If your cat is not affectionate, this post will show you a number of possible reasons why and what you can do about them.

So, why is my cat not affectionate? Possible reasons why your cat is not affectionate are that previous owners mistreated it, illness, injury, petting it the wrong way, being too forceful around it or because it is naturally timid.

There are actually a number of possible reasons why your cat is not affectionate and it might be due to a combination of them. However, there are some things you can consider when figuring out the main cause and there are some things you can do about it.

Why is my cat not affectionate?

Below are a number of likely reasons why your cat is not affectionate and what would make each of them more likely.

Previous owners

The cause could be that previous owners mistreated it and it learned that it shouldn’t show affection. This would be more likely if you got your cat as an adult.

Cats are also meant to get exposure to humans before they turn three months old. If your cat did not get much exposure to humans as a kitten it might be the case that it never learned to be trusting of them. This would be more likely if your cat has always been skittish.

Illness or injury

The cause could be that it is ill or injured. This would be more likely if it has stopped being affectionate suddenly and if it has also been showing signs of being ill or injured such as sleeping more or being fatigued when awake. In this case, the best option would be to take it to a vet.

Nature

It might be the case that your cat is naturally not very affectionate. This would be more likely if it has always not been affectionate and if it is a cat breed that is known for not being so affectionate.

If you want to get it to be more affectionate you could try rewarding it when it shows signs of being affectionate and to avoid rewarding it when it is not affectionate.

Petting it the wrong way

It could also be the case that there is an issue with the way you have been petting it. It could be the case that you have been petting it too strongly or you have been doing it in a way it does not like. This would be more likely if your cat does show affection sometimes but it stops when you start petting it in a certain manner.

Being intimidating

It might also be the case that you have been intimidating it. You might have been intimidating it by approaching it too quickly, being too loud or aggressive around it or because you accidentally hurt it. Instead, it would help to be calm with it and to approach it slowly.

Fearfulness

It could also be the case that something has been causing it to be fearful. This would be more likely if your cat does show you affection sometimes, but it does not when there are things that could be causing it to be fearful. Things that might cause it to be fearful could include loud noises or other people or pets being around that it does not like.

Things to consider

Below are some things to consider to help figure out the main cause.

If your cat was more affectionate in the past

If your cat stopped being affectionate suddenly, it would help to consider what else happened when it stopped being affectionate. If it stopped doing it suddenly, it might be due to things such as a change in its environment, you stopped giving it as much attention yourself or you inadvertently scared it.

What is different when your cat is affectionate

If your cat is affectionate sometimes, it would also help to consider what else is different when it is affectionate. For example, if it is affectionate when nobody else is around, it might be the case that it is not usually affectionate because it gets intimidated by other people or animals.

It could be showing affection towards you that you are not realizing

It is also important to consider that cats can show affection in many ways and it might be the case that your cat has been being affectionate but you haven’t been noticing it.

Ways that your cat might actually be showing affection towards you could include:

  • “Nosing” you which is where it touches you with its nose and smells you
  • Putting itself into vulnerable positions when it is around you
  • Licking you
  • Leaning on you
  • Bringing things to you
  • Following you around

What to do about your cat not being affectionate

Below are some options you have when dealing with the behavior.

Show more affection to it yourself

It might be the case that your cat thinks you do not want it to show affection towards you. To fix this, it would help to show your cat affection throughout the day by petting it and playing with it.

Pet it differently

As mentioned above, it might be the case that there is an issue with the way you have been interacting with it. Instead, it would help to pet it in a way that it seems to like and to be calm around it. Usually, cats prefer to be rubbed below the chin instead of having a full back rub.

Author

I created and currently run Kitty Cat Tips, the website that you can go to when you have questions about your cat's behavior. It's my hope that you find Kitty Cat Tips to be a helpful resource. It is also my hope that it will help you to improve your relationship with your cat. You can read more about me and my website here.