Your Cat Probably Hates It When You...

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  1. Your Cat Probably Hates It When You... Learn what common things that cat owners do can actually upset your cat
    Cats are so insanely adorable, it's no wonder most owners just can't take their hands off their beloved kitty. However, what you consider an expression of love isn't necessarily seen that way by your cat. Here are a few common things that owners do and some cats absolutely hate.

    Your cat probably hates when you do one of the following -
    Hugging
    Holding your cat tightly in your arms and giving him or her a good hug usually isn't a good idea. Humans have arms and hands made for hugging, but for felines, forceful holding of anything just isn't a proper form of communication. Putting your arms around a cat that knows you and loves you may be ok - depending on the cat's temperament - but few cats will tolerate a strong crushing hug.

    Kissing
    Cats sometimes bring their noses together in what may seem like a kiss. In fact, they're just smelling each other to see if there's anything new. It's a "Is that tuna I smell on your breath?!?" kind of gesture. While your cat may sometimes bring his or her mouth close to yours to check out the latest scents on your breath, don't try to do the same without the cat's approval. Many cats find such close proximity of a human's face threatening and uncomfortable.

    Belly scratching
    While most pet cats enjoy occasional petting, many resent having a human hand reach for their tummy. When a dog rolls over to expose their stomach it's an act of submission, and most dogs love it when you move on to scratching their belly. With cats, rolling over and showing their belly is an act of trust - not submission. Some cats may be trusting enough to let you touch the belly, but more often than not, reaching out to touch all that inviting fluff will trigger an aggressive reaction from the cat.
    bite-hand.jpg

    Picking your cat up
    Picking up a baby or toddler is so natural for humans that we tend to want to do the same with our small pets. However, Kitty is not a human baby. For a cat, there is nothing natural about being picked up and held in anyone's arms. Some cats will tolerate this - especially if they're used to being picked up from a young age - but many will squirm and fight their way out of your grasp - tooth and nail if need be.
    holding-cat.jpg

    Getting too close to a cat
    Cats value their personal space just as much as we do. And just like humans, it's not just a question of how far, but also a question of whom. If you're bonded with a cat, odds are he or she will not shy away from being in close proximity. However, if the cat doesn't know you very well, keep your distance. Allow the cat time to get close to you on his or her terms.

    Some cats are shy by nature and may feel uncomfortable being too close to any human. These apprehensive kitties often choose to get close to their owner only when the human is lying down or even asleep, seeming less threatening.
    sleep-with-cat.jpg

    "But my cat loves these things!"
    That may absolutely be the case. Cats are individuals with their own preferences, including regarding physical contact with their owners. Many kittens and some adult cats are total "love bugs" who will literally be "in your face", asking for hugs, kisses, belly rubs and even to be picked up!

    However keep in mind that most adult cats are more likely to prefer physical interaction a tad more distant and - most importantly - on their own terms. No matter how much you want to hug, kiss and squish your adorable fluffball, you should make absolutely sure that Kitty is indeed an enthusiastic partner.

    Never force yourself on a cat - even if he or she seems to "tolerate" your actions. Tolerating isn't good enough. You should aim at making your cat 100% comfortable and happy while you're around. That's the basis of a good feline-human bond.

    So, how to tell if your cat hates or loves these acts of friendship?

    Our cats can't speak with words, but they can still send us messages.

    Some cats are very clear about what they will and won't allow. They use their claws and teeth to send the message in a way that's clear to all. If they know you, and you two are bonded, these attacks are likely to be harmless, with the cat often taking care not to break the skin. It will still be painful and send the message, but no one will get hurt. However, if you cross the boundaries of a strange cat, you could scare him or her into outright attack mode of the kind that sends you to the first aid box or even the ER.

    Some cats are not aggressive at all, and it will take a very extreme situation to get them to attack. Yet they too may be uncomfortable with any of the actions described here. Watch your cat's body language closely and check his or her reactions when giving a hug, a kiss or trying to pick him or her up. Is the cat relaxed? Or is that feline body tense, with eyes wide open and pupils enlarged? If you're holding the cat, does he or she purr or squirm in an effort to get out of your grasp?

    You can tell if a cat is comfortable with your show of affection or not. Just watch for the cues!

