How to pet a cat?

Although it may seem impossible, most pet guardians do not know how to pet a cat. Many are surprised to find that their feline reacts in an «unexpected» way with a bite or scratch right in the middle of a relaxing session. However, many have been warned without knowing it.

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How should you pet a cat?

The domestic cat ( Felis silvestris catus ) is, like other wild cats, a solitary animal. However, domestication has notably fostered the social behavior of this species. This means that a cat can be more or less tolerant , depending on genetics, socialization and lived experiences.

We must also know that cats dislike excessive handling , therefore, learning to interpret feline language is key if we want to get to know our cat better, identify his tolerance threshold and have adequate expectations when interacting with him.

Some of the signs that a cat is happy are:

  • relaxed body posture
  • erect ears
  • Tail and head raised
  • walk safe
  • Cola «vibrating»

When you identify these body postures, you will know that your cat is relaxed, receptive and ready to be petted. However, you must also provide confidence by offering a relaxed environment, using a high and soft tone of voice or making slow and progressive approaches.

Likewise, it will be essential to let the cat take the initiative when starting a petting session. We will continue to pay attention to his body language to notice any symptoms of displeasure and we will let the cat go, that is, he himself decides when to end the petting session. We will never exceed, but we will always respect his limits From him.

Now that you know how to pet a cat, next we are going to explain where cats like to be petted.

Where to pet a cat?

As you already know some basic premises, we will explain how to caress a cat correctly, showing you what are usually the favorite areas of the feline body. Even so, you should reserve some time each day to get to know him better, since each cat has his own preferences.

How to pet your cat is easier than you think. We will start by offering long, soft caresses in favor of the hair , never against the grain. The ideal is to always follow the same direction and avoid patting him, hitting him or pinching him, even if the intention is good. In these first sessions we must be as careful and affectionate as possible.

We will start with the head , «combing» the top of the head and the nape of the neck with the fingertips. We can also massage the upper and middle area of ​​the back , starting with the shoulder blades and ending near the thoracic vertebrae. Likewise, we can gently scratch the cheeks and the lower part of the chin, although these areas may be reserved for those closest to us.

To be more technical and specific, we also need to know where not to pet a cat . We will avoid stroking the belly, the tail, the legs or the pads . These areas do not usually please them and it is very likely that we will observe signs of displeasure when touching them. In the case of ignoring them, the cat can begin to increase the intensity of the warnings, through a scratch or bite.

Some of the signs of an angry cat are:

  • tense body posture
  • ears back
  • bristling tail
  • Tail «bumping» or tail too fast
  • Fast movements
  • bristling mantle
  • arched body
  • Open mouth
  • snorts
  • growls

If we observe any of the mentioned signals we will stop immediately . However, we must bear in mind that it is never advisable for the cat to show them. Therefore, the ideal is that little by little we identify what the cat ‘s tolerance limit is and that we never try to exceed it.

In our petting sessions we will always try to provide a positive experience , paying close attention to the cat’s well-being and body language.

How to pet a cat to sleep?

Many people wonder how to pet a baby cat so that it relaxes and falls asleep peacefully. Let us remember that sleep is one of the most important habits for felines, especially in its early stages, since proper learning and well-being depend on it.

Where to pet a cat to get him to fall asleep is easy and simple, since the ideal is to provide soft and long caresses . In addition, we must provide breaks so that the body stops being stimulated and can begin to rest, until we finally stop . Heat, silence or soft music are also keys for the cat to fall asleep.

How to pet a cantankerous cat?

There are many people who wonder how to make a cat allow itself to be petted . However, as we have mentioned before, one of the keys to making this routine positive and respectful is to allow the feline to start and finish it.

In no case should we punish or scold a cat that does not want to be petted. In fact, if we observe that our cat allows himself to be petted less, is aggressive, scared or rejects handling, we should suspect that there is a problem related to stress .

Nor should we touch the cat when it is relaxed, asleep or distracted, because when the cat does not want to be petted and we force it, we are generating a situation of unnecessary stress. Nor will we make sudden movements or withdraw our hand suddenly.

Now, where to pet a shy or skittish cat ? In this type of cat or other cats with aggressiveness problems, handling should always be gentle, positive and gradual. We will avoid the «forbidden zones» and we will use positive reinforcement to make the situation positive. For this we can reinforce with the voice, by means of a » very good » or offer treats for cats .

In the most serious cases, it may be necessary to consult with the veterinarian for management guidelines and the option of using appeasing pheromones to improve the well-being of the feline within the home. It is important to note that stress, especially when we talk about chronic stress, can even affect the health of the individual.

At this point in the article, you already know how to pet a cat, whether it’s surly, to make it fall asleep or simply to give it some extra pampering. Now, do you know how to pet a stray cat? Keep reading!

How to pet a stray cat?

To begin with, we must differentiate the two types of «stray cats» that exist:

  • Feral cats : they have never socialized with humans. They will never accept coexistence and contact with people.
  • Abandoned cats : that have belonged to a family. They can get to relate in a positive way.

We will start by letting the cat sniff our hand so that it can identify us and, in this way, feel more comfortable in our presence. If he does not show interest, we will not force the situation and we will look for a more propitious moment to interact with him. Once again we will look at his body language.

If we observe positive signs, for example that he rubs against us or that he demands attention, then we can try to caress him with care, softness and slow movements . Likewise, be careful if we identify a slight purr, although it is generally a sign of well-being and pleasure, it can also mean that the cat does not feel totally comfortable.

Benefits of petting a cat

To finish this article about how and where to pet a cat, we should mention the various benefits of interacting with a feline and petting it. 

Likewise, the impact on our body is surprising. People who pet cats regularly say they communicate better, have a better ability to concentrate and be more engaged. They also claim that it impacts mood and decreases anxiety .

Thus, there are many reasons why we should pet our cats, both for our well-being and for theirs. If you want to know them, don’t miss this video on our YouTube channel about the benefits of petting your cat .

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