How to pet a cat – How to Pet a Cat

How To Pet A Cat

(Last Updated On: November 13, 2018)

Cats are as unique as we are and they all have their own preferences when it comes to being petted. Some would be content with attention 24 hours a day, others have very little interest in being petted. It is up to us to read their body language and determine their own comfort levels.

Firstly, I am a firm believer in letting a cat come to you and not vice versa. Once you sit down on the sofa, you will generally find that it won’t be long before you are joined by a furry feline.

  • Once you have your cat comfortable, give him a slow and gentle stroke along his back. Don’t rush it, just glide your hand along his spine and watch his reaction. Does he look bored or appear uncomfortable?
  • The head and face seem to be the most liked places your cat enjoys being stroked.  Lightly scratch under his chin with your fingernails (see photo above). Does he stick his chin out as if to make it easier for you? Another favourite is between the ears, again using your fingernails, lightly scratch the area.
  • Cats contain scent glands on their cheeks and lips which secrete a feel good pheromone. This is why you will see your cat rubbing on inanimate objects such as chairs and doorways. He is marking the spot, it gives him a sense of comfort. You may find that when you are petting your cat he will rub his cheeks and lips along your hand. This is a good sign of course.
  • I have found all of my cats love being scratched, quite hard (obviously not hard enough to break the skin), on the spine, just in front of the tail. I don’t know if this is because it is a hard to reach spot for cats to groom.
  • Some cats love their belly rubs, others hate it. Try it and see. Do be careful, though, if your cat doesn’t like it, he may kangaroo kick you with his back feet.

Signs your cat not is enjoying being petted:

  • He will have a look of boredom or discomfort on his face. He may look around. This is a sign that you should stop, continue to pet him and you may end up on the wrong end of some sharp claws or teeth.
  • His tail may swish from side to side.

Signs your cat is enjoying being petted:

  • Purring
  • Half closed eyes
  • Kneading
  • Drooling
  • Leaning into your hand

Benefits of petting your cat:

Petting is a wonderful way for you to bond with your feline companion. But it can also help you to pick up certain medical issues at the same time. When you are spending time with your cat, feel along the coat for any lumps or bumps. Check his weight, you should be able to feel the ribs, but they should not be prominent. How does his coat feel, is it dry or greasy?

Petting is not only soothing for your cat, but it also has health benefits to humans too, it has been shown to lower blood pressure, reducing the risk of strokes and heart attacks.

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Four Places to Pet Your Cat — and One to Leave Alone

Some things really do get better with age. I have long joked that my hairline isn’t one of them, but I know one thing that is: My ability to understand cats better, and to build a stronger, more fulfilling bond with the felines in my life and in my practice. Which is not to say that I haven’t always loved cats, and had them in my life. But on the Idaho dairy farm where I grew up, everyone had a job, and the cats were employed keeping mice and other vermin from taking over the place. Ours was a professional relationship, an admiration of coworkers.They did their jobs, and I did mine. Workplace romance was strictly limited to a little heavy petting now and then.

I’m no longer a farm boy, but I’m still more than a little bit country. Up here on our Almost Heaven Ranch, I still have barn cats, but they are much more than coworkers now. They’re family.

Feline Love: Breaking the Code

I’ve spent my life caring for and about animals, and I’ve always been a careful observer of what makes them happy. I know the “sweet spots” on every pet I’ve ever met, and since Almost Heaven is a horse ranch (with Quarter Horses whose personalities rival Golden Retrievers for sweetness), I know what makes equine hearts sing too.

But I also know if you hit the wrong note on many a cat, you won’t be singing a happy song for long. And while most cat owners eventually figure that out on their own, you could be one of those people whose current cat tolerates pretty much anything. Your next one, though, could be scratch-happy if you don’t know where to go.

Which is why I love sharing about caring, and in cats that means sticking to four top spots for heavy petting, and ignoring one spot that dogs love but that most cats never will.