    What to do if my cat doesn't like my show of affection?
    It's very important to respect your cat's boundaries and not force yourself on her or him. Don't wait for your cat to attack you. Read the feline body language, and if your cat doesn't like something - avoid it.

    Allow Kitty to decide if and how you interact and you'll gain his or her trust. Your cat needs to know that you are a source of good things - not bad. With time, some cats mellow out and allow the owner closer physical contact.

    Some cats never change and remain distant. That doesn't mean the cat doesn't love you! It just means that for this particular cat, hugging and being held may be off the menu forever. You can still tell that your cat loves you from a multitude of other signs, such as any one of these 25 Signs That Your Cat Loves You

    If your cat seems exceptionally scared or distant, you should also read our articles about how to live with a shy cat -
    10 Must-Know Tips For Happy Living With A Shy Cat
    16 Top Cat Experts Share Tips For Dealing With Timid Cats


    So, how about your cat? Leave us a comment to tell us if your cat loves - or hates - a belly rub or being picked up. Anything else that Kitty won't allow? We want to know about it!

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  1. Official.buttercup
    I seem to be the only person Buttercup isn't scared of! When I call her, she runs right up to me and lets me hold her. But with anyone else, (most of the time) she runs away. She doesn't like her belly rubbed though.
  2. CatCake
  3. kissthisangel
    This article is great. Cats all have very different personalities for sure! Mojo begs Daddy to pick her up she gets up on the table and puts her arms on his stomach waiting to be scooped up. She will now tolerate this from me but not for as long and she doesn't "ask" me to pick her up. Charlie on the other hand, who used to love being in my arms as a kitten, now will not be picked up by my partner at all and will only tolerate me picking him up sometimes. I have a few marks on my neck where he's decided enough is enough and used it as a launch pad. I'm not mad! that's his perogative and you have to be greatful for the love you do get. Other times he will purr and fall asleep!
      Official.buttercup and tarasgirl06 purraised this.
    1. Shane Kent
      Launch pad scratch marks. :) My wife and I get that on occasion. Not that we... Oh the joys of being owned by cats. My cat Taz is lovable but easily excited.
      tarasgirl06 purraised this.
    2. kissthisangel
      I've just gone up to rub them on the belly ( for science of course) they do not like that much. I still have use of my hand though!
      tarasgirl06 purraised this.
  4. catzendogs
    We have 3 cats: Trouble, (my avatar picture), loves to be held like a baby: held vertically upside down with his head towards the floor while swinging back and forth: loves kisses, hugs and rides on our shoulders. He doesn't like belly rubs. Otherwise, he likes everything else.
    Little Girl, the Diva Snowshoe Kitty LOVES belly rubs more than anything! She must've had kittens because she acts like my fingers are her babies. She barely tolerates being picked up or held.
    Mr. Bingles, our confused Bengal, doesn't know if he's wild or domesticated. One minute he's domesticated, then, like flipping a switch, he becomes wild. One minute he's all over us begging for a scratch but then he remembers he's a wild leopard kitty and he scurries away and hides. He is not aggressive, but if you try to hold him still or restrain him at all, or if he perceives you're going to try and get him to hold still, he freaks out and acts like death is imminent. Cries like he's being tortured. Picking him up to him means he must be flying and that doesn't go over too well. So if he must be picked up it has to be quick, low to the ground and very calm. He doesn't want to use claws but he fights those instincts telling him to use them. Fun fun fun trying to put any type of topical meds on him or just check him over. He loves to be scratched from head to toe including belly scratches. He loves cookies.
      Official.buttercup and tarasgirl06 purraised this.
    1. tarasgirl06
      You do realize that your cats are probably some of the most bizarro cats in the catosphere?!!
  5. kirochka
    I've definitely got two distinct personalities living with me. Joakim isn't much for sitting on my lap, but he'll sit next to me and fall asleep leaning on me. When he's ready, he'll come up to me on the bed or the couch, flop over and wait for the belly-rubbing to begin. Then it's milk-tread paws in the air and loud purring. Katniss, on the other hand, isn't big on belly rubs, but she'll come plop down on my lap and lick my hands and arms. She also walks up my chest sometimes, sits down and licks my face. Neither one likes to be picked up much, but sometimes I can't help but scoop one up, plant a kiss on the forehead, and then set him or her down again. I'm only human.
  6. roserivers
    our two cats hate being picked up, so we use it as a method of saying 'unacceptable behaviour' when one launches an all out unprovoked attack on the other which results in screeches of pain. Snatching the cat from the ground and holding him tight for a few minutes gets the message across, the outright bad behaviour is slowly changing. (They are rescue cats, it takes a bit longer to get messages across.) One cat, the Burmese, adores tight tight hugs. If he doesn't get them he head buts and pushes until you do. He loves kisses and gives kisses back, my daughter gets a complete face wash sometimes! The other cat is fine with a cuddle if he is already purring from stroked and fussed, otherwise, forget it.
    It really is reading their body language. I have come to realise that indoor cats live so close to us that we read their body language and they read ours... they stand back when I try to move if I have stiffened up and find it difficult... which makes it better for all of us to live together in a way that suits our two furbabies and us. I usually share my bed with one cat, but lately it has been stiflingly hot so he has wisely chosen the cooler spots in the house, after dramatically throwing himself on my beside rug and complaining loudly!!!! He is such a dramatist!
    Good topic, good article. Thanks!
  7. Luna@mosselbay
    Luna has a nose drip now and them, it is clear water, she also once what what am know of, are there any reason for warrying
    1. golondrina
      Hello Luna welcome to the site. You are writing in the Articles page. To get a reply to your post you had better go to Forums and then to Cats Health and place your question there. Good luck and best wishes.
      Anne purraised this.
  8. freyathekitty
    Freya loves getting belly rubs! And she'll even bump her forehead against my lips if I make a kissy face at her, but not kiss her. Occasionally she'll let me pick her up, or even ask to be held, and I only hold her until she meows at me to be put back down. Plus she almost constantly demands to be in my lap. She's a loving, sweet snuggle bug.
  9. houghj3
    In response to imaginewizard (wasn't sure how else to this).

