How to Create a Kitty Cuddler

Can you turn an aloof cat into a lap cat?

Do you have a cat that isn't so much a lap cat as he is a free spirit? Have you always hoped for the type of cat that would spend all of his free time cuddling with you, but yours doesn't seem to like to get closer than a couple of feet away from you? Is there a way to turn a loner cat into a kitty cuddler?

Well, there are personality differences among cats that mean that you might not exactly be able to get your cat to agree to be a purring lap cat if he naturally isn't, but there are some things you can do to encourage a shy cat to enjoy cuddling on your lap more.

First, Make Socialization a Priority for Your Kitten

When you get a young cat or kitten, handle him frequently and always use a gentle voice and hands in your interactions with him. Pet him a lot, speak calmly and soothingly to him, hold him on your lap as much as you can, and encourage your friends and family to handle him a lot, too. The best time to create a kitty cuddler is when the cat is a kitten because his brain will be most ready to adapt to such socialization during that time.

Provide Your Cat with a Secure Home

If you have an adult or older kitten or cat that is already shy or doesn't like to be cuddled much, there are still some things you can do to encourage him to feel safe being a lap cat.

Provide your cat with lots of hiding spots and vertical real estate where he can hang out and watch the goings-on in the home while he feels invisible. Cats like to watch things from afar to gain confidence about dealing with them.

Give the kitty lots of stress-relieving opportunities. That means having good scratching posts available, spending time every day engaging in interactive play with him, making sure he doesn't have to compete too much or travel too far for cat resources in your home (like litter boxes, food and water dishes, cat beds, and scratching posts), and using Feliway diffusers to help him feel calmer.

Use Positive Reinforcement to Your Advantage

If you want your cat to hang out in your lap, you can train him that it's a great place to be through positive reinforcement. Start out by offering him treats to calmly sit or lie down near your lap. You might have to start by tossing him a treat from 10 feet away, but you can work up to having him get closer and closer before you give him the treat.

Always speak calmly and positively, and don't let yourself get frustrated. Never grab your cat and force him to sit on your lap because that could scare him and cause him to avoid it even more in the future. Don't use lap time to accomplish unpleasant tasks that your cat doesn't like, either. Save tooth brushing, claw clipping, and medication administration for other times.

Sometimes it helps if you use a lap blanket to encourage your cat to sit on your lap. That little bit of separation can help him feel more comfortable, and it can also keep hair off of your pants and protect your legs from claw pricks if he starts kneading with happiness.

Some cats just won't ever be lap cats, but you can still use these techniques to help your cat feel more comfortable being close to you and spending quality time with you.

You May Also Like These Articles:

Interactive Play with Cats

How to Socialize an Older Cat

Is Your Cat Scratching Because of Stress?

Why You Should Consider Adopting an Older Cat

What Is Cat Kneading and Why Do They Do It?

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