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Ultimate Guide to Petting Your Cat: Understanding Their Body Language and Building a Bond

What makes cats happy?

Caring cat parents want to provide the nutrition, environment, and enrichment cats need to thrive. We also want a relationship with our cats because the bond between pets and their people is a meaningful one.

Do cats enjoy being petted?

The idea that cats are solitary creatures who snub humans is mostly false. Some individual cats may snub their families, but most kitties enjoy spending time with their people.

It’s true that cats don’t take to petting the way some other domestic animals do, though. While most dogs seem to relish a full body rubdown, long stroking sessions on the couch, and lots of physical contact, cats typically appreciate a more restrained approach.

“Certain cats,” says feline behaviorist Jackson Galaxy, “cannot take being petted like this over and over again.” So should you ignore your cat? By no means! Just pet her like she’s a cat, not like she’s a dog.

Why do cats enjoy being petted and scratched?

For cats, petting and gentle scratching show affection. The oldest theory about why cats like to be petted and scratched says that the action reminds them of their mothers. Your pet considers you his new “mom” and expects you to render the same treatment a queen cat would bestow.

Some cats may like petting because they enjoy mixing their scents with yours. By blending scents, the cat develops a sense of security and trust. Others cats may like to be petted for the same reason most people enjoy a good massage, a hug from a friend, or a kiss from a partner.

Where do cats like to be scratched?

Cats enjoy being scratched in different places. Here are some of the most common:

  1. The cheeks – Scratching a cat’s cheeks is a popular choice. The cheeks contain scent glands, so rubbing them will help spread your scent with your cat.
  2. The chin – Scratching the chin is also a favorite for cats. This area contains scent glands, and rubbing them will help strengthen the bond between you and your cat.
  3. The tail base – Scratching or petting the base of the tail is another common choice for cats. When your cat raises its tail, it is often a sign that it wants to be petted, so use this opportunity to stroke the area under its tail.
  4. The ears – Scratching the ears is also a common way for cats to display affection and bonding behavior. If your cat tolerates this type of stimulation, it is a sign that your cat is bonding with you.
  5. The sides – Scratching the sides of a cat’s body is also a popular choice. Scratching the sides of a cat’s body can help it feel more content and safe. Scratching a cat’s sides can also help it feel more relaxed and less stressed.

Scratching cats should be done with care and respect, and only in ways that are enjoyable for them.

How do cats like to be petted?

Most cats enjoy being scratched. A few like a firm rub on selected body parts. Not many enjoy being stroked in the way other domestic pets do. Just treat your cat like a cat, and she’ll be a happy kitty.