Why Your Cat Doesn’t Want to Be Held

According to the most recent estimates, over 47 percent of US households include at least one cat, and the total number of pet cats is over 94 million. That means nearly half the families in the US are sharing living space with an animal whose behavior can, at times, seem impossible to interpret. If you have a cat at home, you’ve probably scratched your head a few times at his or her behavior. If so, you might find Dr. Becker’s answers to common cat parent questions helpful.

Why Does My Cat Seem to Avoid Eye Contact With Me?

Looking one another directly in the eye is a type of human greeting that doesn’t come as naturally to other species. Have you ever wondered why cats seem to gravitate toward the only people in the room that don’t like them? It’s probably because those people aren’t looking at them!

Gazing directly into the eyes of another creature may be considered a way of asserting dominance, so it’s possible your kitty feels threatened by prolonged eye-to-eye contact.

Every kitty is different, but as a general rule, once a cat is settled into a new household and is given consistent care and a dependable daily routine, he’ll learn to trust and bond with at least one family member. On the flip side are cats who follow their people around, demanding attention in the form of eye contact and petting.

If your kitty isn’t confident or comfortable in his environment, staring at him can make him feel anxious. A better approach is to glance away when a cat meets your gaze to show that you aren’t a threat.

Why Does My Cat Blink Slowly at Me?

Has your cat every done the slow blink with you where she looks at you, blinks in slow motion and then (sometimes) looks away? Interestingly, just as a voiding direct eye contact is normal for cats, so is the slow blink.

“Cat Daddy” Jackson Galaxy calls this the “I Love You Blink.” It’s a slow, intentional blink, and it’s your one and only way to meet your kitty at the “communicative fence.” According to Jackson, when your cat closes her eyes in your presence, she’s saying, “I allow myself to be vulnerable to you, a potential predator.”

To share the “I Love You Blink” with your cat, look at her with your eyes open, close, then slowly open. This is your way of telling your cat that you love her with your eyes. You’ll notice that your cat will return the slow blink to you.

Why Does My Cat Seem to Hate Being Held?

Cats are natural predators, but they’re also prey. Predators restrain prey animals, which is why your kitty needs to maintain his ability to move freely and escape. It’s also why your cat may feel stressed when you hold him, even though you’re being affectionate.

Cats like to have all interactions on their own terms, so it’s best to let your kitty come to you. Of course, some cats love to be cuddled, but many do not, and can only tolerate it for brief periods.

The right way to pick up an agreeable cat is with one hand under the chest and other supporting the back legs. Hold him gently against your upper body so he feels secure. If he pushes away, looks toward the door, flattens his ears or twitches is tail, that’s your cue to put him down quickly and gently.