Tuesday 27 July 2021

Let your cat train you to pet her the way she likes it and when she likes it

Let your cat guide you as to when and how you can pet her. This is all about that phrase that I constantly use "respect the cat". Part of the process of respecting the cat is to understand when she would like to be petted and how she would like it done. Each cat is an individual and their owner should be in tune with their cat's rhythms, routines, likes and dislikes. This is learned through intelligent observation. There are some basic rules in any case about petting a cat which I'm sure you know about.

Let your cat guide you as to when and how you can pet her
Let your cat guide you as to when and how you can pet her. Pic: Pixabay.

Domestic cats like to be petted on the head, on the side of the face i.e. the cheeks, over the shoulders and down the back of the head and also down the spine. They also like to be stroked underneath the chin because all these places are either inaccessible or hard to get to. This makes grooming of these areas by their human companion more enjoyable to the cat and more functional. Beware of overstimulation which can lead to a bite as the cat reads this as play-fighting.

It is quite easy to let your cat train you on what they like in terms of petting. The owner should use common sense and then fine tune the petting of their cat through observing the response to arrive at the style or method which suits the cat. Although, of course, most domestic cats are very similar in this respect. But some might be more sensitive than others. You can detect irritation in a cat's body language if there is too much petting.

The question as to when you to pet your cat will normally become clear to an owner because there are moments within the daily rhythms and routines of a cat which obviously become a time when petting should be carried out. So, for example, if I'm watching television in winter and I'm wearing a thick dressing gown my cat likes to jump onto my lap to keep warm. That's a natural moment for me to pet my cat. Indeed, my cat will request it, not overtly or through a meow but in a subtle but obvious way to an owner who is fully in tune with their cat's behaviour and character.

The bottom line is that the cat calls the tunes in the best interactions between cat and person. The interaction will last longer if the cat initiates it. A person should not foist their desire to pet their cat on their cat. Before you start you should know that your cat will like it because they liked it under similar circumstances before. You can't presume, though, that domestic cats always like to be petted because they don't. It's up to the owner to know when they are receptive to it and how it can be done.

I referred to being 'trained' by your cat in the title. This is effectively what it is. Cats train their human owners in a very subtle way because the person concerned wants to please their cat so they do what their cat wants. The cat gets what they want which is, in effect, 'training' the human. So, for example, my cat has learned that when I come back from the shops in the morning to buy a newspaper, I sometimes bring back food and within that food there might be some prawns for my cat as a treat.

He expects this treat when I return from the shops and I am aware of this. My cat goes to the fridge after I have returned expecting me to dish out three or four of large prawns. I know what he wants and he vocally asks for it. I want to deliver to him what he wants; he has trained me.

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