Can Cats Understand Hugs?


As a proud cat owner, you love showering your feline companion with affection. You may wonder if your cat understands and appreciates when you give them hugs. Do they see it as a gesture of love or just another strange human behavior?

Signs Your Cat Understands Hugs

In general, cats do understand that a hug is a way to show affection. However, not all cats enjoy being hugged. Just like humans, cats have their own preferences. Some cats will tolerate hugs, while others will not.

You can tell if your cat enjoys being hugged when they purr and move closer to you. They may even tap you with their paw if you stop hugging them and stick around to get more attention. On the other hand, if your cat doesn’t like being held, you will feel their body go stiff as soon as you pick them up. They may hiss, try to escape, or even nip at you if they’re uncomfortable.

It’s important to respect your cat’s boundaries and release them if they have a negative reaction to hugs. While it may be disappointing that your cat doesn’t want to cuddle, remember that all cats are different and not all of them enjoy physical contact. Hugging can also make some cats feel trapped and stressed.

Other Signs

Other signs that your cat understands and enjoys hugs include tapping you with their paw if you stop and staying close to you.

History of Cats Understanding Hugs

Humans and cats have coexisted for a long time, as evidenced by fossil records from early human settlements. The domestication of cats began around 10,000 years ago. The earliest known evidence of a beneficial relationship between humans and cats was found in a Chinese village where cat bones from 5,300 years ago were discovered. This suggests that cats back then likely received hugs from their caregivers if they had formed a close bond.

Science of Cats Understanding Hugs

Cats may have a reputation for being emotionally distant, but they do appreciate love and affection. Studies have shown that cats see their humans as sources of comfort and security. They can also sense their caregivers’ moods. So even if your cat doesn’t enjoy physical contact, they likely understand the reason behind your hugs.

Training Your Cat to Understand Hugs

If you want to teach your cat to accept hugs, it’s important to go at their pace and never force them. Start by waiting for your cat to approach you and petting them on the head, cheek, and chin. Once they’re relaxed, you can try giving them a hug, but be slow and gentle. Keep an eye out for signs that your cat wants you to stop, such as flattened ears or a flipping tail. If your cat doesn’t enjoy hugs, it’s best to find other ways to show them love, such as brushing and playing with them.


While most cats understand and appreciate hugs, not all cats are cuddlers. It’s important to respect your cat’s preferences and find other ways to show them love.

“Your cat’s fondness for hugs is like a human’s taste for coffee – it’s acquired, not inherent. So, brew your love carefully!”

Tips & Things to Know

1️⃣ Not all cats enjoy being hugged, and forcing them into unwanted physical contact can be a source of stress. Pay close attention to their body language – signs of discomfort may include their body going stiff, attempting to escape, hissing, or nipping.

2️⃣ If you want to hug your cat, approach it slowly. Wait for the cat to approach you first, pet it gently, and then slowly move into a hug. If at any point the cat shows signs of discomfort, stop and release it.

3️⃣ Even if your cat doesn’t like hugs, there are other ways to display your affection such as brushing them or playing with them. Cats perceive their favorite people as sources of comfort and security, and they can sense your moods. So, showing your love in a way they are comfortable with will still be appreciated.

Frequently Asked Questions, Answered ✅

1. How can you tell if your cat enjoys being hugged?
– If your cat is purring, moving closer to you, and tapping you with their paw when you stop, these are signs that they enjoy being hugged.

2. What are some signs that your cat does not like being held?
– If your cat’s body goes stiff, they hiss, attempt to escape, or nip at you when you pick them up, these are signs that they are uncomfortable with being held.

3. How long have cats and humans coexisted?
– Fossil records suggest that cats and humans have coexisted for over 10,000 years.

4. Can cats sense our emotions?
– Yes, studies have shown that cats can sense our moods and consider their favorite people as a source of comfort and security.

5. Can you train a cat to accept hugs?
– It is possible to train a cat to accept hugs, but it is important to go slowly and let the cat approach you first. It is also important to observe your cat for signs that they are not enjoying the embrace and to release them if they show signs of discomfort.

Max Kozinskiy
Max Kozinskiy
Max Kozinskiy is a seasoned writer and an enthusiast of dog breed expertise. Having dedicated over 5 years to studying the intricacies of different dog breeds and their unique characteristics. His profound insights and love for our four-legged friends have made him an invaluable part of our team.

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