Companionship is essential to so many of us. We often find that a great source of this companionship comes from our cuddly pets.
It’s rumored that 97% of pet owners talk to their pets. On top of that, 62% feel like their pets understand what they’re saying. Our pets are another member of the family. They’re comfortable and a known commodity.
A good many of these same pets provide another important benefit. They cuddle. They’re more than willing to wrap themselves around your body or hop into your arms when you settle in at the end of a long, hard day.
But what makes a cuddly pet? And what are some of the best to bundle up with? Let’s check out and discuss all those loveable, burrowing beasts.
What is the Definition of a Cuddly Pet?
We could just spurt off a long list of adjectives. Endearing, adorable, appealing, delightful, enchanting. That doesn’t quite convey, though, how this correlates from a pet to its owner.
We’ll define a cuddly pet as one that will use their physical being to show their owner affection or physiologically manage their bodies. There's nothing quite as soothing or special as when your pet decides to come in for a snuggle.
Luckily, there are tons of cute and interesting creatures you can befriend that don’t require a lot of maintenance. Spoiler alert: they aren’t all furry and fluffy.
The Old Reliables
Some people consider being called “basic” an insult. But we think it’s a compliment. Being basic means that you’re part of the standard. You’ve earned your place in the pantheon of important pets. You’re not going anywhere.
There are but two pets that have proliferated our entire existence pretty much since the beginning of time: cats and dogs.
Why Cats are Cuddly Pets
Cats are playful, moody and complex creatures. Let’s start by saying that unless they want to acknowledge you, you’ll not be getting any cuddles from your cat. But when they do, there are several reasons why a cat shows affection.
You’re a warm-bodied thing that provides your kitty food and a roof. You’re their parent. They learn this same behavior as a kitten snuggling with their mom and siblings. Those cats that have been properly socialized at a young age are more likely to be the same full-grown pets that head for you for warmth and comfort.
Certain breeds have a higher genetic, energetic disposition. In other words, some cats are more enthusiastic than others. Those that are more predisposed to a vigorous existence, such as the Bengal and Siamese, are less likely to nestle up with you at night. However, there are breeds like the Ragdoll, Sphynx and Persians that are more than happy to spend a good bit of time with you.
We all need attention, right? Your cat isn’t any different. What better way to grab your attention than rubbing up on your leg or plopping on your lap? We’re sure you’ve seen a barrage of pictures and videos on Instagram and TikTok where a cat is sitting in front of the TV or on top of its owner’s computer.
We don’t know if you know this, but even though you pay the bills, your cat owns your home. They could be sitting on your lap or, occasionally, on your head to get a better view of their surroundings.
Who Doesn't Want a Dog to Cuddle with?
Dogs may be different from cats, but many times their need to huddle up with you comes from similar needs to those same felines.
They nestled with their mother and siblings from birth as well, just like kitties. But, pups, genetically speaking, take it one step further. They’re pack animals. You’re their protector. You being the alpha and they want to keep you in their good graces. Bonding for most dogs is a necessity.
Dogs love to love and be loved in return. Oxytocin is released as you pet and bond with them. There are even new studies that outline how simply gazing into your dog's eyes and holding contact will release chemicals that make them feel great.
Some pups communicate with their bodies. There are plenty of breeds - from Golden Retrievers to Pugs - to almost every different Doodle - that enjoy a good snuggle session. Every dog has its own personality.
Your nuzzling mileage will vary from pup to pup. Be warned, however. Those that are truly physical communicators on many levels won’t like to have their bodies constricted and might not love to curl up with you as much.
The biggest difference between cats and dogs? Some dogs can get a lot bigger. Even though your Mastiff might be three feet tall and two hundred and some pounds, they’ll still try to lap sit if given the chance.
The Cuddliest Pets Aren’t Always the Most Obvious
If you thought only dogs or cats like to cuddle, have we got a surprise for you. There are a ton of other animals that bond with their owners. They also want to share your warmth and companionship.
Bunnies are simple and beautiful creatures. And, when separated from others of their species, they will bond with their human counterparts. This is true of most herbivores. They like to eat and keep to themselves. When they’re not munching on the leafy greens, they will spend a little bit of time with you and yours.
On the smaller side of things, Guinea pigs can learn to be nuzzled as well. Not unlike dogs, they can vary greatly in their personalities. Keep in mind that you are a lot bigger than they are. It may take time for them to get used to you and figure out who you are. And even then, they might want to hang out with you once a day. Or it could only be one or two times a week at most.
Don’t let their rodent-like features confuse you. Chinchillas will love to explore you as well as around you. These high-strung animals won’t ever be comfortable being hugged and squeezed due to their skittish nature. But they could get used to their surroundings enough to spend a little time in your hands on your lap.
It should be obvious that pythons love to hug. There are other snakes out there that will embrace you as well. It really depends on your affinity for slick skin and size that will inform your decisions about how close you might want to get with them. Not all snakes like humans or can be naturally socialized, so do your research.
Turtles won’t rush to you and hop into your arms after work. That’s not to say that they can’t be affectionate with you. They know you exist and you can tell if they’re loving being with you. They recognize your face and shape and will follow you around the room with their eyes and head. Your turtle will be watching you when you’re not gently petting its head and shell.
Other scaly yet exotic beasts are of our lizard varieties-- iguanas, geckos and chameleons-- most of which actually enjoy hugs, pets and long walks in the park. While these guys scurry quickly on all fours, they equally love to be nestled.
Let’s not forget about our fine feathered friends: the birds. Parrots are hyper-social creatures. While some animals need you, parrots can simply be needy.
While they generally don’t “cuddle” in the most common ways, your shoulder is just another perch that it will more than happily nest on. Be warned: they can self-harm if they feel like they’re not getting enough or getting too much of the wrong kind of attention. Let them bond with you and don’t stray from their side. You’ll be okay.
From ferrets to sugar gliders, ocelots to bearded dragons, Capuchin monkeys to Pygmy goats, there are an endless number of pets begging to be adopted, ready to receive love and burrow next to you all night long. Open your home to any of these animals and they’ll be looking for a shoulder, head, back or lap not too long thereafter.
The Health Benefits of Cuddling
Or should we have called this section The Science of Snuggling?
There are countless health advantages of cuddling with your pet. You might feel better and your depression may lessen as a result. Two neurotransmitters released during cuddling, dopamine and serotonin, are responsible for this. Additionally, it lowers your cortisol levels, which is the hormone in charge of all undesirable emotions like worry and stress.
We aren’t always blessed with someone to share our space with though. Pets, in general, are unparalleled in value for those that are in desperate need of this companionship. For those that aren’t or don’t have the ability to be social, these animals can save lives. The same can be said of children with anxiety or other such disorders. Comfort and friendship abound.
As we mentioned with dogs, all of these pets seem to benefit from all of your affections as well. Your cold-blooded compatriots love that you are a giant heating pad. They have the same wants and needs as we do. Depression can be averted simply by making physical contact. Our pets deserve the same love and stress relief that we do.
Type YouTube into your search bar. Follow that with “Cuddliest Animals.” A gigantic stream of cute and endearing videos will present itself. You can laugh and sigh and be heart-warmed for hours on end. Or you could do one better...
Determine how much space and time you have to dedicate to a pet. Then use the information above to see which best fits your lifestyle. After a short period of adjustment, you’ll be snuggling and cuddling to your heart’s desire. These are your companions. You’re important to them and they are to you as well.
This security has its benefits as we’ve shown in example after example. But, if you have chosen to home a pet, we still think Doodles are the best. Reach out to us and start the process of making your day a little brighter right now.
Jenna and the JLDD Team