How to stroke a cat?

If you think stroking a cat is easy, today we are going to put you right! In this case, as in many sports, the key to success is to combine the right strategy and technique. How can you stroke your furry to make him happy? We asked cats – see what they told us!

First of all – trust

There’s no secret to any more or less experienced fabCat, that furries love necking. The evening on the sofa with the a cat always ends victoriously for him – the knees are used as a lair, and the human hand is unable to resist the sweet purr that invites you to pet. However, as older and wiser say – such an honor must be earned! Cats are not giving in to stroking hand unless they’re 100% sure that the person they’re dealing with does not threaten them and can fully trust her. Let’s not be surprised! Cats – especially those who have previously lived wild have many unpleasant experiences with people and other aggressors. We shouldn’t forget about cat’s nature – they’re predators – they’re watchful and careful – these temperament traits have allowed the whole species to survive, so it is difficult to expect furries that they will carefree jump on the knees of any random person. After all, the threat can be lurking everywhere. So, after this short introduction, let’s start from basics!

Friendship should be earned 

A new cat at home will probably avoid stroking at first. Give him time to know the environment and people (or other animals) in a new place and make his adaptation process smooth. The cat should be sure when you’re close, nothing threatens him. With time, the furry’s stress will be less, which will manifest itself in increasingly bolder actions and encouraging gestures that will be the first signals to break the ice and move to a higher level of familiarity. However, if at the beginning there are no clear signals from the pet, giving permission to pet or play (e.g. rubbing against the cat caretaker’s legs, which also has its territorial aspect), start with shy attempts in the form of short sessions of stroking the cat in the most secure places, which is:

– between the ears

– along the head

– on the nose

– in the whole part of the back

– under the chin

– behind the ears

Another important thing is a technique of stroking (a bad one can lead to cat’s fear and stress, even if we aim at the places most vulnerable to touch). Hand movement shouldn’t be too rapid, and the hand should not go straight in front of the cat’s face so that it doesn’t identify our behavior with the attack. Look at the picture below, which perfectly illustrates this situation. Luis and Kitku Yoda faces during correct and inappropriate stroking say more than a thousand words 🙂 

Why cats fancy stroke 

Is it all about hedonism and use us only for cat’s pleasure? Well, no, there are more reasons! In those places where cats willingly want to be stroke, there are scent glands that activate as a reaction for touch. Leaving its smell on stroking person, cat marks the area he resides (cat caretaker is also a part of this area). Thanks to this, the level of its safety increases (another furry predator will think twice before jumping on the knees of a person who previously had contact with another cat). There is also a theory that stroking a cat is synonymous with licking fur by a cat’s mother – no matter how funny it sounds, the role of cat caretaker in this situation, comes down to being here … well … a big human mother! Although it does not bother us at all 🙂

Seeing that the cat is more and more willing to appear nearby, asking for attention, we can be sure that the degree of intimacy between both parties is good enough to move to the next stage and do what everyone was waiting for – start stroking!

Careful, I’m going to scratch! Places prohibited on the cat’s body map 

Now we know what places on the cat’s body are most susceptible on touch. But are there also those, that we should avoid? It’s good to bypass the cat’s belly and its closest zone, because it is one of the most sensitive place, which is also vulnerable to predator attacks. Cats usually hide this part of the body and do not like to be touched there. If a cat takes a belly revealing position while stroking, it does not mean that it intentionally exposes this part of the body to touch. Although it is tempting, let’s refrain from massaging the cat’s tummy, focusing on “nice to touch” zones (we listed them above), and let us treat that position as an expression of love and full of trust.

Another sensitive place is the paws, which the cat often pulls back when touched, avoiding contact and signaling that he doesn’t necessarily like it. This is not surprising – after all, it’s his main weapon and protects it even from a trusted man. In the case of this place on the cat’s body map, however, we shouldn’t give up so easily. It’s good when cat will use to touching the paws – thanks to that we will avoid many unpleasant situations when cutting the claws, and each subsequent manicure will go easier. 

Of course, there can be more forbidden places – it all depends on the experience and preferences of the cat. A good example is our Kitku Yoda, who doesn’t allow to stroke his tail at all, and each attempt ends in ” tail spanking”. Battered hands of the cat’s caretaker don’t bring back good memories, so it’s better to respect the will of the furry. There are certainly more such preferences and not only ours have their quirks. Careful verifying of the cat’s needs and retreat, when we see the dissatisfaction, will be the easiest way to identify its sensitive places.

With or against the grain? That’s the question!

Most of fabCast know for sure, not against the grain. In any such try it’s easy to notice the cat’s discomfort, which won’t hesitate to show him in a very unpretentious way. Furries like to be stroked in accordance with the direction of hair growth, it’s definitely more pleasant for them, and the hair does not get static. We should remember that such stroking may instead of a pleasant experience turn into a torture for a cat, and then we will be informed about it in a more or less painful way for us, ranging from audible signaling of cat dissatisfaction (stop purring or hissing), to nervous tail wagging, biting, scratching and kicking to free yourself from an unwanted grip, and when that happens – a wild escape to a safe place.

As usual, there are exceptions to the rule. Our Teddy, who is a purebred pet, and a stroking in the hierarchy of his values ​​stands as high as a full bowl, doesn’t despise even stroking against the grain, indeed! Another good example is second myKotty’s duo – Beza and Kici. Although they represent the same race (devon rex), they have completely different nature. Kici, as same as Teddy, loves to cuddle, eagerly exposing her muzzle or paws to touching. Beza, on the contrary! For this furry, only stroking the head and neck is allowed, because her skin (she has almost no hair) is extremely sensitive to touch. As you can see, there’s no single, proper instruction for stroking a cat, and practice verifies what is allowed and what is not. We encourage you to carefully verify these borders 🙂

When not to stroke

First of all, when the cat does not feel like it. Taking the cat on the knees by force can not only end up in scratches for us, but also destroy the trust. Remind yourself any child, who usually has noble intentions arising from the goodness of the heart and delight over the sweet kitty, while often unknowingly harm the pet by holding him in a tight embrace and not let him go, when he does not feel like caressing or playing. Let’s be honest, it’s similar when we talk about us – adults – we know well when we see a cat, we’re ready to throw everything and take the cute furry on the knees, but it’s better to keep the remains of common sense in this situation and make sure  the cat doesn’t want to run for the hills. Accept defeat with dignity, don’t break down and try again later. A cat, especially one who is just getting used to the new person, will appreciate all solutions that will not be forced, and the less stress you experience, the easier it will be to gain his trust in a short time. We know from experience, the reward for such patience is cat’s loyalty and once he’s sure that it’s worth honoring us with his closeness, we guarantee that more than once the hospitality of our knees will be abused and the hand will be detached from the meal or work to stroke the purring conqueror.

How’s your experience, fabCats? Do you also had to breaking the ice and now, furry doesn’t leave your knees even the warmest days of summer? And how it is with that belly – touch or better not? Let us know!

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