    So a few things when I took Thermose in I just instantly gave her free reign in the apartment. I was a little nervous returning home every morning over the first few days (I work graveyards), but my furniture is pretty meek so not a big deal in my mind if it got scratched up. Plus my no one on my floor complained, so she must be quiet enough.

    I basically left her alone at the start, but she was persistently around or on me, then about a month ago she started wanting and liking belly/leg rubs.

    The times when Thermose has knocked over drinks, broken something, or went outside the litter box I have had no reaction, and now none of that has happened in about 8 months. When she's on my stomach and a claw gets too close for me I can move her paws with nothing happening.

    Thermose was chosen because of my coffee thermos and I thought it sounded X-Men like. Have given up on cat toys, figure she's just a cat that wants to be around me.
      tarasgirl06 and Shane Kent purraised this.
    1. tarasgirl06
      It's a great name!
      Have you tried interactive toys like da Bird? I've yet to meet a cat who doesn't LOVE this toy. Since you are with her playing, I'm thinking she'll love it, too!
    2. houghj3
      Well so far I have bought a bunch of stuff from the Dollar Store, that didn't work so I stepped up to PetSmart. Bought a National Geographic wand thingy, and an electric toy that shoots a feather tail out of various holes at random. Everything has been a "meh I don't care", just rub my belly dummy.

      I am considering a harness and a park visit just to get her some stimuli. Thermose likes the laser point, and is fascinated by the computer, but so far that's it for games.
    3. tarasgirl06
      Each cat has his/her own personality and preferences, it's true. But again, I've yet to see a cat who hasn't loved da Bird, and we have a bunch of wand and lure toys, but none of them has the allure of the lure on da Bird, so I do recommend the real thing. It's not expensive and the joy they (and you) will derive from it is priceless.
  10. golondrina
    Thank you Anne. I have tried providing the image URL and copying/pasting from Photobucket but nothing worked so I'm giving up. :ohwell:
  11. golondrina
    Just curious, has anybody tried and succeeded to upload a picture in this thread? Thanks for any reply, positive or negative.
    1. Anne
      Do you mean to this article? This is an article and not a thread so you can't upload images in your comments here. You can only link to an existing image using a URL, if that makes sense. There's no upload option. I hope this helps :)
      tarasgirl06 and lalagimp purraised this.
  12. mymila
    I adopted Mila when she was 3 years old ..
    She loves to sit on my laps to sleep. She also loves her belly rubbed.
    But, she won't allow me to pick her up.
    She is so gentle. And smart!
  13. jmjimmy
    I'm really conflicted when I see articles like this. My experience is dealing primarily with feral/semi-feral cats and generally speaking I find what the cats do/don't like is more about what the individual cat likes and the level of trust between the person and the cat.

