Is there a reason why my cat sits next to me but not on my lap? What can I do to change that? If these two questions have been on your mind, and you’re worried that there’s something wrong with your beloved furry kitty, you’ve come to the right place.
The first thing people picture in their mind before getting a cat is a fluffy ball curled up on their lap, purring and enjoying life. Unfortunately, I’m sorry to report that not all felines will enjoy lap time. But, thankfully, there are several tricks you can try to change things.
Don’t let your dreams get crushed, and keep reading to find out all about the factors that lead to this behavior and the actions you can take to be an even more loving cat parent.
Why Won’t My Cat Sit On My Lap?
Well, there are a few things you can do to make your cat a lap cat, but before we go there, you have to understand why not all cats will rush to jump on your lap in the first place.
1. The Age You Got Your Cat
Suppose you got an orange tabby only to discover it doesn’t want to sit on your lap. Aren’t orange tabby cats so affectionate though? That’s why you choose this type of cat in the first place! Well, the color of their fur is just one factor… the more important consideration is how old the cat was when you got her.
Kittens are energetic, love roaming around the house, and most of them will take a well-deserved nap in your lap. But, if you took in an adult feline, the chances are she’ll need some time before she becomes trusting. In some cases, she might not ever be a lap cat! Experts recommend that the best time to get a cat and train it is when it’s around 12 weeks old, so if you adopted a cat older than this you might have your answer.
In some cases, mature cats that become less active will start craving extra love in your lap. So, if you’re wondering “Why is my cat so affectionate all of a sudden?”, age could also be why! However, this doesn’t happen with all senior cats, and it just depends on the personality of your feline.
2. Where You Got It From
The cat’s background is another factor to keep in mind. Well-socialized felines are more likely to sit on your lap. They’re already familiar with petting, handling, and human touch, so they know what to expect. These are cats and kittens raised in environments with a lot of people that paid them plenty of attention.
Conversely, if the cat was raised in an environment where it didn’t socialize much with humans or other pets, it may be more hesitant and fearful of you. Thankfully, this is something you can work on. As long as you learn how to handle your cat properly and read her behavior, you’ll gain her trust, and eventually, she’ll hop on your lap. Avoiding a non-socialized cat won’t do you or her any good. You just have to be patient until they’ll learn how to socialize.
Another group of felines that aren’t likely to jump on your lap is the ones that come from homes with abusive owners. These are referred to as trapped cats, and you should be ready to spend extra time and effort before you can convince them to trust again.
3. You Have More Than One Pet
Not all felines are comfortable in the company of other pets. These don’t have to be cats necessarily, but they can be a dog, birds, or any kind of pet that you have at home. Felines are notorious for being territorial, so being in the same room or house with another pet makes them anxious and fearful.
In other words, your cat might feel on edge because of these other animals, and this reflects in their attitude towards you. This behavior will be even more pronounced if the other pets enjoy spending time on your lap. Your cat may see this at their territory and not hers.
4. The Way You Pet Her
The way you pet your feline matters! You might think you’re doing everything right and that you know your cat well, but that’s not always the case. I’m not saying this to make you feel bad or make you sound like a bad pet parent, but to help you overcome the issue.
For example, if your cat refuses to get on your lap but hops on your friend’s lap each time they visit, you should reconsider the way you handle her. Try studying her behavior and building a trustworthy relationship. Your cat biting and attacking while you pet her is either a sign that you didn’t hit the right spot or that she’s playful and needs to spend some of the energy playing with you and her toys.
5. Simply Not A Lap Cat
If none of the other factors above apply, I’m sorry to announce, but your beautiful feline is simply not a lap cat. That’s totally fine, and there’s nothing wrong with her! Every cat has a different way of showing affection, so look out for other signs that your cat loves you instead.
How to Make Your Cat a Lap Cat?
Do you get jealous when other pet owners brag, “I love letting my cat sleep on my chest” or “my cat follows me everywhere and sleeps with me” but you can’t even get yours to sit on your lap? Try not to! Remember, each feline has a different way of showing its affection.
