Getting a Cat to Be More Affectionate — Not a Lost Cause!

Trying to entice your reclusive kitty to become your snuggle buddy will take some motivation and determination, but it might just pay off.

Getting a cat to be more affectionate
Why is my cat not affectionate? By: Tomi Tapio/Flickr

Cats are known for being more aloof than dogs, which is disappointing for cat owners who want a cuddly, affectionate kitty.

Although some cats are quite affectionate and will happily cuddle up in a warm lap, others are resistant to being petted, picked up or cuddled.

If your kitty is not naturally affectionate, there are some things you can do to bond with your cat to make interactions between the two of you more positive. Your cat may never become the constant companion by your side like a dog is, but you should be able to both give and get some affection from your cat eventually.


Take Care of Your Cat’s Needs

Unless your cat is comfortable and happy, bonding is likely to remain an issue.

One way to encourage affection from your cat is to make sure that she has all that she needs to be healthy, happy and comfortable. Keep the litter box clean, and make sure that your cat always has access to fresh water.

Feed her a quality food full of nutrients, and give her plenty of toys to play with. Buy a variety of cat treats so that you can determine which ones she likes best, and keep some on hand at all times.

While cats often prefer to choose their own sleeping place, buy a cat bed or have soft bedding available for her to sleep on. Rub her bedding on you so that it picks up some of your scent. She’ll associate her safe, resting area with your smell.

A scratching post will provide a place for her to scratch that will make her happy and prevent her from upsetting you by scratching on the furniture. If she has all of her basic needs met, along with a safe environment, your cat will be more relaxed and open to bonding with you.

Watch this video as Trish sits down in her lap — you can hear the purring:


Lavish Your Cat With Affection

When you get up in the morning, if your cat doesn’t greet you, go out of your way to find her and greet her; if she is hiding, however, don’t disturb her. She’ll likely emerge when she is ready to eat, and the sound of a bag of food rattling or the can opener will draw her out.

Pet her and talk to her frequently so that she becomes accustomed to it. She’ll already be associating you with feeding, which is a definite positive, and by stroking her gently and speaking softly to her, she’ll be comfortable around you.

When you come home from work, be sure to seek her out and show her some attention. Cats, as all animals, are creatures of habit. When your cat gets used to being close to you and being touched by you, she may learn to like it and return the affection.

Feeding and Affection

Your cat will be happy when she is being fed, so that is the perfect time to show her some affection.

Put the food in the dish, and while she’s eating, gently and unobtrusively pet her. Do this each time you feed her, and she will associate the positive feeling she gets from being fed with your touch as well.


If your cat is resistant when you try to pick her up, then try playing with her instead.

Roll a ball around the floor and sit there while she bats it around. Dangle a wand toy for her to tug on. If she seems comfortable with you while you’re sitting on the floor, place her in your lap while you move the toy. It may not be as good as being able to hug her and cuddle her, but it will be a form of physical bonding that could progress into the cuddling that you’d like.

Once she gets used to you being around while she’s playing, you’ll have more opportunities to pick her up and test the waters.

Treats and Catnip

When your cat comes out of hiding and near you, reward her with a treat or two. She’ll again associate you with positive feelings, and may even begin to seek you out so that she can get treats.

Cats are crazy for catnip, and it can make them more affectionate and friendly as well. Keep some fresh catnip on hand to give to your kitty on occasion.

While kitty is rolling around and enjoying the catnip, sneak in a few hugs or some soft petting. You and your cat will both enjoy the experience.

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