One question I’m commonly asked about is whether it’s possible to turn a reluctant cat into a lap cat. Many people have visions of sitting in a comfy chair by the fire with a sleeping kitty curled up on their lap. Are some cats born to be lap cats and others aren’t? Well, there is something to be said for genetics and kittens of friendly, social feline parents may be more inclined to view a person’s lap as a welcoming place. Additionally, kittens raised by friendly mother cats tend to have an advantage when it comes to social behavior.
There’s also an important socialization period for kittens from 3-7 weeks of age where frequent, gentle handling by humans can help build trust and increase the chances of those kittens being comfortable and more sociable as mature adults.
Not every cat wants to be a lap cat though and some, despite your best efforts would prefer to sit next to you rather than on you, but you know what? That’s perfectly ok. It may not be exactly the way you want it but rather than be disappointed, enjoy the unique and loving ways your cat does show affection and trust.
If you want to try to entice your cat into becoming a lap cat, here are my seven tips, but keep in mind, even if this doesn’t turn her into your constant lap buddy, it can help strengthen the bond between the two of you.
Tip 1: Create a secure environment for your cat
In order for a cat to let her guard down and relax, her living environment needs to represent safety and security. If your environment is stressful or chaotic, she won’t feel she can put herself in such a vulnerable position. If it’s a multicat household, she may not feel it’s safe to come out of hiding and be visible on your lap. Evaluate the living conditions to ensure it provides consistency, security and comfort. It could mean you need to start by first installing a cat perch, cat tree or a few hiding places in the room so the cat feels comfortable enough to stay in the same area as you.
Tip 2: Provide a calm, trustworthy presence for your cat
If you want your cat to settle on your lap, there are some “pre-lap” preparations you should do. Start by making sure the ringer on your mobile phone is off and that your phone isn’t wedged in your pocket. You don’t want to be wiggling around in the chair to retrieve a phone out of your pants pocket at the moment your cat just gets comfy on your lap. Also, if you do talk on the phone or if you talk to other people in the room, keep your voice soft and comforting. A sudden loud laugh or shout will surely send your cat flying off your lap.