Imagine that you come back home after a long and tiring day at the popcorn mines and all you want is some peace and quiet. You brew yourself a heartwarming mug of hot chocolate, put on a wholesome rom-com, and start looking for your cat so you can cuddle with it in an evening of bliss.
However, your cat’s in no mood to be hugged, cradled, or petted! It tells you ‘NO’ in very clear terms and you’re left devastated. So much so that you take a photo and post it on the internet. Bored Panda has collected some of the funniest and most emotional pics of cats telling their owners that they’re definitely not in the mood to cuddle and it’ll improve your mood, no doubt about it. As you scroll down through this feline wonderland, remember to upvote the pics of the cats that you’d definitely love to hug. And be sure to let us know in the comment section how your cat reacts to your cuddles!
Ingrid Johnson, a certified cat behavior consultant and the founder of Fundamentally Feline, told Bored Panda that each cat's desire for physical touch is unique and different. And it's when we fail to notice when our cats aren't comfortable with being hugged that we might get bitten or scratched.
Please Release Me
"Some cats have some degree of hyperesthesia syndrome and are actually hypersensitive to touch which can result in aggression. It is truly uncomfortable for them and not nice to push them to the point of overstimulation," cat behaviorist Ingrid explained to Bored Panda.
"However, the cat is often 'screaming at you' to stop touching them in their own way: tail flicking, skin rippling and rolling, ears back and to the side, pupils dilated. They are agitated and telling you to stop in 'cat language.' It is when we do not 'listen' that we get bitten. The cat tried to warn us but we are human and didn't pick up on the cues."
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Ingrid said that both a cat's character and their current mood are important when it comes to whether or not they'll allow their owners to cuddle with them. "Cats and dogs don't really like 'hugs.' Humans just impose it on them anyway! Some cats are more tactile sensitive than others so respect your individual cat's preferences for touch," she said.
Cat behaviorist Ingrid joked that when it comes to cats, it's a bit like dating. "Play hard to get, ignore them, let them approach you on their owns terms, and everyone will be better off for it! They feel much safer when they are in control and can decide if they want to approach," she said.
"If you have a cat that does get over-stimulated always leave them wanting more. If the fifth stroke gets you bitten, stop at 2 or 3! Let the cat 'do the petting' by letting them rub on you and dictate how much they want to engage. Everyone will be happier if we do not force affection that is unwanted."
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Cat cuddles are wonderful for our health! It’s not just our personal experience but also science that confirms this. Cats, just like other pets, have a calming effect on their owners: they help reduce blood pressure, as well as heart rate levels.
Furthermore, owning a catto helps you manage stress better and helps improve your physical and psychological health.
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One study found that owning a pet for just a month brings about a “highly significant reduction” in small health issues like headaches, colds, and back pain. Owning a pet, according to the researchers, can have “positive effects on human health and behavior, and that in some cases these effects are relatively long term.”
The physical benefits of owning a dog, however, are greater because you get out more when you go for walks. But don’t let the felines know that I told you this, they might start plotting their revenge! In brief, having any pet at home is good for you. So go hug your cat. And, if it says ‘no,’ send us a picture!
"You Can Stop Now"
In a previous interview with Bored Panda, Ingrid told us all about how cats help reduce stress and how our welfare (both physical and mental) depends on our bonds with our pets.
According to Ingrid, how much cats reduce the stress in our lives depends on our very unique relationships with them. The more we’re willing to learn about our pets, the more we’re familiar with our cats’ behaviors, quirks, and needs, the happier they’ll be. And, by extension, so will we.
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"For many people, our pets are a great comfort, a best friend, a listening ear, and a source of unconditional love. Sadly, for others, their cat might stress them out, or they might find the cat annoying. This is usually due to a lack of understanding about how to best care for their cat and meet their needs, train them, etc. Those pet parents should seek the help of a qualified behaviorist! While some research claims that pets relieve stress and lower blood pressure, other studies have disproven this theory,” Ingrid said.
Unlike dogs, cats usually don’t develop an instinct to protect their owners or housemates. “Not to be negative in any way, but cats often self-preserve. This is how they have survived and evolved to be survivors over thousands of years,” Ingrid said.
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“Their instincts are generally to hide to avoid danger or to flee. They prefer not to fight as that increases the potential for injury. An injured cat cannot hunt and take care of themselves so 'going into battle' is not their first choice," the cat behaviorist told us.
Ingrid explained that cats really do like us best when we play “hard to get.” By being too open with our affections, however, we might just push them away and make them run from our cuddlesome grasps!
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“Respecting an individual cat's preferences for engagement is a good way to respect them," Ingrid detailed that each and every cat is unique and has a particular character. Some might be more open to hugs than others and you should be aware of their needs, not just your own.
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There are other ways than just feeding your cat, changing its litter, and refilling its water bowl (or, well, hugging it so much it tells you to stop immediately). They need entertainment and stuff to do, otherwise, they’ll get bored without much stimulation.
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"Providing a feline-friendly environment that meets the cat's needs is the best way to ensure you have a happy cat that feels safe and will 'love you back.' This means offering vertical space cat trees or cat condos, playing with your cat daily to offer opportunities to hunt and relieve stress, offering multiple outlets for scratching, and offering different substrates (they all have unique preferences) and just providing an engaging environment."