I’ve only had experiences with a handful of kittens. Literally – only one litter if you’re only talking very young cats, though I have considerably more if you’re considering kittens that are around 6 months to under a year old.
Most of my experience with cats has to do with older cats, especially those that are over 1 years old, which is even past what most would consider a cat’s “teenage years.”
Although I do have a reasonable amount of experience with kittens and teenage cats, it’s definitely not enough to tell you any surefire patterns I saw about weeding out kittens that become lap cats, or even whether there are any surefire ways to know at all.
I don’t think it is possible to know with certainty that a cat is going to be a lap cat.
That being said, I firmly believe you can train any cat to be more snuggly, not in a change-its-personality-way, but in a cats-are-flexible and if you show them it can be nice to cuddle with you a lot of them will be more likely to.
Check that article out if you’ve already got a kitten on your hands and want to try training him or her to be more cuddly over time.
My experience with kittens tells me something different from the popular opinion I’ve seen floating around that you basically can’t ever tell at all how a cat’s personality will turn out when they’re too young.
This is true to an extent, but in my experience, you can at least partially gage a kitten’s future personality by his or her present.
At least, you can do your best to pick out a kitten who’s got the most potential to be cuddly when he or she grows up – if you want to of course!
And this is because a lot of things about a cat, no matter what age, simply do not change, as much as we may want them to.
When it comes to being a lap cat, I actually think it’s possible to tell if a kitten is going to end up this way if you try to get a cat who’s more heavy on the spectrum of having particular traits over others.
Though you can’t tell with the best accuracy of course – and some kittens may have none of these traits and still turn out cuddly, but I think it’s far less likely.
I’ll of course get into these in this article, but I’d like to point out that I don’t have anywhere near the amount of experience with cats that a lot of you guys have, however, and as a collective whole, a lot of times we can weed out a more accurate interpretation of cat behaviour, so I would really love it if you took the time to share your experiences in the comments below on this topic if you’ve got the time.
Now let’s get into how I think you might be able to tell if a kitten’s going to become a lap cat when he or she’s an adult.
Kitten Traits that Might Indicate He or She May Grow Up to Be a Lap Cat
Kitten Trait 1: Not being much of a biter (of humans!)
Maybe there’s some tie between aggressiveness and biting?
Maybe cats who like to bite and chew on things run a little more on the hyperactive side? Or anxious side?
I am not sure what it is, but if kittens are big biters, in my experience, while they do grow out of it as adults, they often are a lot less on the chill side.
Oh and, in case you’re wondering, the picture above is of Cleo as wee kitten, biting my leg (and yes, quite hard!!). I housed her for a year and a half, and now she’s with my brother.
And no, this stupendously adorable little one did not turn out to be all that cuddly – big surprise, I know! Haha.
She still cuddles considerably, with her favourite people (like my brother!), but it has to be at the right time, and she is not often in the mood like all the other snuggly cats I know, so I definitely wouldn’t qualifier her as any sort of lap cat, although she can sometimes be on laps… sparingly!
Kitten Trait 2: The ability to calm down after play (versus insatiable hyperactivity)
To me, the ability to calm down after play seems to be a good signifier of whether a cat’s more likely to turn out the type who will become a lap cat.
There are cats who are lazy, cats who are hyper all the time, and cats who are able to get hyper pretty often and have a lot of fun, but still calm down after a bout of play and are able to settle.
In my experience, cats that don’t seem to have an off button, and instead of flying off the handle, then chilling out, are still craving more play no matter how much you throw at them, are unlikely to become as cuddly in terms of potential for being lap cats in the future.
It’s again, not that they have to be calm all the time (although that may indicate a cat will make for a good lap cat) or that the cat is not playful ever.
Cats can be playful, but if a kitten never wants to rest and keeps insisting on play all the time, I would guess that cat will grow up to still be obsessed with never wanting to be still on many occasions, rather than a cat who will sit down and cuddle.
Kitten Trait 3: Not being bothered by human interaction
The cats that have anxiety or stress or just get annoyed or frustrated at human interaction are unlikely, in my experience, to completely grow out of it.
Although this is true it’s also true in my experience that some people just jive with these cats better than others. What’s that mean? If you’re not the right personality type for your cat, you likely won’t jive just right.
As I’ve mentioned earlier, Cleo the kitten grew to be an adult cat who was capable of cuddle time, and honestly she made vast improvements over time.
But while she’s not a cuddly cat with me at all, not when she was living with me nor when she moved to my brother’s place, she is a sporadically cuddly cat with him.
Not enough for me to say she’s a real snuggler, but enough that he gets some quality time in regularly enough when she’s in the mood.
Kitten Trait 4: Craving human interaction and attention from humans
Some cats are more into other cats’ attention. Other cats are into human attention. Some are into both to a great degree. Sometimes cats are not into attention from either.
If you’re looking for a cat who’s most likely to be a snuggly lap cat when he or she grows up, try to go for a cat who prefers the attention of humans if you can.
Kitten Trait 5: A touch on the lazy side
The cats I’ve had the best luck with into turning into mega snugglers are those that are a touch on the lazy side. Make of that what you will.
Kitten Trait 6: Not scared of humans
There have been cats that are not just anxious around humans but are quite scared of many humans, especially new ones.
These cats can turn out to be mega cuddlers, but usually they select specific people that they sort of imprint on like ducklings, in my experience, and thus you may not be just-the-right personality for your cat if you bring one of these home.
That being said, you may, and if you are, you will likely have the kind of bond few others can have with a cat like that.
Kitten Trait 7: Not a sass, a diva or finicky
Okay this is a bit of a personal preference, I think, but the cats who I’ve met who are snuggly and yet a bit on the sassy, diva, or finicky side (i.e. they really only want your affection if you follow all their rules), are mega cute.
I love figuring out just how a cat wants to be pet. Under their chin, on the nape/back of neck, and on their chest or faces being some common ones, on the very front of their faces are my two Persian cats’ favourite spots, however!
In any case, this type of game is fun for me, and usually means I end up befriending sass/diva types of cats, like my brother’s cat Kalista, quite easily.
That’s her in the picture above, asking for a kiss by putting her face up as far as she can. She may not stay in my lap for more than a few minutes before squirming out, but she sure has some cute tricks up her sleeve!
These cats take work, so you have to be in for the investment.
Boy is the pay off fun, however – I love getting a fussy cat to love snuggling with me. Even if she never sits in my lap and only ever lets me rub her belly every so often. And yes, I have found that the girls are far more often in this camp than the boys.
They’re also usually more playful and fun than the boys, but gosh do I love my male cats. They’re just so much lazier and there’s something about an old man cat that just makes me smile.
I feel like a lot of people pick cats and kittens based on the way they look – if they think they’re pretty or not – rather than based on personality and a personality match between a human and their cat.
Honestly, that’s okay because things normally turn out fine. Cats often adapt to their humans and humans to their cats.
And those kittens who don’t end up lap cats as adults? Or totally snuggly? They’re so stinkin’ cute and fun to have around anyway. I’m lookin’ at you, Cleo!
Your Turn: Thoughts on Kittens Becoming Lap Cats?
Now it’s your turn! Which kitten traits do you think are most likely to result in a lap cat? Would you recommend someone go for a kitten that’s more in line with the personality they want?
Do you have any experiences with kittens who grew up to be more or less snuggly? Could you tell them apart, looking back?
What amazing stories do you have about cats who you once wished were lap cats, but ended up being stupendously cute about how they interact with you anyway, to the point where you don’t even care that they’re not lap cats?
I know Cleo and Kalista both are that way for me, I would take them in if my brother couldn’t house them anymore in a heartbeat!