However, if you’re craving her warmth on your legs and you desperately want to turn her into a lap cat, then I have a few practical tips you should try.
1. Create a Stress-Free Home Environment
Living in a loud, messy home can be a huge stressor for felines, especially those who were abused or come from a non-socialized background. If your cat is hiding and acting weird after you take her in, she probably needs some time to adapt. Likewise, if your cat is not eating much but acting normal, this could also be a sign of stress and anxiety.
Your goal is to create a stress-free household and let her know that there’s no reason for her to be fearful. The second they feel safe, have their own lounging space, and live in a warm, quiet house, they’ll start opening up more and more. Get them a cat tree, a bed, and other potential hiding places where they’ll feel secure.
2. Try Luring Her With Treats
If you see your cat sitting like a human right next to you on the sofa, this is the perfect chance for you to lure her to your lap. Grab the treats and entice her over. You can start by placing a few treats on the sofa, then a few on your lap.
This technique can work wonders for shy kittens and cats that love eating but aren’t confident enough to get on your legs. You can also try it if your cat is laying right in front of your legs and invite her to jump on the sofa. If she gets on your lap, don’t force her to stay there and give her all the freedom she needs. Avoid petting her the first time too so you can slowly gain her trust.
3. Become a Quiet Household
A calm environment is essential for kitties that are easily scared and are still hesitant to enjoy the comfort on your lap. Ensure that your phone ringer is off and turn off all the loud appliances in your home. When talking to others, keep your voice down, avoid laughing out loud, and remove all the sources that can release irritating sounds during your petting session.
4. Give Her Freedom
No one likes limited freedom! Like the feisty creatures cats are, they’ll become even more resistant to get away from you if you prevent them from jumping off your lap. So, one of the first things you have to learn about the cat’s behavior is that she enjoys being free to go wherever she wants, whenever she wants.
You trying to stop her and holding her against her will on your lap can only have an adverse effect. If this happens several times, your feline will stop jumping on your lap and will probably find other ways to be affectionate. Each time you notice her wiggling, trying to move away, just let her go.
5. Read Her Body Language
As I mentioned before, you must learn how to read your feline’s body language. Most pet parents are under the impression that a cat wants lap cuddles each time she runs towards them, meowing. Well, that’s not always the case. This might be your cat letting you know that she’s hungry or that she wants you to play with her.
Examine her behavior when she’s on your lap enjoying the cuddles and remember what she does when she wants other things. It will make it much easier for you to know when your fluffy feline is irritated, hungry, playful, or doesn’t want to be petted.
6. Learn How to Pet Her
Yes, we all think we know how to pet our cats, but do we? There are different types of strokes while petting and your feline might prefer some over others. Certain stroke types can irritate her, whereas if you do everything right, she’ll love spending time on your lap. Try to figure out the pettings spots your cat enjoys the most.
The best way to do this and give her the pets she loves is by watching her, following her reactions, and doing only the things she responds well to. Is your cat purring? Does your cat make biscuits on you? These are all signs that you’re petting her the right way. However, if your cat bites you or looks tense they could be feeling overstimulated and will quickly try to jump off your lap as soon as possible!
7. Don’t Play Tricks
Have you been luring your kitty to your lap for a purpose other than cuddles? For example, have you been using it to trick your cat into a false sense of security so you can administer medication or trim her nails? Playing tricks with your cat is a huge no! These are intelligent creatures that will remember what you did, and the chances are they’ll stop jumping on your lap once they suss what you’re up to.
Most cat owners’ ultimate form of affection is their feline being on their lap, purring, and falling asleep. And so having a feline that’s not a lap cat hurts, especially when you hear stories from friends saying how loving and cuddling their cats are.
However, if yours doesn’t even want to get near your lap, don’t worry. There’s nothing wrong with your kitty at all. If you really want to get your cat to sit on your lap, try implementing all of the tips I have offered above. Before long you’ll be the one bragging to your friends about how affectionate your cat is!