With over 370 million house cats in the world, cats are one of the most common pets. Although not as physically affectionate as their canine counterparts, cats can also make cuddly companions – especially if one knows the best ways to pet a cat.
So, where do cats like to be pet? Generally, cats will enjoy being stroked around their ears and cheeks, under their chins, and the backs of their heads. Keep reading to learn more about this.
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Where Do Cats Want to Be Pet?
1. Between the ears
When petting a cat, feline experts recommend starting with the area around the ears, particularly at its base or in the area between its ears. Most cats prefer to be petted here because scent glands are contained in this region. They will most likely stretch out to meet your hand and rub their scent over you if you touch them here.
This act is called bunting. When a cat puts its scent on you, it is also marking you as its territory.
But don’t worry! This is a sign of their affection towards you. The more scent of their scent is deposited on you, the greater their affection for you grows.
2. Around their cheeks
The cheeks are also one of the best places to pet a cat, as this area also contains scent glands.
Stroking around a cat’s cheeks and lips will also activate the glands and allow the cats to deposit their smell onto you. This is why most cats will actively welcome being pet in this area.
However, you should also be careful when stroking a cat around the cheeks. Use gentle movements, so you do not disturb or possibly hurt their whiskers.
Also, be wary of unfamiliar cats who might suddenly turn aggressive without warning. Petting around the cheeks and lips will make you more vulnerable to being bitten. Make sure that they are in a relaxed and happy state before attempting to pet their cheeks.
3. Under their chin
Stroking underneath the chin is one of the most popular ways to pet a cat. Although it does not contain scent glands like the ear and cheek regions, your feline friends will almost always welcome a chin scratch.
Again, using gentle motions is key in petting a cat. Lightly scratch your cat using your fingers, and don’t hurt them with your fingernails.
If done correctly, chin-scratching can put a cat so at peace it will fall right asleep. Watch out for drool! Also, check this article to find out other reasons why cats drool when you pet them!
4. Back of the head
The back of the head is a classic petting spot for most pets. Cats are not immune to this magical spot.
In this area, stroking will be more appreciated. Gently guide your hand from the back of the head and continue along their spine. You can even continue until the base of its tail.
If your cat enjoys being a pet in this area, they will let you know. When petting here, a content cat will raise their head to meet your touch. Happy cats will also soften their bodies and purr with contentment.
Why Should I Pet My Cat?
While petting your cat may be simply fun and games for some, there are also other benefits to regularly petting your feline friends.
- Petting your cat is a surefire way to establish a bond between you and your pet – but it helps you get closer to one another in more ways than one. ‘
- Regularly petting also enables you to detect if your cat has any issues with their skin or fur, such as fleas, scratches, or bumps. Discovering any ailments right away will help you take better care of their health.
- Studies show that regularly petting an animal or pet helps alleviate stress and anxiety in humans. The practice releases oxytocin, a feel-good hormone, in our bodies. It also decreases the amount of stress-related hormones like cortisol.
In other words, having that cuddle time with your pet can help your mental and emotional health. So if you’re ever feeling down, try petting a kitten and see how it can improve your mood!
How Do I Know if My Cat Enjoys Being Pet?
Most cats will love being pet, stroked, or touched—but not all the time. You should observe boundaries when spending quality time with your pets.
To ensure that your cat will enjoy being pet, try to read its body language first. If it appears happy and relaxed, it is the best time for snuggling and petting.
You can apply what you’ve learned about the best spots to pet a cat.
Generally speaking, a cat who enjoys being pet will show clear signs of comfort, such as:
- Content purring
- Lax posture and expressions
- Upward-pointing ears
- An upright tail, occasionally wagging from side to side
- Bunting your hand
If your cat is doing any of these, it is enjoying itself!
On the other hand, cats will also exhibit signs of stress and tension if they do not enjoy being pet at a specific moment. Look out for any hissing, twitching, or scratching that might occur. If your cat shows these signs of discomfort, respect their boundaries.
However, there can be times when your cat might show conflicting body language. To avoid confusion, it is best to do further research on your own. You can go to trusted pet sites or even get answers from fellow fur parents on online communities like Reddit. You can also check the following articles to better understand your cat’s behavior:
Now that you have read this brief cat petting guide, don’t be afraid to go and show your feline friends some love!
However, remember that not all cats are the same. While some cats may enjoy being pet, some will not. Just like humans, they have their own individual preferences as well. The best course of action is knowing your cat and strengthening your relationship first.
Once you’ve established that bond, take note of their favorite places to be pet. Sooner or later, you will have a personal answer to the question, “where do cats like to be pet?”
I am Amy Sawy, a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) graduate from the University of Kansas. y husband, Dr. Plummer, and I own a veterinary clinic in Phillipsburg, Kansas. In addition to my professional background, I am a devoted pet owner myself, with a household that includes dogs, rodents, and most notably, cats – a total of five felines in my home.
In 2020, I joined an organization as a professional writer, leveraging my experience and collaborating with my team to deliver the most valuable information for your cat’s care.