriggle away? If so, you’re probably squeezing too hard. On the other hand, does it headbutt you, drool, or start purring? If so, chances are it’s into the squeezes you’re giving.
The key is concentrating on providing a comforting sense of enveloping warmth and not giving in to that cuteness aggression urge.
How Do Cats Like to Be Held?
If you’ve tested your theory and determined that your cat does not enjoy being squished or squeezed, how should you hold it?
First, let your cat sniff your hand before you start interacting with it. This will allow it time to become acquainted with your scent and gauge your intentions. Once you’ve been given the green light, pick your kitty up in a way that makes it feel supported. Put one hand under its chest and one under its abdomen. Ensure the back legs aren’t dangling.
Check out this video from the Helpful Vancouver Vet for more tips on picking up a cat like a pro.
So, do cats like being squished and squeezed? Unfortunately, there isn’t a black-or-white answer to this question, as it depends entirely on the cat. Some cats will enjoy a gentle squeeze or squish, others will tolerate them, and some cats will not hesitate to use their murder mittens if you so much as think of hugging them.
You know your cat best, so use your common sense when it comes to handling it. Listen to how it reacts to your squeezes and squishes, and let that guide future handling sessions.