A 3-step Guide On How To Pet A Cat Properly

A cat’s behavior can be puzzling to a pet owner at times. Cats lovingly brush against the legs, obviously wanting to be petted. But the minute you reach out your hand to touch them, they scurry away in fright or hiss at you with disappointment.

If this is a familiar scene with you and your cat, then it is time to learn about your cat’s inclinations to create a more loving relationship with her (and avoid getting bitten, too!). 

Simple Steps on How to Pet Your Cat (or Any Cat For That Matter!)

Knowing how to pet a cat can put you out of harm’s way and make her fall in love with you.  Try this simple three-step strategy:

Step 1: Establish Rapport

Refrain from randomly reaching out, especially if the cat is unfamiliar or new. If you just start petting it, it is bound to get shocked. Think of cats as wary people who are scared of strangers. They also get uncomfortable; even more so given that you are about 10 times their size. Also, once you establish rapport or trust with your pet, you can easily feed her or give her supplements that can make her healthier and develop a sunnier temperament.

Pet a cat

Step 2: Wait for the cat to come to you 

Cats know what they want. They will seek your attention if they feel like doing so. When you go into a room and notice your cat ignoring you, then just go about with what you need to do. It is the same when seeing an unfamiliar cat. Wait until it comes to you and starts slinking around your legs and rubbing his cheeks up and down against them, meowing, or occupying a space on your lap.

Step 3: Do not go all out in one go

Pet the cat by scratching the area between the ears. Avoid giving full-body massages until you are sure the cat wants it.

How to Find Your Cat’s Sweet Spots

Aside from the steps cited above, some cats prefer getting petted in some areas than others. By keeping these areas in mind, you can avoid petting the wrong spot. However, when petting the cat, you should let it happen only when they give you permission to. Also, be aware of the intensity of your touch. Even if you touch the cat’s right spots but you rubbed them vigorously with force and intense speed, the cat will likely get agitated and start biting or scratching your hand. Other than the area between the ears, these areas are bound to rake in positive reactions from your feline friends.

Photo by Yerlin Matu on Unsplash

  1. Bottom of the chin. Rub his chin gently using your fingernails or fingertips. Try to linger a little longer along the area where the jawbone meets the skull. Some sure signs that your cat enjoys it are pushing into your stroke or extending her chin forward. 
  2. Bottom of the ears. Like below the chin area, this spot enables the cat to mark scents. The process is called bunting. 
  3. On the far side of the whiskers. A cat will indicate pleasure if she rotates her whiskers toward you and closes her eyes. It means she wants more.
  4. Along the sides of the face. After a few minutes of petting, you can try moving forward by using your middle finger when stroking the area between the nose and the lips and forming a circle on her face. Once you reach the top of the head, stroke it using your thumb to make the cat go gaga over you.

These areas are usually safe to touch so long as the cat gave you the go signal to pet her. Generally, some cat behaviors such as slow eye blinking, kneading, holding their tails up, or licking the person or themselves are indicative of pleasure when getting petted in a specific area. However, you need to watch out if the cat starts moving away from you, flicking its tail, or licking its lips. These are signs that the cat does not want to be petted in that zone. 

That One Area You Should Never Touch

There is one area that dogs absolutely love getting touched. Unfortunately, if you do the same with cats, you are in for a big trouble. 

Photo by Jonathan Fink on Unsplash

Sometimes, a cat might turn on her back and try to look all cute and comfy. You might be tempted to give the cat a good ol’ belly rubs. But, no. This cute move is not an invitation to do anything of that sort. It only shows that the cat is awarding you with acceptance and is expecting you to respect her personal space. Some cats may enjoy tummy rubs, but most of them feel violated when given one. 

Cats are certainly enigmatic. However, knowing how and where to pet cats will surely keep you in their good graces.

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Charles is a certified pet-lover. He, together with his wife, enjoys doing volunteer work in various animal shelters at his city.

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