How to pet a cat | MNN

A recent survey by feline welfare charity Cats Protection found that it’s difficult for cat owners to recognize signs of stress in their pets.

More than half of survey participants said they’d calm their stressed cats by cuddling them — the opposite of what their frazzled felines would want.

«Being held or stroked for too long can be very stressful for some cats,» Nicky Trevorrow, Cats Protection’s behavior manager, said in a news release. «Space and peace is often what they need. They’re not small furry humans, so what would comfort us won’t necessarily comfort them.»

The warning signs

Not all cats like to be petted or held, and those that do vary in how much affection they enjoy.

If you have a cat, you probably know where your cat likes to be rubbed and scratched. You also likely know what happens when your feline friend has had enough of your affection.

Cats will often bite or scratch to communicate that petting time is over, but if you’re paying attention, your cat’s body language will give you an earlier warning that he’s had enough.

Your cat may tense up, flatten his ears and start twitching his tail.

«Watch out of that classic swishing, thumping tail,» said Dr. Kat Miller, an ASPCA certified applied animal behaviorist. «Cats don’t wag their tails like dogs, so this is a definite sign of ‘Stop what you’re doing.'»

Petting-induced aggression isn’t well understood, according to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, but behaviorists think that petting can become unpleasant for a cat if it’s a repeated motion on the same area of the body.

Miller compares this to how we might feel if someone rubbed the same spot on our back over and over again. Although pleasant at first, the repetitive touching can quickly become irritating.

Where to pet your cat

Cats enjoy being petted in areas where scent glands are concentrated. That’s why your kitty will scratch his chin on the corner of furniture or rub his head and tail against your legs.

Such motions spread your cat’s scent, marking items in his environment — including you — as his own.

So when you pet your kitty, focus your scratches and rubs on your cat’s head, chin, cheeks, ears and whiskers.

Of course, there are some areas that are off-limits for cats. Although your dog may enjoy a good belly rub, this is what Miller calls a «no-go zone.»

«We have no-go zones as well,» she said. «For example, an arm around shoulders is acceptable. An arm around the waist is too, but more intimate. But an arm around the thigh is just weird, and around the neck it’s threatening.»

Teaching your cat to enjoy petting

Most cats can be taught to tolerate more petting if they learn to associate your strokes with treats.

The next time your cat indicates he’s in the mood for affection, let him sniff your hand before you try petting him.

«The important thing is to let your cat choose when he wants attention,» Miller said. «Let him sniff your hand first. Cats greet each other nose to nose, so getting a sniff is like a handshake.»

After he’s sniffed you, give him a few strokes, but watch his body language closely and count how many strokes you get in before your cat gets irritated.

The next time your cat approaches you for attention, stroke him only that number of times and give him a treat afterward. Then step away for a few minutes and give him a break.

Continue this pattern for a few days and then gradually try to sneak in additional strokes. Also, remember to vary how you rub and scratch your cat so you won’t cause annoyance.

If your cat ever gets irritated with petting, don’t force him off your lap or punish him. Simply stand up and let him jump down.

If all goes according to plan, you’ll soon transform your one-stroke kitty into a cat that enjoys more than one scratch.

Related on MNN:

How to pet a cat

Petting a cat may seem fairly straightforward, but there’s more to it than you think. Learn the proper way to give scratches and strokes.

How to Find a Good Pet Sitter for Your Cat

Are you tired of asking Aunt Molly to care for your cat when you travel? Have your friends and neighbors suddenly become scarce when you’ve scheduled another trip? Perhaps it’s time to hire a professional pet sitter to care for your cat while you are away.

Pet sitters offer various combinations of services and some will not only feed and play with your cat; some may water your plants, bring in the newspaper and mail, and take out the trash. Some may do grooming or behavior training. At any rate, they will give your home a lived-in look by turning lights on and off, and by staying in the familiarity and comfort of her own home, your cat may not experience stress or potential health risks that she might at a boarding facility.