    We have two cats which I have bonded with more so than my wife, Scotty and Julius. My wife can pick either of them up but after a short while they begin to show their annoyance and want down. Scotty, will literally beg me to pick him up on a daily basis, he immediately starts purring/kneading, and when I put him down he immediately turns around and starts begging to be picked up again. If I sit down while holding Scotty he immediately wants away. Julius, I'll be holding him, giving him "tight" squeezes, he'll purr away and nuzzle his head into my arm. I sit down with him, he'll lean into me and nudge my hand for more pets. If I move him away from me he literally runs back into my lap and starts nudging my hand again. In both cases I feel like it's not only what they understand to be affection but also the level of trust they have with the individual.

    I think it's is also a bit situational. If I go up to Sissy and try to start petting her belly she'll let me know straight away that is not appropriate. However, after a few minutes of pets, she'll roll over and want nothing but her belly to be pet.

    So I don't think it's so much "Your cat probably hates it when you..." and more "You need to learn if and when your cat will like..."
      tarasgirl06 purraised this.
    1. Anne
      Absolutely! Unfortunately, not enough people know cats that well :( We did try to explain in the article itself that individual cats have different preferences. The title is intended to get people to click through and actually read.
      jmjimmy purraised this.
  14. tarasgirl06
    I know, I know. But when a cat lives in this family, (s)he just has to put up with all the snorgling. Because, you know, it's the price they pay for their few measly mouthfuls and substandard accomodations. :winkcat:
  15. Katyosha
    Had two cats before but none of them is as cuddely as this one..surprisingly she letme rub her belly and shd will even fixher posturd so i can tiuch it more ..the previos ones it was thedanger zone to come close to.. personally i dont mind it and i enjoy the trust she is giving me
  16. houghj3
    As a new cat carer, I actually thought Thermose would be really distant (perfect for me), however, she wants constant attention when I am home. We've been together about 3 months now and have found a rhythm that I like. I give Thermose some attention and belly rubs (she presents and won't stop until satisfied) when I get home. Sometimes she sleeps with me, but I thrash around a lot so she's reverted to the bedroom carpet. She loves Temptations Treats, only likes the laser pointer game, (spent so much money on useless games at PetSmart), and has never scratched me. She was a rescue, on a site I clean, left by the garbage bin in a box, whom I figured I supposed to find.
      daisyd and tarasgirl06 purraised this.
    1. tarasgirl06
      THERMOSE is a great name for a cat! And may you be many times blessed for rescuing her and loving her!
    2. imaginewizard
      I wonder - you said you thought he would be distant - when you first got him, did you act accordingly - in that you didn't impose on his space or try to be overly-affectionate. There seems to be a trend that people who ignore cats are the ones cats are more likely to demand attention from.
  17. DreamerRose
    A cat will be more tolerate of being picked up if you don't flip him/her over, belly up. They are very vulnerable in that position and instinctively don't like it. When you do pick them up, keep them belly down and head up. They will then let you carry them when needed.
      Anne purraised this.
    1. jmjimmy
      I agree they won't like being flipped upside-down in many cases... I don't know that it's an instinctual thing. A lot of cats love being on their back as long as they feel safe https://thecatsite.com/media/20160208_180320-jpg.328378/
  18. DreamerRose
    A cat will be more tolerate of being picked up if you don't flip him/her over, belly up. They are very vulnerable in that position and instinctively don't like it. When you do pick them up, keep them belly down and head up. They will then let you carry them when needed.
  19. losna
    Haha, my thought as I was reading this was how much my cats love these things. Tempest and Bêlit especially love the belly rubs; they will fling themselves onto their backs and wriggle around chirping to make sure we notice the belly is available for rubbings.
      boris diamond purraised this.
  20. graceful-lily
    Wow. Cats truely are served by us. I kiss Felix on his forehead but that's it. Been doing it since he was a kitten. Anywhere else and he'll bite my lip and not let go. He'll also slap me in the face or my eye. The only person that can hug and sit with Felix is his grandmother (my mom). He tolerates it more with her and he actually ask to be in her lap or arms. If I try to get close to them while they're in the middle of their special bonding moment, I'll be attacked.