Where Do Cats Like to Be Petted and Do They Actually Like Belly Rubs? - petsitterbank

Where Do Cats Like to Be Petted and Do They Actually Like Belly Rubs?

Where do cats like to be petted? Cats are in many ways the perfect addition to any family as they make for intelligent, cute and calming companions capable of arranging their own exercise and cleaning.

But the creatures also have a reputation for their capricious natures, where they appear to invite being petted one minute, only to change their mind the next.

So whether your feline friend seems to always adore attention or is sometimes a little less-than social, here’s where cats like to be petted and whether they actually like belly rubs.

Why Petting Is Important

It is best to avoid petting a cat’s belly
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While scientific studies indicate petting animals such as cats can help relieve stress and anxiety in humans, owners aren’t the only ones reaping the rewards of an impromptu stroke.

Petting a kitty in a manner enjoyable for them is a way to interact socially with your feline friend and help foster a real bond.

Additionally, petting is also a practical way to spot any issues occurring under their hair often invisible to the naked eye, such as fleas, ticks, scratches, bumps or swollen or potentially painful areas.

It can be notoriously tricky to tell when a cat is unwell or distressed, and being aware of these early signs can help ensure your cat is seen by a veterinarian as soon as possible.

Where Do Cats Like to Be Petted?

Do Cats Actually Like Belly Rubs
Most cats enjoy being petted to some degree—just not on their bellies
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Pam Johnson-Bennett, author and Cat Behavior Associates expert, believes while no two cats are the same, the pets do have a penchant for being petted in particular areas.

She told Newsweek: “Each cat is an individual, so you always have to allow for personal preferences. In general, many cats typically prefer being petted around the head and under the chin.

“When you think about cat-to-cat social contact, they tend to groom each other in this region and don’t venture down the body.

“For some cats, petting along the spine or near the base of the tail can be too stimulating and may actually be uncomfortable.”

How to Pet a Cat

Where Do Cats Like to Be Petted
Understanding how to pet a cat in a comfortable and enjoyable way can be a great way to bond with the cute creatures
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It is important to be respectful of a cat’s space and to feel confident whether the animal might even wish to be petted, from judging its body language.

Pet experts Purina claim purring is an almost universal sign that the cat is giving humans the green light for being rubbed, while turning away, retreating, scratching and hissing are common indications it is time to stop petting.

Johnson-Bennett suggests a good idea is for humans to make their intention to pet the cat clear from the outset.

She said: “Before petting a cat with whom you aren’t familiar, practice feline etiquette by extending your finger for the cat to sniff.

“This is similar to the nose-to-nose greeting two friendly cats would engage in before any physical contact.

“If the cat sniffs your finger and comes closer or even rubs against it, that’s probably an invitation to pet. If the cat doesn’t move or backs away, that means no petting is desired.”

Lauren Finka, a Postdoctoral Research Associate at Nottingham Trent University, wrote in The Conversation how kitties usually—but not exclusively—enjoy attention close to their head.

She said: “As a general guide, most friendly cats will enjoy being touched around the regions where their facial glands are located, including the base of their ears, under their chin, and around their cheeks.

“These places are usually preferred over areas such as their tummy, back and base of their tail.”

Do Cats Enjoy Belly Rubs?

Kayleigh Kilcommon, Head of Cattery at Mayhew, believes the business of belly rubs is based on a misconception.

She told Newsweek: “Contrary to popular belief, when a cat lies on its back with its belly exposed, this isn’t an invitation for you to give them a tummy rub.

“For the most part, your cat is letting you know that they feel safe in your company and that they would like your attention.

“Your best reaction to this kind of behavior is to give them a good scratch on the neck or behind the ear!”

Where Do Cats Like to Be Petted
Always pay attention to a cat’s body language while petting them
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Johnson-Bennett appears to agree, adding: “When it comes to belly rubs, most cats would prefer you to stay hands-off. This is a very sensitive area and when petted, it often elicits a defensive reaction.

“In a relaxed setting, a cat may stretch out and expose the belly but don’t take that as an invitation to touch or you could end up getting scratched or bitten.

“The belly is where vital organs are and cats are very protective of that vulnerability. When cats physically do battle, one cat may rollover as a defensive posture to indicate that if the opponent continues to advance, all weapons, ie teeth and claws, will be employed.

“So, although there are some cats who may tolerate or even enjoy a belly rub, the majority of cats do not. Don’t pet the belly no matter how soft and inviting it looks.”

Where Do Cats Like to Be Petted
Cats young and old often enjoy an occasional pat or scratch
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