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How to pet a cat?

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 
Okay, now for the stupidest newbie question EVER... LOL

How to pet a cat?

I always feel like I'm not doing a good enough job petting my cats. You know, they rub their cheeks against my fingers, and I scratch them there, but then they move, so I rub there, and they keep squirming around....

They're never satisfied! Augh!

Do they want to be scratched the same way *I* would want my own back to be scratched, with a sharp edge? Or are they looking for just a blunt rub? Would they rather I'm rough and pat them affectionately on the haunches, or caress them so softly they could fall asleep?

Is there a secret spot, like behind the ears on dogs? I mean, it's easy to tell when dogs like it... their back leg starts thumping. But with cats, it's a total mystery.

My boyfriend says, "Oh, they'll be happy as long as you're paying attention to them." Smart man, my boyfriend.

I know my girl will stick her butt in the air if you scratch her spine, and my boy likes to roll over and have his belly rubbed. And I pet them both a lot in the fur around their heads, of course.

But I can't help but get the feeling they're thinking, "You're not doing it right, you stupid monkey! Look at the incompetence I put up with." Any hints?

I just want to do better.

I guess my cats have me well-trained.
post #2 of 18
I personally do not think there is one answer...all my cats like a different kind of touch and over time, you just get a feel for what each of them likes.
post #3 of 18
They do have you trained well!
Actually my kitty jessie was a finicky butt about where she wanted touched and when! I had her for 17 years and still sometimes felt like I didn't know what she wanted me to do. I believe she had been abused as a kitten because when I would try to pet her head, she would pull back from me. She liked the occasional rear back scratch but that didn't last long. I just let her come to me and pretty much had to feel out what she wanted that day since it seemed to change all the time.
I think that you will figure out just by trying to pet them in different places, where they like it and where they don't. My new kittens for instance... Salem likes when I rub his back or stomach but not his head or ears. Spook on the other hand likes all of it and especially her face.
You are doing great!
post #4 of 18
Nano likes firm strokes along her back/body, medium pressure when rubbing her head between her ears and light touches when petting her stomach. I found it out by trial and error but now that I think about it, that would be the default way I'd approach an unfamiliar cat until I got to know its specific preferences.

And generally, cats only like petting that goes in the direction of their fur. Don't rub them against the grain.
post #5 of 18
Thread Starter 
That's what I always thought, too... but my girl kitty LOVES to have her fur ruffled back and forth! I didn't know until I saw the BF doing it. Now she'll always jump on his lap instead of mine! LOL
post #6 of 18
Well I don't make it a habit to pet my cats. If they come up in my lap, they get stroked a few times, but basically what I do and what they like is just scratched under the chin. I find if I pet them on their backs, belly or legs, I generally end up getting scratched or bit. They are all previously stray cats and not used to humans being around.
post #7 of 18
My kitten absolutely LOVES to have her neck rubbed. Every time she comes up to you she will sit down and do a half a head stand, with her head on the couch, waiting for me to start rubbing her neck xD. When I do she just basically MELTS!!! Its the cutest thing! I find though that most cats like to be scratched on the neck. As long as your hands keep moving, they will adjust themselves to where they want to be scratched ^_^
post #8 of 18
I only scritch Rosie and Sophie around their neck area.
post #9 of 18
I think your kitties will let you know what they like!

Tibby and Molly love to be scritched and rubbed all over (and I mean ALL over!) Tibby does get a bit sensitive, but soon lets me know when he's had a enough!

Just pet them as you are and you'll discover what they like!
post #10 of 18
Your cats will let ya know. They're all different!

Zorro likes the back of his neck; Snickers likes pets 'everywhere'; dusty likes her ears & will talk while you rub her ears; Hammie likes his face, by his mouth rubbed; and Jessie likes what I call the "butt button"... that area by the base of their tail at their spine, when ya touch the butt button & scratch, she puts her butt up in the air & meows.

But if I try to do that to Zorro, my hand gets bitten off and discarded!
post #11 of 18
It takes ages with new cats to work it out, I'm still not totally sure with Jazzie or in the habit with her, although she's tummy girl like all the raggies- first chance she gets she's flat on her back to have it rubbed. Vicket is strictly a shoulders person, if you scratch between her shoulder blades she'll go cross eyed. The other thing she'll do for hours is butt foreheads with me and rub her cheek on my hair, but she hates being stroked and will bite! Jake loves to be rubbed round in circles roughly as if you're massaging him, and the rougher the better. Mitja loves his head being caressed and his ears gently rubbed, and being scratched under the chin- he's a wriggler, he gets so excited he's trying to get you to pet him nine ways at once. Mark used to love being rubbed gently at the base of his tail, although a lot of cats come over totally overexcited or annoyed as that's a very sensitive spot for some.
Experiment, you'll both enjoy it and you'll get it figured out
post #12 of 18
Willow likes to be stroked on the head (especially along her stripe going down the front of her face, from the tip of her nose to a spot inbetween the eyes). She doesn't like to be stroked along her back unless she's in a really frisky mood, and even then she'll stop tolerating it after your hand goes through 10 strokes (max) down her back.

Buffy likes everything, except butt scritches. Well, she likes it for a couple of seconds, but then she looks at the hand with a funny form of anger and if I don't move the hand, she'll slap it away. But she loves pettings and scritches everywhere else.

Both kitties love having their lips rubbed too, especially if you're just petting along the whiskers. The closer to the front of the mouth, the happier they are, lol
post #13 of 18
My cats love to have their bellies scratched. They will roll over with their legs up in the air like a dog so I can get a good spot. sometimes when they are walking away from me i will reach in between their back legs and scratch their bellies and they either bolt or they flop over, or they bolt and then flop over when they realize i was just trying to scratch their favorite spot.
post #14 of 18
As everyone has said, all cats are different.
They will let you know.
Lovey likes his chin skritched and will hold it up for me..I also pet him all over his head, and give him a little ear massage...

I once heard that the tips of cats ears are a `calming` location for them..
post #15 of 18
most of my babies are for belly rubs , scoobie loves the backs of her ears stroked and generally made a huge fuss of (a people cat) bell is a lovey dovey girl who like to rub against you rather than you rub her. although since having bubs she loves belly rubbing and chin tickles! molly only likes a fuss if a brush is involved, she will nudge it in your direction if shes close enough. fred is just a big dappy girl who prefers mommy puss cat than people. although she adores my two children (made cat!). norbert hates any attention unless from me and then hes still finiky. tiggy loved being made a fuss of when he wanted a fuss. he was more a head scratcher. (still no sign of him, not in any rescue places, looked every where, no reply to posters etc )
i think every cat is different. mine have a habit of falling over when they have a fuss made though!
post #16 of 18
What a good question actually as I wonder about it all the time myself. With Lucius it's no question....under the chin, around the ears, he's a snuggler and a kneader and loves to be loved. He was also found as a baby totally starving, covered in bugs, and they didn't expect him to live when found. My other cat is sometimes a snuggler, was more when I first got her. I still do not know what she prefers as far as "lovins" go. She too is constantly moving her head.
post #17 of 18
sara is not a fan of backrubs, but she loves to have her chin scratched gently or rubbed... anywhere else and it is a guaranteed scratch or bite
post #18 of 18
I'd try to find that special spot they like and only pet there.

Princess on the base of her tail, her belly, and on her cheeks.

Orei likes his cheeks, the base of his tail, his hips, and his forehead.
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