How Do Cats Like to be Pet

In honor of both National Adopt a Cat Month (June), and Animal Rights Awareness Week (June 12-18), we wanted to post a blog recognizing all of the finicky cats of the world! It's no secret that some cats are riskier to pet than others, and that you should always use caution when attempting to snuggle a new kitty. We broke down the do's and don't's of cat petting to help you be more successful in your attempts. 

An article on vetstreet.com gives a pretty good explanation about why most cats prefer you stay away from the belly rubs. Cats are predators, no doubt, however they are also very aware that they are also prey to many larger animals. Because of this, exposing their bellies allows easy access to their most vital organs. That's a risky move for an animal that's bred with strong survival instincts. Because of this, it's best to take your cues from kitty before diving straight for some belly rubs with a cat you are unfamiliar with. 

So what are some good spots that a majority of cats will enjoy?

  • Base of the chin, where the cat's jawbone connects to their skull - this is good with slight pressure or light scratches, typically in a back and forth motion
  • Back of the ears - this is a common scent marking spot for cats. When a cat rubs his/her head against you (also known as "bunting") they are marking their scent on you and therefore claiming you as theirs. Light scratches or a massage feel great to most kitties in this spot
  • The cheek area, right behind their whiskers - you can switch back and forth between sides or use both hands to give kitty a full little head massage. This is another good scent marking spot on a cat and a back and forth motion will usually illicit some nice purrs
  • Base of the tail - although, we do recommend you read the cat's body language. If they are biting/nibbling at you, meowing strangely or pulling their butt down, they are most likely over stimulated. If they raise their butt in the air, they are asking for more scratches and enjoying the little hip massage
  • A simple neck to tail stroke is usually a safe bet with most cats, especially an unfamiliar feline

So what happens when you and kitty are having a great snuggle session and they "suddenly" lash out at you? It's important to note the quotations used here with the word "suddenly." Most of the time, a cat will give you body language clues that she is no longer enjoying the rub down. These signs can include things like lowered/flattened ears, a twitching or flicking of the tail, raising a paw, or no longer purring. Maybe you've accidentally hit one of their "no-no" spots or the cat has become overstimulated. Regardless, if you face yourself finding your hand in the death grip of cat claws, catster.com has some tips for dealing:

  • Instead of pulling your hand away (which will trigger an attack/predator instinct in the cat) try gently pushing your hand towards the cat. 
  • If the lash out happens on more than one occasion when you are petting a usually okay spot, you may need to take your cat to the vet to make sure something isn't causing him pain
  • Never hit, kick, or yell at a cat - not only can this injure him or her, it will further frighten the cat and can cause a more sever attack, and potentially damage your relationship with kitty or the trust the cat has in people in general

To see more pictures of this sweet silver tabby, check out his Instagram!

Guest Post by: Sondra Davenport, Neonatal Kitten Specialist

Urban Paw is an innovative pet products company providing pets with the best sleep possible. From cat huts, cat cuddlers and cat houses to dog mattresses, dog huts and dog houses, Urban Paw offers long lasting pet beds and stylish pet beds for dogs and cats. Affordable pet beds designed for comfort and style, Urban Paw is dedicated to helping cat rescues and dog rescues raise funds and awareness for animals in need.