Although petting a cat may seem easy, it’s important to understand the dos and don’ts of approaching and touching a cat, especially for kids or people who haven’t spent much time around cats.
A cat petting chart will help you in understanding what and where you can touch your cat and where it is a forbidden place!
Some cats can become agitated and bite or scratch if they are petted in the wrong place, with too much force, or too quickly. According to experts, you should ask the cat’s permission before petting them and let the cat decide how the interaction will proceed.
There are a few places where it’s difficult to make a mistake; the scent gland-covered areas of cats are ideal for petting. By dispersing their scent, they give their surroundings a comforting aroma that makes them happy and content.
A little cat-human contact can be enjoyable for both of you if you know when and where to touch. Basically, you’ll need to understand cat language. Fluffy will be able to unwind once you both have had a chance to get to know one another. Keep in mind that less is more when petting a cat.
In contrast to dogs, who frequently want to be petted and given attention, cats are frequently uninterested in human contact. If you’re the person who will see a small creature and immediately think: My precious! you’ll need to fix that.
Get a pet. Give them as many options as you can follow our petting guide, and you might get some cuddles in return.
Cat Petting Chart
Check out our feline petting chart to see where cat loves to be petted and what areas you should definitely avoid.
What Is The Best Way To Pet A Cat?
Cats prefer petting that goes in the same direction as their fur so make sure to avoid back-and-forth petting, according to Samantha Nigbur, an ASPCA Behavioral Sciences Team Counselor. The scent glands around a cat’s face are typically the best places to pet her.
When you extend your hand and they respond by pressing your hand against their head or cheek, they are “bunting,” or depositing their scent on you. In addition to marking their territory with scent, bunting serves as a form of communication.
Most cats enjoy having their scent glands areas petted, which are found between their ears, at the base of their ears, on their cheeks, and under their chin, petted. They might also take pleasure in gentle pressure that stops just before their tail and runs down their neck and back.
Cat lovers should be focusing on parts of the area glands when petting a cat.
Start by gently scratching your cat’s chin. Rub the chin gently, paying special attention to the area where the jawbone and skull converge. The cat might enjoy the stroke so much that they push into you or stick its chin out.
Head And Ears
Concentrate on the region behind or in between the ears. Gently place your pads on the head and start rubbing. Cats also leave their scent at the base of their ears. They are designating you as theirs if they “bunt” their head against you.
Just behind the cat’s whiskers, stroke its cheeks. If the cat enjoys it, it might move its whiskers forward to signal a desire for more.
Gently rub the side of the face with the back of your hand. Once the cat is warmed up, stroke their “mustache” (the area just above the upper lips) with your middle finger while encircling their entire face and petting the top of their head with your thumb. It’s all yours.
Forehead To The Tail Base
From its forehead to its tail, feel free to stroke the cat. After petting the forehead, repeatedly move your hand from the top of the head to the base of the tail.
Gently pinching their neck will massage the muscles. Put a little pressure on it, and make it go in slow, continuous motion. Because some cats dislike being stroked from the back to the front, only work in one direction (forehead to tail).
Avoid touching the tail or extending your hand to the side. The cat will arch its back to apply more pressure to your hand if they like what you’re doing.
The cat may vigorously rub their forehead against your hand as you bring your hand back to where you began to prompt you to repeat the motion.
If you spot that your cat pulled its ears back, or wants to walk away, it is a clear sign that she doesn’t want to be petted therefore, you need to stop petting it.
You can gently scratch the cat as you move your hand down its back; however, don’t just stop and scratch in one location. Keep your hand in motion.
With caution, apply a little pressure at the base of the tail. There are cats that enjoy having their scent glands scratched in this area. However, some felines, when they’ve had enough, have a habit of suddenly snapping their teeth at your hand.
What Should You Not Do When Petting A Cat?
Don’t Switch Directions
Do not change directions while petting the feline; continue from the head to the tail. Some cats do not enjoy having their entire body stroked.
Don’t Pat The Cat
Never pat a cat. If you’re not used to being around cats, it’s best to avoid experimenting unless you want to take the chance of getting bitten or scratched. Some cats like it, but some don’t.
