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Woman stroking a cat's chin, one of the best places to pet a cat

Best Places To Pet A Cat

What spots on a cat’s body are best for pets, and which areas are better left alone? While all cats are different, there are a few general guidelines to follow when trying to stroke them. Learn the best places to pet a cat in this article.

Who doesn’t like to stroke the soft fur of a cat or kitten, especially when the cat shows you how much she’s enjoying it by leaning into your hand or starting to purr? What spots on a cat’s body are best for pets, and which areas are better left alone? 

What Cats Like

We all know how picky our cats can get when it comes to touching them. Wary not, however, for given the right technique, even the snobbiest feline will give in to the temptation of your heavenly petting skills.

The key of course is to know which areas your cat would love to be scratched. The good news is that there’s more than one of these spots, aside from tried-and-true head rub. If your cat is getting bored of the occasional head parts, the following are some areas stamped with kitty approval:


Your cats love being rubbed on their cheeks, especially between their ears and eyes. Moreover, this is a move associated with trust and familiarity, reserved only for the best of kitty friends.


While the head rubs have already been stated, it’s worth mentioning them again. Partner them with some soft words of encouragement. Don’t be shy on rubbing their chubby chin area either!


Try a few long strokes down your cat’s back starting from their tail. There’s an especially sweet spot near its base that can trigger their “elevator butt”, which as we all know is the greatest sign of affection from these sweethearts.

Following these steps will ensure that your pet gets the loving attention they deserve. After all, who doesn’t want a good relaxing scratch every now and then? Definitely not your kitty!

Best Places To Pet A Cat: Fur Vs Bare Skin

Sphynx cat lying beside a window

The art of petting is not just about memorizing the best petting zones, it’s also concerned with providing the best quality of scratches. To this end, it’s good to consider whether your cat wants them, something which their fur may affect.

In general, cats like being petted on both fur and bare skin. It’s a good idea to try alternating between petting their head and necks. For distinctly furry babies, try scratching their backs or sides.

Use your fingertips to get a more focused and precise sensation for your pets, especially if it's for tiny sensitive areas such as around their ears or behind their shoulders.

Some cats enjoy the sensation of nails, as long as it’s used light on certain spots of their body like the tail or neck. Remember to do this carefully and in constant moderation however, for these are very sensitive spots to your pets.

It’s also good to remember that all cats have their own individual quirks and differences. Reading their body language is the best way to know if your cat is enjoying their petting session. Always be attentive to their body signals and respect their boundaries.

Cats Prefer The Right Pressure And Pace

Another thing to consider when petting your cats is to find the right pressure and pace for them. You don’t want to accidentally bum out your pet now, wouldn’t you? Putting the wrong pressure can cause extreme discomfort to your pet, and maybe even pain.

Here are some tips to avoid hurting your cats:

Apply gentle pressure

Using light pressure is vital to this procedure. Give gentle strokes so that your cat can feel safe and comforted, yet be firm enough so that they can still feel it. Try flattening your hands and slightly curling up the ends of your fingers to avoid pressing hard on their skin.

Move your hand slowly

Who likes having a rushed massage session? Cats are no different, and they would rather have a longer and lighter approach to petting than some quick strokes. Quality over quantity after all.

Try moving your hand in slow circular motions, or move them back and forth the area you want to pet. This will help soothe their feelings.

Pay attention to their reaction

Perhaps the most important part to this is learning how your cat is trying to communicate with you. Look for cues to know whether they’re enjoying the session or getting impatient.

They will often purr, meow, knead, or nip at you gently if they want more of your rubs (probably best to avoid wearing your favorite cat lover shirts while you're at it). Once they’ve had their fill, ease up on the petting and let them be. Cats don't like having your rubs forced on them.

Feline Danger Spots

Cat sleeping with belly up

Now that we’ve listed all the best spots for petting and the techniques to do them, it’s time to know where to proceed with caution.

Off-limit areas on your kitty usually includes their legs, paws, tail, and as cute as an upside-down cat can be…you should probably avoid petting that furry belly because the tummy is not a favorite spot of theirs.

Animal behavior experts note that while dogs love a good belly rub, cats feel threatened when their stomach is exposed. Cats like pets on the face, head, and base of the tail because that’s where many of their scent glands are located and they like the idea of leaving their scent on you.

As for the legs, paws, and tail…these areas are particularly sensitive to cats. Even if they seem like they’re enjoying it, it might prove painful for them later.

Why Pet Your Cat? Benefits As A Cat Owner

Anyone would agree that one of the greatest things about being a cat parent is being able to pet them. It’s such a stress-relieving exercise for both you and your cat.

A study has shown the correlation between better cardiovascular health and presence of cats. The process to this may be rooted to the feeling of enjoyment while stroking your cat, which makes your glands release certain chemicals to help you feel calm and relaxed.

Another benefit to petting is how it strengthens the relationship between you and your pets. Felines are social animals that thrive on affection from their caretakers. Petting them regularly is basically telling them that they’re being loved and cared for.


How can you tell if your cat likes being petted?

There are obvious signs a cat gives when he enjoys being petted, such as bunting their head against you or waving their tails around. They may also pur at you and initiated contact by nipping or kneading you.

Why do cats rub against you?

Cats love doing this as a telltale sign of affection. If they're doing this while you're rubbing their heads, that means they're enjoying the petting.

Why do many cats love licking you?

This is a good sign that your cat has accepted you as a part of her family. Let the cat do as she pleases and freely enjoy the process!

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