Wednesday 11 June 2014

Avoiding a Tendency To Pet Your Cat Too Vigorously

Avoiding a Tendency To Pet Your Cat Too Vigorously

This could really be about common sense.  However, I suspect that without realising it, or perhaps carelessly, some cat owners do stroke their cat companion too vigorously and for too long.  This can cause a cat to become stressed.  Cats need their space.  We only need to observe cats together grooming each other within a multi-cat household to see what the domestic cat prefers in the way of petting.

This is called allogrooming.  It's just mutual grooming between cats who are friendly towards each other living a group or together.

If we watch how cats groom each other we can see that they tend to focus on the head and shoulder region (but sometimes lower down as you will see in this video).  And we can gauge the kind of pressure that a cat puts upon another cat with their tongues when licking the other cat.

This should guide us because from the cat's perspective we are another cat indulging in allogrooming.  Petting our cat is pleasurable for us.  Do we do it for our pleasure or for mutual pleasure?  The answer must be mutual pleasure.  This is a two-way activity.  The true nature of this two-way activity sometimes manifests itself when our cat licks us back.  This is quite a common occurrence, which confirms that we are indulging in mutual grooming when we stroke our cat.

There will be a natural timeframe, as well, during which our cat will enjoy being petted by us.  We should not go beyond that time frame.  Our cat will often tell us when the session is over.

There is, therefore, a natural limit to the amount of vigour and force that we should put into petting our cat together with a natural limit for how long we do it.

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