How To Find a Cat Sitter

Finding a cat sitter that you like and trust may take some time, so begin looking well in advance of your trip. Like boarding facilities, pet sitters become booked early, especially over holidays and vacation time. Allow plenty of time to interview several sitters so you find one who is trustworthy and with whom you are comfortable. If your cat has special needs, such as insulin injections, find a sitter who can give shots or attend to your cat’s unique requirements.

To find a sitter, ask your veterinarian, favorite pet store or pet-owning friends for a referral. If you cannot get a referral, check the locator lines of the two major professional pet sitting organizations, Pet Sitters International ( and the National Association of Professional Pet Sitters (, for a list of member pet sitters in your area. As a last resort, check the Yellow Pages of your telephone directory under “pet sitters.” Call to set up appointments.

The Interview

Prepare questions ahead of time. Ask the cat sitter if she is bonded and carries liability insurance. Ask how long she has been in business and what experience with animals she has beyond pet sitting. Get a written list of references.

The sitter should ask you questions about your cat’s care including feeding, cleaning up, disposing of wastes, recycling food cans and games your cat likes to play. Show her where you keep the cat food and where the litter box is. A sitter should clean the litter box daily, but don’t expect her to clean a week’s worth of wastes that you neglected to clean prior to your trip.

Have on hand enough food and litter to last while you are away. The sitter may charge you extra for going to the store to get needed supplies.

Inform the sitter of any illnesses or idiosyncracies that your cat has. For example, does your cat hide from strangers? Where are your cat’s favorite spots? The sitter will want to see the cat on each visit; simply seeing an empty food bowl is not enough. If you free feed, the sitter may not be able to tell if your cat has eaten or not. A sitter should also visit your cat at least once every day. Visiting less often may save you money but is risky for your pet’s well-being.

The Contract

The sitter will ask you to sign a contract that itemizes dates of coverage, the cost and liabilities. Discuss the terms of payment and whether payment is required up front.

You will need to give the sitter the key to your home. Occasionally, travelers are delayed returning, so if no one else has a key, you may want the sitter to hang onto it until you’ve returned from your trip.

Give the phone number where you will be and the name and phone number of your veterinarian. Occasionally, sitters must deal with house-related emergencies that have nothing to do with pets, so provide the phone number of someone locally to notify if something unusual crops up.

Give your veterinarian a letter to keep on file that says while you are away, the sitter will have the authority to seek treatment for your cat if necessary, and you will be responsible for any fees.

The sitter should give you a business card to take with you so that you can call if you need to. If your return is going to be delayed, contact the sitter to take care of your cat for the additional time you will be away. Call when you return to let her know you are home.

You will have increased peace of mind knowing your cat is in the good hands of a professional pet sitter.

If a pet sitter is not for you, you may want to board your cat. For information on kenneling, please click on Kenneling Your Cat.

How to Discipline a Cat Properly

You love your cat. You really do. But your furry friend certainly has an independent streak and can be quite feisty at times. You need to know how to discipline a cat, but you may not know where to start. Effectively disciplining a cat may take some trial and error. Just like all humans are different, so are all animals. While one may respond positively to a certain style of correcting bad cat behavior, others may reject your attempts and their behaviors may only get worse. Plus, there are some methods that you should absolutely not try while disciplining a cat.

The truth is that it’s hard to know how to discipline a cat if you’ve never done it before, or if your previous cats seemed to learn the lay of the land all on their own. To get started on the right foot, it’s important to know the do’s and don’ts of how to discipline a cat in your home. Once your kitten — or older cat — understands what behavior is appropriate, there will be less need for correcting bad behaviors. After all, cats are very smart.

The Don’ts of Disciplining Your Cat

Don’t compare your cat to your dog: If you’ve already trained a dog, you may think that disciplining a cat is similar to how you handled your dog. Stop right there. Cats and dogs are very different animals, and they don’t learn in the same way. Where your dog may engage in the training process by paying attention to your commands, your cat won’t heed your requests to sit and stay. Knowing that you have to approach your cat differently is the first step to success for both of you.

