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Hug your tiger – or not?

June 4th is Hug Your Cat Day - a nice occasion to show your cat a lot of love. But how do we best do this? Should we really hug them or could that be uncomfortable for our tigers?  

The character of your tiger obviously plays a big role. Some cats need a lot of cuddles and want to be close to people. For example, they sit on their owner's lap or climb onto their stomach when they want to take a nap or just get a few cuddles.  

Other cats, on the other hand, are more shy and prefer to keep to themselves. Maybe they would like to be petted, but please do so at a distance.  

But what exactly does it mean with hugs?  

Hugs can cause stress in cats  

For humans, hugs are an expression of affection, but for cats, close physical contact can cause stress. A hug can be confining, and as natural hunters, cats instinctively associate this feeling with being captured by a predator.  

But there are exceptions here too, because, as already mentioned, cats have individual preferences when it comes to physical touch. While some cats tolerate or even enjoy the close physical contact of a hug, most cats don't really like being hugged. It is important to observe the cat's body language and respect its boundaries.  

If a cat shows signs of discomfort, such as fidgeting, pulling away, or growling, stop the hug and choose alternative forms of affection that are more comfortable for the cat. Because our velvet paws are naturally independent animals and usually prefer looser forms of affection. They tend to appreciate gentle touches such as stroking and head scratches.  

Be careful if your tiger has just been treated with medication to protect against ticks, fleas and other ectoparasites. Then you should initially refrain from cuddling, because the products can cause itching and skin irritation. The same applies if your cat wears a tick collar, for example.  

Caress properly – but how?  

Our velvet paws also have their own preferences when it comes to petting. However, there are some areas that many cats particularly enjoy. A popular place for petting is the head. Many cats love to be gently stroked on the head and behind the ears. This area contains many sensitive sensory organs and stroking this area can therefore have a calming effect. Some cats also like gentle scratching under the chin or along the neck. Strokes along the spine, from the neck to the base of the tail, are also often popular. The tail, however, as well as the stomach area is a no-go for many kitties. They also don't like being stroked against the direction in which their fur grows.  

It is important to observe the cat's reaction to determine whether he is enjoying the cuddles or not. For example, purring or cuddling are good signs.  

So in principle you can hug your tiger - but try to pay attention to whether he really likes it or not.