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Why Won’t My Cat Cuddle With Me Anymore? 6 Likely Reasons

Lorre Luther

By Lorre Luther

woman looking at the cat sleeping

Many cats are master cuddlers and love nothing more than to snuggle up to their favorite person in bed or on the couch. However, sometimes cats take a break from cuddling activities, which can leave bewildered human companions wondering why. Cats can stop cuddling for various reasons, including stress and because it’s simply too warm for that sort of body contact (in their opinion). Keep reading to learn the six reasons cats sometimes decide to keep their distance.

The 6 Reasons Why Your Cat Won’t Cuddle Anymore

1. They’re Stressed

Cats often behave differently than normal when they’re stressed. Signs that cats are a little out of sorts often include going to the bathroom outside of the litterbox, eating less, and aggression, and many decide to spend less time cuddling. Stressed cats can also groom themselves obsessively, often to the point where they lose hair.

cat hisses at the hand of woman
Image Credit: Leksi.photo, Shutterstock

2. They’re Not Feeling Well

Cats generally don’t like to advertise it when they’re not feeling well, so it can be difficult to know when they’re ill. Many prefer to be left alone when they’re under the weather. Behavioral changes, such as eating or drinking more or less, withdrawal, and litter box issues, indicate that cats aren’t feeling well. Many become less interested in interacting with people, and changes in coat condition are sometimes seen.

3. They’re Too Warm

Cats decline to cuddle when it’s too hot and humid for comfort. Pets that always sleep next to their humans take breaks on days when it’s hot inside, even with the air-conditioner doing its best. Some cuddle, wait until their owner goes to sleep, and then slip off to cooler locations. Many leave after a few minutes if their owner sits too close to them to avoid prolonged body contact.

It’s usually not a sign that anything is wrong with your cat or your relationship with your buddy, but it indicates that your pet would prefer things a bit cooler!

woman with cat on couch in a room
Image Credit: Anna Alexes, Pexels

4. They’re Getting Older

Some cats become less interested in cuddling as they age. Their habits can change over time, and it’s normal for older pets to have higher needs for quiet personal time than when they were younger. Some cats prefer spending time alone, but others may avoid physical contact because they’re in pain. Older cats sometimes develop conditions such as arthritis that can make it painful to move around. Touching sensitive areas can cause pain, which may prompt some cats to keep their distance from cuddling.

5. They Don’t Like Something About the Cuddles

Cats often have specific ways they like to be handled; some are okay with being held tightly, and others would rather feel free to excuse themselves at will. Some pets love long cuddle sessions, and others only need a few quick snuggles. Cats who prefer a bit of space often give their human companions a few minutes of snuggle time and then move on.

woman watching and talking to her cat
Image Credit: VH-studio, Shutterstock

6. They’re Upset

Cats sometimes keep their distance when a recent event still bothers them, and they need space to reset when annoyed. Cats that have been left alone to fend off the annoying intrusions of a pet sitter for a few days are often uninterested in cuddling with anyone. After a trip to the veterinarian’s office, some cats don’t feel like cuddling with their owners because they’re upset.

What Are Some Common Causes of Feline Stress?

Moving from one place to another, the addition of new pets, and the arrival of babies can all trigger stress in cats. Cats in multi-pet homes sometimes become anxious when they’re on the receiving end of bullying behavior, but they can also find the general presence of other companion animals irritating.

Some cats don’t particularly appreciate the presence of visitors, especially those who come and stay for a while, because they’re probably getting slightly less attention while at the same time having to adjust to new patterns when guests are around.

Cats can also show signs of stress if they don’t like where their litter is placed or aren’t getting enough mental stimulation. Not having ways to scratch and play can also make cats quite unhappy.

asian woman playing with cats in a cat cafe
Image Credit: Boyloso, Shutterstock

What Can I Do to Get My Cat to Cuddle With Me Again?

While it’s important to respect your cat’s wishes when it comes to cuddling, there are a few things you can do that may get things moving in a more favorable direction.

Increase Your Cat’s Physical Activity

A bit of physical activity often helps reduce stress in people and cats! Increasing the amount of playtime provides a stressed-out cat a way to get rid of excess energy, which may help encourage your cat to return to their old snuggling ways. Physical activity can also play an essential role in ensuring indoor cats stay nice and fit, which can go a long way towards limiting your cat’s chances of ending up with quality-of-life-reducing chronic health conditions.

Give Your Cat a Safe Space

Cats benefit from having a quiet place when alone time is called for. They have incredibly sensitive hearing, and providing them with a place to go where they can relax away from loud noises, such as renovations and crying babies, can go a long way towards improving their comfort levels. Make the room as cozy as possible for your buddy; you can add a cat tree and a soft bed for your buddy to snooze in.

snow bengal cat sitting
Image Credit: darko m, Shutterstock

Ensure Your Cat Has What They Need

Cats thrive in environments where their personal preferences are respected, and they can happily engage with the world in ways supportive of their instincts.

Dining Areas and Litter Boxes

Cats sometimes have preferences regarding where their food and water bowls are placed, and some prefer to dine in relatively quiet locations. Placing a cat’s litter box too close to their eating area can also annoy them. Cats can also become stressed when their litter boxes aren’t sufficiently clean or scooped often enough.

Feline-Friendly Living Spaces

When it comes to generally creating feline-friendly living environments, giving pets high places to hang out and relax, such as cat shelves and trees, can encourage them to feel comfortable. Cats generally enjoy being able to relax in the safety of the heights where they can keep an eye on things from a distance.

Providing ways for cats to engage in deeply ingrained and natural behavior, such as scratching, can create an atmosphere that may be generally less stress-inducing. Having many toys on hand allows indoor pets to stay engaged by enjoying a good chase and pounce.

Ensuring that you have enough food and water bowls and litter boxes in multi-cat households can limit opportunities for resource competition and bullying behavior, which can easily result in stressed-out cats.

feeding cat
Image Credit: Dora Zett, Shutterstock

Respect Your Buddy’s Choices

Let your cat lead the way back to cuddling by paying attention to their body language when you’re trying to give them a bit of love. Cats that aren’t interested in being handled try to get away. Follow your cat’s lead and give them space if they’re not interested in an extended cuddle session to allow them to build only positive associations with getting love.

Consider Getting Expert Help

A veterinarian should always see cats that aren’t feeling well. Because they do everything possible to hide indications they’re not feeling great, it can be difficult to determine if something isn’t quite right. Veterinarians can identify what’s going on and recommend appropriate ways forward. A behavioral therapist may also be able to help you and your cat work through the issue together.


While not all cats like to cuddle, it’s often puzzling when those who do suddenly decide to stop cuddling. Stress and illness are two possible reasons cats sometimes withdraw and start spending less time with people. However, some may also be reacting to the weather since they would rather sleep in cool locations during the summer to stay comfortable. Cats sometimes just need less cuddle time when they get older, and pets annoyed about human offenses (such as veterinary visits) often recover when given time to decompress.

Featured Image Credit: Carlos G. Lopez, Shutterstock

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