If you own a cat, you probably experienced your cat seemingly enjoying being petted one minute and then biting you the next. We dismiss it as an attitude problem with our cats. However, what's likely happening is that we're just not petting them right.
A few years ago, a research journal validated what pet parents already recognized: good communication with pets reduces stress. This is terrific information for your health, yet if you have a feline, you might wonder if the feeling is mutual. Do pet cats like to be cuddled? Do pet cats like to be held to them?
The answer depends on how you do it. Despite the usual and persistent myth that they are aloof, many cats welcome the show of love and affection from their people. Petting and also holding your pet cat helps to develop a good connection between the two of you.
The Cat's Ancestry
To understand why felines may seem not to enjoy being petted, we first need to understand a bit more regarding feline's ancestry. Cat's ancestors (the African wildcat) used to be treated as a mere parasite control. However, modern-day felines are often treated as valued friends and even referred to as "fur babies."
This social shift in the human-cat connection is thought to have happened around 4,000 years back--a little later than the domestic dog. Although this might seem like an adequate amount of time for cats to adapt to their new social roles, this is unlikely to be the case for your feline friend. Likewise, domestic cats show reasonably modest genetic aberration from their forefathers, indicating their minds are possibly wired to think like their ancestors still.
Wildcats live singular lives and invest significant effort and time interacting indirectly--using visual and chemical messages--to stay clear from having to see each other. So it's likely that our domestic pet cats acquired many of these social skills from their wildcat ancestors.
On the other hand, humans are naturally social types--preferring togetherness and showing affection through touch and cuddles. We are likewise drawn to childish-looking features--big eyes and forehead, a small nose, and a round face--this is why most of us find our pet cats so cute. It's not unusual that our initial reaction when we see a feline or kitten is to want to pet, snuggle, and smush them. But it may surprise you to know that many cats can find this type of communication a little overwhelming.
Although many felines like to being petted, and in some instances, will prefer us over food, human communication is something they need to be comfortable with and learn to respond to. When it comes to human-cat interactions, the attributes of people are additionally crucial. Our personality, the areas of the pet cat's body we touch, and how we typically handle cats may all play an essential part in how cats react to our affections.
And while some pet cats might respond aggressively to unwanted physical attention, others may tolerate us for the good stuff (food and lodgings). That said, a tolerant feline is not always a happy pet cat. High stress and anxiety levels are reported in cats that endure instead of proactively oppose to being petted.
How To Pet a Feline
The secret to success is concentrating on providing the feline with as much option and control throughout our interactions with them. For example, they should have a choice whether they want to be cuddled or otherwise, and control where we touch them and how long.
As a result of our tactile nature and love of adorable things, this might not come instinctively to most of us. And it will likely require a little continence. Yet, it could well pay off, as research reveals that communications with cats are most likely to last longer when the feline, rather than the human, are the ones to initiate.
It also pays to note the cat's habits and posture during petting and cuddling to ensure they enjoy it. When it comes to touch, less is more is the general rule.
Head, Shoulders, Cheeks, and Nose!
So, in which areas do cats like to be cuddled? The head, chin, and neck are frequently their favorite spots. While some cats delight in having their tails touched, others will recoil and experience discomfort from a tail touch. Take it slowly, paying very close attention to your feline's reactions to your touch and always valuing their preferences.
The most important trick is to allow your cat to take the lead in every interaction. Allow your pet cat to smell your index finger and touch its nose against it initially. If your cat intends to snuggle, it will push its face to your hand and guide you to its ears, chin, or wherever it wishes to be petted. Letting your cat lead the petting will likely loosen them up and create a more relaxed atmosphere. If your cat begins pushing you with its head or rubbing its cheeks against your body, it's a good indication. These actions are exactly how cats transfer the aroma in their cheek glands to environments and family members.
Along with being petted, do cats like to be held? Often. Most felines like to snuggle and are generally receptive to being cuddled. If you want to gradually learn how to hug your cat properly, it is best to start with a few soft pets. After that, carefully scoop your cat up. Be sure to catch all four of her legs to make sure that they don't hang. If the cat feels safe in your arms, it'll be inclined to stay there. If you feel that your cat wishes to escape, set it down carefully and attempt to do the hug at a later time.
Signs of feline pleasure:
- Tail held upright
- Purring and kneading you with their front paws
- Gently waving their tail from side to side while held in the air
- A loosened up stance and facial expression, ears pricked as well as directed forwards
- Providing you a gentle nudge if you pause while you're stroking them
Signs of dislike or stress:
- Shifting or turning their head far from you
- Staying passive (no purring or massaging)
- Exaggerated blinking, licking their body, or licking their nose
- Fast, short bursts of grooming
- Rippling or shivering skin, usually along their back
- Swishing, thrashing, or thumping tail
- Ears going sideways or backward
- A sharp, unexpected turn of their head to face you or your hand
- Biting, swiping, or batting your hand away with their paw
Whether felines make good "fur babies," then, is highly open to debate. A lot of cats do like being touched. However, lots possibly don't--as well as a lot are only tolerating it at best. Eventually, though, when it concerns pet cats, it's important to appreciate their boundaries--and the wildcat within--even if that means admiring their cuteness and cuddliness from afar.