To Pet or Not?
- Head ✔️
- Cheeks ✔️
- Chin ✔️
- Neck ✔️
- Back ✔️
- Belly ⚠️
- Paws ❌
- Tail ❌
Where do cats like to be pet? How to avoid scratches, bites, and hissing? In this post, we’ll take a look at the areas that most cats like to be touched. So, if you want to make your snuggle sessions with your kitty better, keep reading!
Petting Your Cat: Rules
There are rules you should always follow when petting your cat. Respecting their boundaries goes a long way in bonding!
- Start slowly. When you first start petting your cat, go slow and use gentle strokes. Let them get used to your touch before you start petting them more vigorously.
- Don’t disturb sleeping cats. It may be tempting to reach out your hand and stroke your feline friend while they’re sleeping, but if you wake them up, they may not be very happy with you.
- Pay attention to your cat’s body language. If they start to squirm or hiss, that’s a sign that they’re not enjoying the petting session.
- Know when to stop. Always let your cat walk away when they want to.
Where Do Cats Like to Be Pet? On the Head
Most cats enjoy having their forehead, cheeks, and head rubbed. You can also gently scratch behind their ears. If you’re wondering why your cat may enjoy it, scent glands are the most likely explanation. They’re located around your pet’s chin, cheeks, on the base of their tail, and on top of their head. By rubbing these spots, you’re helping your cat spread their pheromones, which may act as feel-good hormones.
On the Neck
Where do cats like to be pet? Cats are seen as finicky creatures that are difficult to understand. However, when it comes to being petted, most felines have a pretty clear preference: they like to be rubbed on the neck. Why? Probably because it’s close to the head and sensitive to touch.
On the Back
Cats love to be petted on their backs and lower backs (at the base of their tail). They have a lot of nerve endings there, and having these spots rubbed makes them feel comfortable and relaxed. When you pet a cat on their back, they’ll often purr or meow in contentment, and you may see their tail start to twitch.
Scratching your cat’s back is also a good way to show your love. Cats have special glands in their skin that release pheromones when they’re scratched. These pheromones help the cat feel calm and happy, and they may even make the cat feel more bonded to you.
On the Chin
Cats love having their chins rubbed, and they’ll often close their eyes and purr in enjoyment. The chin is actually a very important spot for cats – by rubbing it on objects, they mark their territory with scent. Leaving their scent around helps your cat feel safe and comfortable in their environment.
Where do cats like to be pet? Every cat is different and unique, so take your time to find all the places they enjoy!
On the Belly (Not for All Cats!)
Anyone who’s ever been scratched by an angry kitty can attest to that – not all cats enjoy having their tummies rubbed. Some downright hate it!
But many cats do enjoy a good belly rub now and again, particularly when they’re relaxed and content. If you’re not sure whether your kitty enjoys belly rubs, here’s how to check:
- Approach your cat slowly and let them sniff your hand before you start petting them.
- Pet your cat’s back and sides before moving to the belly area.
- Rub your cat’s belly in a circular motion using light pressure.
- If your cat starts to show signs of discomfort, stop immediately.
Editor’s NoteIf your cat exposes their belly to you, then bites and scratches you when you dare to touch it, it isn’t that they’ve changed their mind. They never asked you to pet their belly in the first place – showing it was either a sign of trust or an invitation to play. When you touched the tummy, you accepted that invitation, and cats like to play roughly!
Where Do Cats Like to Be Petted? Places to Avoid
Where do cats like to be pet? Now you know the best places. But which body parts should you avoid? Cats generally don’t like to be petted on their tail, paws, and the tips of their ears. Let your kitty guide you as to where they do and don’t like to be touched.
If you’re not sure, try touching them in different areas lightly and see how they react. If they start to squirm or move away, that’s a good sign they don’t like it. Avoid such areas unless your cat specifically asks for them to be touched (by rubbing against you, for example).
More Tips for Petting Your Cat
Keep these tips in mind when you’re trying to bond with your cat:
- Be gentle – no one likes to be petted roughly, including cats.
- Let your cat come to you – don’t force them to be touched if they don’t want to.
- Be patient – some cats take a while to warm up to being petted.
- Keep an eye on your cat’s body language – if they start to look uncomfortable, it’s time to stop.
- Enjoy the moment – petting your cat can be relaxing for both of you!
Cat Body Language You May Observe During Stroking
When you’re petting your cat, pay attention to their body language. This will give you a good indication of whether they’re enjoying the experience or not. Look for:
- purring – a good sign that your cat is enjoying being petted;
- kneading – another sign that your cat is happy and content;
- flattened ears – this means your cat is annoyed with the touch;
- swishing tail – again, this is usually a sign that your cat is not enjoying the experience;
- licking you – a cat’s way of saying ‘thank you’;
- hissing – a definite sign that you should stop immediately.
Where do cats like to be pet? Now you know, so it’s time for some back rubs!
Frequently Asked Questions
How Do You Tell If a Cat Likes You?
The most obvious sign your cat likes you is that they’ll purr when you pet them. They may also knead your lap or chest, rub against you, follow you around the house, and slow-blink at you. If your cat is constantly “talking” and coming to you for affection, it’s a sure sign that they love you and they want your attention.
What Do Cats Feel When You Pet Them?
When you’re petting your cat, it reminds them of being groomed by their mother when they were a kitten. It gives them pleasure and a feeling of security – that is, if they trust you. Anxious cats may feel threatened by touch.
Where Is a Cat’s Sweet Spot?
Some people have noticed that their cat has a “sweet spot” at the base of their tail. They lift their butt and blink contentedly when someone scratches it. Other cats may prefer being scratched under the chin or behind the ears.
Why Do Cats Lift Their Bum When You Pet Them?
It’s a positive reaction – they’re showing you that your touch is pleasant and relaxing to them. If they trust you, they’ll lift their bum and tail to show that they’re comfortable with your presence. They may also do this when receiving attention from other cats, as it’s a sign of trust and affection.
Elizabeth Randolph is a freelance writer and pet enthusiast who has been writing about pets and their care since 2003. She has authored articles on a variety of topics related to pet care, including nutrition, training, health, and behavior. Elizabeth lives in Northern California with her husband and three cats. When she’s not writing, she enjoys hiking and spending time with her family and friends.