Why doesn't our cat like hugs? How can we get our cat to accept our affection? What happened to our huggable kitten?
Whoever raised the kitten, and that could be us, might have inadvertently taught the cat to dislike it.
We can train the cat to like it again.
We start with a fist. Yes, your reaction means this is something we don't think of. But to a cat, it doesn't mean you want to punch them. It means you won't grab them.
Start the game by lying on the floor, and reaching our fists to our cat, inviting them to smell it. Cats usually love having us down on the ground and will quickly show interest in us.
We offer them our fist, and then pet them with it.
Over several sessions, we pet them more, and we learn how this particular cat likes to be petted. The cat will show us by rubbing our fist with their body part. We don't go to another spot. We pet them at that spot.
Sometimes, cats lose their enjoyment of petting when they start getting big. Then we can't pick them up so well with grabbing hands; but we keep doing it. Cats find this awkward, and we can inadvertently hurt them.
So then they don't like getting picked up, and we get upset because they don't like getting picked up.
By the time we can hug them to us on the floor, we then start getting up with them in our arms. We have to do this slowly and carefully; dropping the cat would send the wrong signal.
For more about petting, see Fist of Friendship.
For more about picking the cat up, see The Forklift Move.