LifestyleUnderstanding your cat: Expert tips for petting and why belly rubs may just be off-limits

Understanding your cat: Expert tips for petting and why belly rubs may just be off‑limits

ANKARA, TURKIYE - JANUARY 05: A Turkish odd-eyed "Angora cat" also known as 'Ankara cat' is seen in Ankara, Turkiye on January 05, 2022. Angora cat, Angora rabbit and Angora goat, whose homeland is Ankara, differ from their own species with their long, soft and white fur, which is based on the climatic conditions of the region. (Photo by Aytac Unal/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
ANKARA, TURKIYE - JANUARY 05: A Turkish odd-eyed "Angora cat" also known as 'Ankara cat' is seen in Ankara, Turkiye on January 05, 2022. Angora cat, Angora rabbit and Angora goat, whose homeland is Ankara, differ from their own species with their long, soft and white fur, which is based on the climatic conditions of the region. (Photo by Aytac Unal/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
Images source: © GETTY | Anadolu Agency
5:28 AM EST, February 2, 2024

Popular belief states cats became domesticated pets in ancient Egypt around 3,600 years ago. However, this has been refuted thanks to advancements in DNA testing, showing that cats have coexisted with humans for approximately 10,000 years. Initially treated as royalty within Egyptian society, they were embellished with ornate jewelry and invited to banquets set for kings. Presently, cats are the second most favored pets globally, following dogs.

Avoid these Areas while Petting, Advice from an Expert

Although cats may seem to derive enormous pleasure from petting, it is crucial to remember that not all cats enjoy excessive physical contact and greatly value their personal space. Dr. Lauren Finka, a British expert, discussed with the BBC that many owners mistakenly stroke their cats in the wrong places.

As per the expert quoted in the Daily Mail, most cats do not enjoy belly rubs. This could be because cats feel vulnerable while exposing their stomach as it houses major organs, and stroking can be misunderstood as threatening. She also emphasized that just because your cat rubs against you doesn't necessarily mean they want to be stroked.

How to know if your cat dislikes being touched? Signs include the cat suddenly stiffening, stopping interactive behaviors (like purring), fiercely turning its head towards our hands, ears facing sideways, licking their nose, or their fur standing on end. A twitching tail can also denote irritation.

Experts in cat behavior caution that cats do not like being stroked against the direction of their fur's growth, around their legs, sides of the body, or the throat.

Want your Cat to Purr with Delight? Stroke around its Muzzle

As indicated by Dr. Lauren Finka, it's ideal to touch the cat around its muzzle, such as the cheeks, the base of the ears, and beneath the chin. "This might be owing to the presence of numerous skin glands in these areas that release scent," she explains.

"Cats utilize these areas to spread their scent. Hence, they likely enjoy stimulation in these regions," she agrees. Observing your pet's reaction to different types of stroking is encouraged, as each cat appears to have individual preferences.

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