From the Editors of The Daily Cat
Cats are creatures of habit, so any change in a cat’s behavior can be cause for concern. Your cat could be afraid that you’ll hurt him when you touch or pet him. That may be the case if he is injured or ill. There are times when you feel sick and do not want people around you. Cats are the same way, except they withdraw even more when they feel ill.
Four things almost always cause chronic anxiety in cats: illness, pain, fear or a change in your cat’s routine. More than one of these can be at work at a time. Assuming that your cat is in good health, something about you or the environment you share with your cat might have changed. Obvious answers are a new roommate, pet or house move, but even subtle changes can bother savvy felines.
Cats also have incredible memories when it comes to negative stimulation. If you accidentally once hurt your cat when you petted it, he may remember that moment for a long time. You may need to reinforce bonding with your pet by setting aside daily play periods with favorite toys -- such as a kitty pole toy -- and quietly approaching him for regular gentle head rubs and massages.