How to properly pet a cat

Do you understand your cat?

Cats were known to be solitary animals, incapable of being friends with animals around them until they became domesticated. Modern-day cats, unlike their ancestors, are seen more as companions than pest control animals they were initially used for. Still, your cat’s natural instinct may be similar to that of a wild cat but it is tamed and conditioned by your interaction with them.

Don’t get it twisted, your cat loves being stroked.

Despite the myths, we have seen how affectionate cats can be, but remember, this type of human interaction has to be learned.

When to stroke a cat

Not every time or any time you feel like. Instead, what you want to do is provide the cat with as much control as you can over the interaction. You do this by just two simple steps. According to scientific studies, the interaction will be more pleasing to a cat when she initiates the interaction.

Stroking and petting

It is hard to go wrong if you focus on areas with scent glands, which is usually on the cat’s face.

Begin with a gentle chin-scratch

Gently, use your fingertips and nails to scratch around her chin. Look for the part where her jawbone connects with her skull and gently caress. You will notice how she will push her face into your palm to enjoy it better.

Stroke her on the cheek

Run your hands on your cat’s cheek which is just behind her whiskers. Follow through from her chin and slide upwards and backward, you may find her rotating her whisker in excitement.

Move your hands up a little and stroke around her ears

Use your finger and focus on areas around and behind her ears applying a little more pressure than on her cheek. This area is a spot full of scent glands, so be sure to stroke her there.

Stroke the side of her face

Most people just go ahead to stroke the cat’s body and run their hands all over her belly when her face is where she likes being stroked the most. Take your time on her face, use single fingers to stroke her whole face from the top of her head making circles down to areas around her mouth.

Now you can stroke her body

Since you’re all so familiar with this one, you know how she arches her back to increase the pressure while you are petting her back because she likes it. Run your whole hand now from your cat’s neck through her back to the base of her tail. Repeatedly massage her neck, going back and forth from head to tail. Try not to make front and backstrokes, stroke in one direction from head to tail like you’re brushing down her fur with your hand, take it slow and apply some pressure.

If she turns around, gently stroke her belly

Cats do not lie on their back too often but when they do, it could mean either of two things. First, they may do that to show that they are ready to fight, especially when they’re in combat with other cats or animals to display their claws. More with the friendlier cats, they may reveal their bellies on fewer occasions when they want you to playfully stroke them and you’d notice their excitement.

Signs of positive emotion

It is good to know what your cat is feeling so that you either stop or continue. Positive emotion means she likes whatever you’re doing. Some positive signs include:

  • Tail firm and held up or moving from side to side with eagerness to make contact.
  • Gentle purring and kneading softly against you.Looking completely relaxed with ears facing forward, pricked, and eyes closed.
  • Your cat may nudge you gently when you stop stroking her briefly trying to tell you to continue.

Signs of dislike

  • Moving or turning away from you.
  • Hissing and loud purring.
  • A sudden and quick turn of her head towards you or your hand because she is agitated.
  • Snapping her teeth at your hand, biting or swiping your hand away.

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