Keep Your Hands Off The Belly
Avoid touching the belly. Even though cats roll on their backs when they see you because they are happy you’re there, remember that many cats don’t like it when you rub their stomachs.
This is so that they can protect themselves from potential predators in the wild, unlike dogs who are more self-assured and enjoy having their bellies scratched.
Many cats will start to defend themselves if their stomachs are touched since the belly is the part of their body where all their vital organs are.
Cat loves belly rubs only in special, speeecial circumstances, but they usually interpret it as a request to play rough or engage in scratching and claw-grabbing combat. Your hand or arm will be encircled by their claws, which they’ll bite into and then vigorously scratch with both their front and back paws.
This is how some cats “wrestle,” not always as an attack. Hold still and allow the cat to release its claws if it grabs you with its paws. To get away from the wrath of claws, use your other hand and gently remove the cat’s paw from your hand.
If their claws get caught, cats frequently scratch deeply even when they don’t mean to. When cats want to stop you, they will use their claws to warn you.
Carefully Approach The Feet
Carefully approach the feet. If you don’t know a cat well and are certain they enjoy having their feet played with, avoid playing with their feet. Begin by simply petting the cat to calm them down, then touch one of its feet with your finger to request permission to stroke them.
Many cats don’t like having their feet touched at all, but with patience and a slow, progressive reward system, they can be trained to allow it for tasks like claw trimming.
If the cat doesn’t object, gently pet that foot in the direction that the fur naturally grows—from the wrist to the toes. If the cat starts hissing, pulling their foot away, or flattening its ears, stop whatever you’re doing to your cat.
RELATED: Why Does My Cat Run Away From Me
What Can You Do To Have Successful Petting
Here are some tips you can do to let your cat come to you.
• Before you pet the cat, give it a chance to sniff you so they can get used to you. Give the cat a chance to rub its nose against yours by holding out a hand or finger. If they ignore your hand or just stare at it with suspicion, you should think twice before petting them.
Try again later when the cat might be in a better mood. You are free to touch your cat if the cat meows, sniffs your hand, and rubs its chin or the side of her head or body against your head. Open your palm and gently touch the cat’s body with it.
• Wait until the cat brushes its head against you. A cat’s head bumping into your hand is a sign that they want your attention. To show the cat that you aren’t ignoring them if you are currently busy, at the very least pet them once or twice.
• Pet your cat once if they come into your lap to set the tone. To see if they flinch. If they do, it’s possible that they are just looking to relax since people are a great source of body heat. You can continue to gently stroke their spine if they don’t move around.
• Cats should be petted while lying on their side. Cats simply adore that position while you pet them. Lightly stroke the upward-facing side. They might be expressing enjoyment through meowing or purring. But stay away from the stomach.
• Learn the cat language. The cat purrs, which is a low-pitched sound it makes. One way a cat communicates its social mood and desire for attention is by purring. If you notice that your cat is hip or head bumping you, or ankle twining, it is a clear sign that she wants to be petted.
Sometimes, all a cat wants is a quick stroke, like a handshake or a greeting, as opposed to a lengthy hug and cuddle session. The volume of a cat’s purr indicates how content it is. The happier the cat is at the moment, the louder its purring is.
A quiet purr denotes contentment, while a loud purr indicates extreme happiness. Be cautious because excessively loud purring often signals over-excessive happiness, which can quickly transform into annoyance.
• Keep an eye out for indications that the cat no longer wants to be petted. Even petting that the cat finds enjoyable can occasionally become too stimulating or grating, especially if it happens repeatedly.
A soft, restrained bite or scratch may be a warning to stop if you’re not paying attention. Before biting, a cat will frequently send out a number of subtle cues that they no longer want to be petted. Keep an eye out for these early signs, and if you see them, stop petting:
• Ears flattening against the head
• Hissing or growling
• Tail twitching
Wrapping It Up
To conclude, a cat petting chart will help you understand where your cat likes to be touched and what areas you should avoid.
Use it whenever you have doubts and be gentle with your cat no matter what. If you see that the cat is not enjoying the cuddles and snuggles much, leave her. Cat versus human contact should be enjoyable for both of you so don’t push it.