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Why Cats Love to Cuddle: 5 Possible Reasons

Ed Malaker

By Ed Malaker

cat snuggling with owner

Cats make wonderful pets, and although they have a reputation for being aloof, quite a few cats actually like to snuggle up with their owners. If you have a cat that snuggles and would like to know why, you have come to the right place. We will look at several different reasons for this behavior and the benefits your cat can receive by doing it to help you understand your pet better.

Top 5 Reasons Cats Cuddle

1. To Stay Warm

Despite many cats having a thick coat of fur, they are not fond of cold weather and often seek shelter. They can stay warm hiding under vehicles, inside hollowed trees, or in holes in the ground in the wild. In captivity, your cat will usually hide under the bed, climb under the blankets or snuggle with you to keep warm. Not only is your body a hot 98 degrees, but it also serves to reflect the cat’s natural body heat.

Image Credit: Sam Lion, Pexels

2. Safety

House cats are one of the world’s fiercest hunters. Some experts suggest they are 10 times more deadly than wild animals, and they pose a considerable threat to the environment. However, we parents know they are big chickens, too. They often run and hide at loud noises, dogs, and strangers. If your cat considers you the alpha of the house, especially if you nurtured it as a kitten or have previously protected it from certain peril, there is a good chance they will run to you when they feel threatened. Many cats will jump on your lap and bury their head in your armpit when they are scared, and they can remain there cuddling for some time until the danger is long gone.

3. Attention

Many cats will attempt to snuggle with you to get attention if they feel you have been neglecting them. They will often do this when you are using the computer, watching television, or reading. The cat will often climb on your lap and lie down, hoping you will switch your focus. If they are unsuccessful, your cat might resort to more aggressive tactics, like laying on your keyboard or swatting at the paces as you turn them, possibly damaging the book.

a cat cuddling with woman owner
Image Credit: cottonbro, Pexels

4. It Gets a Better View

Cats are territorial animals that prefer to have a clear view over their territory. Cats love high perches, especially by windows, that allow them a clear view of the entire home as well as the outside. They will usually spend a large portion of its time moving between perches to make sure everything is as it should be. Your lap can provide a unique perspective that can cause them to make repeat visits.

5. It Likes You

We admit that it’s rare for cats to show affection without an ulterior motive. However, it’s not impossible that your cat enjoys your company and wants to spend a few minutes snuggling with you, especially if you have just returned home from a long day or have been spending a lot of time away.

sleepy cat laying on the lap of owner
Image By: Alena Ozerova, Shutterstock

Benefits of Cuddling

Improves Human Health

Studies show that petting cats can help reduce the stress level in humans, helping to improve our health. Petting your cat or dog for just 10 minutes per day can significantly reduce the stress hormone cortisol in the blood. Less stress can help reduce blood pressure which can slow the progression of heart disease and several other health problems.

Improves Cat Health

A study of 96 shelter cats concluded that cuddling is not only fun for the parents. It can also help improve the health of your cat. The study showed that cats that receive more attention are more content, while the cats that did not receive the same attention started to become stressed, and many developed an upper respiratory disorder. Scientists believe that content cats are more likely to produce the antibodies that fight upper respiratory infections and other health issues.

Stress and Anxiety

Snuggling can help reduce stress and calm upset cats, which can help reduce blood pressure and prevent disease from setting in as it does for humans. Symptoms of stress include panting, dilated pupils, flattened ears, vocalizing, sniffing, and more.  It can cause your pet to stop eating and have behavioral problems leading up to health problems.

Do All Cats Love to Cuddle?

No. Unfortunately, all cats do not love to cuddle, and you will likely find it something that happens quite rarely. Even cats that like to cuddle will usually only do it occasionally and for short intervals. If your cat doesn’t like to cuddle, it’s not unusual. You can try to sit close to them more often or pick them up and put them on your lap one or twice a day so they can get used to being near you, but don’t force them, or you will lose any hopes of snuggling with your cat. In time, the cat will get used to being on your lap and may choose to sit and cuddle.

Final Thoughts

In our experience, the most likely reason your cat is snuggling up to you is that they’re cold or want attention. That’s not to say they don’t like you, because you are still their choice for snuggling partner, which is a big deal. However, we noticed our cats like to snuggle much more often in the winter. They might sit on you to get a better view when there are no perches nearby, and if you have a strong bond with the cat, they might run to you when they get scared, but this is one of the rarer behaviors, so don’t be upset or take it personally if your cat runs under the bed or up the stairs instead.

We hope you have enjoyed reading over this guide and that it has answered your questions. If we have helped you understand your pet better, please share our look into why cats love to cuddle on Facebook and Twitter.

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Featured Image Credit: cottonbro, Pexels

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