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? While all cats are different, there are a few general guidelines about the best places to pet a cat. This is especially good to know if you are introducing a child to a cat, or approaching an unfamiliar cat for the first time.
Here’s a cute illustration of cat petting zones from a collection of humorous but informative charts on the best places to pet different animals. Most cats love getting their head, face, and flanks stroked, and they especially love a little pat or scratch on that sweet spot on the back near the base of the tail…it can often trigger that adorable feline move called “elevator butt!”
Where should you avoid petting a cat, particularly one you don’t know well? They generally don’t like pets on their legs, paws, and tail, and as cute as an upside-down cat can be…you should probably avoid petting that furry belly because the stomach is not a favorite spot for getting pets.
Animal behavior experts note that while dogs love a good belly rub, cats feel vulnerable 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…most cats would prefer you not touch those areas, with some cats being particularly sensitive about the back paws.
Cat petting graphic from Buzzfeed.
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