Don’t physically discipline your cat: Training a pet can be very frustrating when you’re learning together, but it goes without saying that you should never hurt a cat while disciplining her. Cats are already intolerant of human forms of punishment, but physically dominating a cat will break your bond with her. Never hold down, shake or hit your cat. Physically harming your cat can actually make the situation worse and cause her to lash out or become withdrawn. Also, cats have a hard time associating the physical punishment with the bad behavior, so you’re not actually training her to stop doing it. If training your animal becomes too difficult for you, call in reinforcements like family members or even a professional trainer. It’s not defeat — it’s assistance!

Don’t yell to make a point: You already don’t speak the same language as your cat, so don’t be fooled into thinking she’ll understand you better when you raise your voice. Of course, your cat may understand that the change in your volume means something is different, but yelling may scare your cat or call too much attention to negative behaviors. Yelling may cause your cat to feel stressed and anxious, which can cause additional misbehavior.

Don’t rub your cat’s nose in an accident: The only thing you’re going to accomplish by rubbing your cat’s nose in her accident is upsetting her. You won’t suddenly know her motivations for not using the litter box and she won’t promise to never do it again. Rubbing your cat’s nose in an accident brings more attention to the scene of the crime and may even reinforce to your cat that it’s okay for her to go to the bathroom wherever she wants. The best course of action is to simply clean the area thoroughly and continue to work on litter box training.

Don’t allow play that isn’t okay: You might think your sweet little kitten doesn’t know better when she’s swatting or biting your fingers during play time. However, you know that biting and scratching isn’t something you want an older cat to do in your home. With any new animal in your home, it’s up to you to set early behavioral expectations. If your cat starts scratching or biting during playtime —even innocently — stop play immediately so your kitten understands what is and is not allowed. This is specifically true for play with children. If you engage in play where you allow her to nibble on your finger, she might think it is okay to do so with children. This could cause the kids to become fearful of your cat, an adverse effect you do not want to happen.

Don’t use a spray bottle: There is an old myth about using a spray bottle to redirect a cat’s bad behavior, but the truth is she likely doesn’t associate being sprayed with the bad behavior. She is likely to stop doing what she is doing by running away from being sprayed, rather understanding the discipline is linked to her behavior. This method can also cause your cat to become withdrawn at even the site of a squirt bottle, and that is not something that you want to do.

The Do’s of How to Discipline a Cat

Do reinforce good behaviors: Cats don’t learn from punishment, but by praising them and sharing healthy treats you can teach them to recognize when they’re doing something right. Make sure to reward your cat during the act of positive behavior so she can make the connection between her behavior and the positive reinforcement.

Do stop immediately during «bad» behaviors: Disciplining your cat doesn’t always have to be active. In fact, removing your attention from your cat may be one of the most effective methods for getting your point across and stopping negative behaviors such as biting, chewing and pouncing. Redirecting her attention to something else is a great way of reinforcing good behaviors and stopping bad behaviors. For instance, if your cat decides to start scratching on your couch, redirect her back to her scratching post.

Do consider your cat’s health: Is your cat using the bathroom in some place other than her litter box? While kittens may take some time to learn the proper place to relieve themselves, older cats should know where to go. If your cat suddenly begins urinating or defecating in other areas of your home, make an appointment with her veterinarian. This change in behavior can be symptomatic of a change in health, and your vet will be able to let you know if your cat’s health is up to par. You certainly would never want to punish your cat for something that she cannot help. Work with your vet to get to the underlying cause of accidents in the home. If it is health related they can provide you with options to help get your cat healthy — if it is behavioral, they can provide you some additional tips on correcting the behavior based on the interactions they’ve had with your cat in the past.

Do make changes to the environment:If you’re trying to get your cat to stop clawing your leather couch or jumping on your tables, there are environmental changes you can make to get her to stop. For example, a cookie sheet placed on the edge of the table will crash to the ground when your cat hits it as she jumps. A soft, silky blanket placed on your leather couch will make your cat slide down if she tries to climb onto the cushions. Never make changes that could potentially harm her, but there are plenty of cat-safe methods on the internet to help you find ways to change your cat’s behavior.

