The relationship between humans and felines can be a complicated one, so when we ask the question “Where do cats like to be pet?”, it’s not always a straightforward answer.
Some pet parents report their felines are quite content to be scratched and petted wherever their favorite human ventures, while others…well…you may just get a swift swat from Kitty if he or she decides they’ve had enough or don’t want to be petted in a particular area, like their tummy for example.
In this post, we will explore the topic of petting a cat, (where do cats like to be pet the most), how cats purr, and some other fascinating and cool cat petting facts.
Petting a Cat
If you have ever wondered ‘Where do cats like to be pet the most?’ without diving in with both hands first, then you may be in for a surprise.
Cats tend to enjoy being petted around their cheeks, under the chin, and behind the ears. These are generally good places to stick to, especially if the feline you are trying to make friends with is not your own. Once the cat becomes more comfortable with you, you may be “allowed” to pet down their back, the tail, the base of the tail, or even the tummy region.
The Cat Belly Rub
Be aware that the cat belly rub can be a tricky area and one that should not be entered into lightly or with a feline you are not familiar with – my female gives very clear indications when it’s safe to proceed with a belly rub (this is usually when she’s sleepy and snuggled on her blanket beside me on the arm of the sofa). However, there is a method that must be followed.
A friend of mine, who has a beautiful cat, must put her face on her cat’s tummy (similar to a nursing kitten) with her arm running along her back (if she just uses her hand, she will usually get a good kick from her cat’s back legs to warn her off). I believe this method (with this particular cat) works because it seems to bring out her maternal instincts. I wouldn’t recommend ever sticking your face onto a cat’s stomach unless the animal is completely comfortable with this action.
Some cats may flip over on their backs and present you with their tummy (almost like an invite) but most often you will get a nip or swat for your attempts. This reaction is likely due to instinct and self-preservation. The feline’s (or any animal’s) underside is very vulnerable and if it were to be viciously attacked, it would certainly mean death, so it only stands to reason that the cat will defend this area.
The Neck & Shoulders
Some cats like to be petted along the neck and shoulders with a kneading-like motion – I refer to this action as the “Kitty massage.” My male loves this and will sink on all four paws and purr up a storm while I gently work those little shoulder muscles with gentle pressure.
Some Forbidden Zones
I have rarely come across a cat that enjoys having its paws touched – too bad, as they are so smooshy-cute! This is most likely because the cat’s paw is super-sensitive to pressure, temperature, and pain. Plus, it probably doesn’t help that they may think every time we touch their paw we want to clip those nails.
Another region on the cat that could be persona-non-grata is the tail. I have personally never had a problem touching or petting any of my cat’s tails. However, some felines may experience pain from having their tail stroked or handled too much, such as a Scottish Fold Short Haired Cat. If your cat experiences a similar reaction, then try to avoid this area.
How Cats Purr
Most pet parents know when they have hit those “sweet spots” when petting their cat because we will hear the purr. Interestingly enough, the feline species doesn’t have a special “mechanism” that allows them to produce the purr. This vibration is made through the rapid movement of the larynx in combination with the diaphragm – these muscles can move from 20 to 30 times per second!
Each cat’s purr is unique to them and can range from a low rumble to higher-pitched registers. Some cats purr very quietly, while others can be heard around the home.
Petting a Cat
Studies show that petting a cat can lower stress levels and the amount of anxiety in your life. The comfort factor from a cat can improve a human’s quality of life.
Whether you have a shorthair cat or one with mounds of fur, petting your feline properly will make for an enjoyable (and healthy) experience for you both. For most of the feline species, when you are petting your cat to its heart content, you will hear their signature purr. If not, you may have to redirect your efforts to answer the question of where do cats like to be pet, as each feline has its favorite spots.