3 min read

How to Hug a Cat on National Hug Your Cat Day


Written by Adam Lee-Smith

Veterinary reviewed by:

Published: 06/03/2022, edited: 06/09/2023

Your cat rolls on their back, presenting their fluffy belly, and all you want to do is give them hugs and pets. But as you get close, your playful purring pal lashes out and gives you a warning scratch!

There's no better feeling than hugging your cat, but we're sure most cat parents will agree it's not as easy as it sounds. Even if you know your feline friend might not be in the mood, it can be tricky to resist hugging these adorable critters.

While some cats don't mind being picked up for some cuddles, it can be hard to know whether your little lion is feeling playful, fearful, or affectionate. Learning how to hug your cat will go a long way to building trust and avoiding cat-related injuries.

National Hug Your Cat Day is June 4, so there's no better time to learn how to hug your cat the right way. Let’s dive in!

person hugging a tabby cat

How do you hug a cat?

So, what's the best way to hug a cat? It's best to get your cat used to being picked up from kittenhood. As you pick up a cat, you'll naturally be able to hug them simultaneously.

The best way to pick up a cat is to provide support behind their front legs with one hand and their rear and back legs with your other hand. Being able to pick up your cat is super helpful, especially if you're trying to get them in their carrier for a vet visit.

Before you pick up your cat, try giving them pets or a brush to get them in a lovey mood. You should also make sure your cat is played with for 15 minutes a day to ensure they're well stimulated and less likely to react badly to being picked up.

Learn how to respect your cat's boundaries

Just like humans, your cat doesn't always want to cuddle. Pay attention to your cat's body language before scooping up your furry friend for a hug. Signs your cat doesn't want a hug include:

  • Ears turned back: The ears are a good indicator of your cat's mood. If your cat's ears are turned back towards their tail, they feel anxious or worried about something. It's best to give them space. 

  • Crouching: If your cat is low to the ground and moves away when you approach, it's pretty clear they're not in the mood for hugs.

  • Dilated pupils: Cats' eyes dilate when they feel stressed or excited about a situation. Either way, if your cat's eyes are dilated, it's a bad time to pick up your fur-baby. 

  • Hiding: If your cat is sitting pretty in their favorite den or is just chilling in a space away from their pet parents, leave them alone. Let your cat come to you for a hug. 

  • Tail flicking: Cats' tails often tell a story, and a quick flick back and forth is a sign they're not in a "pawticularly" cuddly mood. Tail flicking usually means your cat is frightened, upset, or stalking prey. 

  • Grooming: Grooming is a cat's way of bathing and regulating their body temperature. Avoid hugging your fur-baby if your cat is in the middle of grooming or starts grooming themselves after you pet them.

Do you have an incredibly cuddly kitty who loves a hug? Share a pic with us on Instagram @wag!

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