The most important tip to remember in learning how to discipline a cat is to spend time, engage with her, and praise her good behaviors. While your cat may be independent, she still does want a loving relationship with you.

Contributor Bio

Erin Ollila

Erin Ollila believes in the power of words and how a message can inform—and even transform—its intended audience. Her writing can be found all over the internet and in print, and includes interviews, ghostwriting, blog posts, and creative nonfiction. Erin is a geek for SEO and all things social media. She graduated from Fairfield University with an M.F.A. in Creative Writing. Reach out to her on Twitter @ReinventingErin or learn more about her at Blog How to pill your cat or kitten

Imagine how it feels trying to swallow an enormous pill without any water. Ack! From a cat’s perspective, making them to swallow a medication pill or capsule without a liquid chaser probably feels worse than than what you just imagined, given the relative size of the pill to the cat’s throat.  That’s one reason why cats need some help swallowing pills — see our tips below! My vet recently told me about an even more important reason why you should use these tips: it could save your kitten or cat’s life. She also showed me this x-ray that’s posted here, which I’ll discuss in detail below too, but it’s a sad story… so first I’ll tell you how you can prevent a fatal dry pilling situation from happening first!

Getting a cat to take a pill can be like a bad comedy routine if you have a strong willed cat who doesn’t want to be pilled, and you aren’t experienced! So what can you do?

Cat Pilling Tricks

  •  Liquid medication instead of a pill! Many medications are readily available in a liquid form, you just have to ask. If not already made, some can be compounded into a chicken- or tuna-flavored liquid, or even a gel you rub on their ears. Ask your vet what’s possible!
  • Crushed & mixed into canned food. Ask your vet if you can crush the pill or cut it into tiny bits, then mix it into very fragrant canned cat food when they are hungry. Only try this if you have an extra pill, as you cat may refuse to eat it.
  • Hide pill in pill pockets. Pill Pockets or Kitty Doh are a soft treat you can mold around the pill so your cat will eat it. If it’s a bigger pill, ask your vet if you can cut the pill up – make sure to ask, because some pills have a coating that shouldn’t be cut. The vet over at CatInfo has this great video showing how to use pill pockets in the middle of giving other treats, so the cat swallows it then other things afterwards. (She also has other great advice!)

Cat Pilling Tips

If you can’t get a liquid, and your cat won’t or can’t eat the pill in food or a pocket, you’ll have to “pill” your cat. Do not dry pill a cat without a chaser. Always follow a pill by immediately offering your cat a chaser: canned food, broth, or water… and making sure they eat or drink at least one full teaspoon. This will help the pill go all the way down. If they are sick or just won’t eat canned food, or even lap up watered-down chicken baby food, you may have to gently syringe 6cc of water into the corner of their mouths. NEVER DRY PILL a cat or kitten. The pill can get stuck and be fatal!

(You can see this published vet study for scientific proof that a chaser is needed, and here’s another showing that hiding the pill in a pill pocket works just as well.)



  1. First, coat pill with butter. Check with your vet, but most pills can safely be coated with butter or hidden in a tiny butter ball, which will help them slide all the way down.
  2. Second, offer pill like a treat, out of your hand. Every once in a while one of my foster cats surprises me by eating the pill no fuss! If they do, follow with a chaser, and you’re done.
  3. Third, make a Kitty Burrito: Use a towel to gently but securely wrap your cat up like a burrito in a towel, with just his head showing. It really helps to have an assistant (I owe my friends so many favors!) to hold the kitty burrito on a table or floor, so you have both hands free to open cat’s mouth, insert pill, and hold your cat’s mouth closed till they swallow. See this video for how to get your cat to open his mouth, pill, & swallow. Don’t forget to give the chaser after!

Now for the sad story…

What you’re seeing in the X-ray image above is a tragic result of “dry” pilling a kitten. This was a kitten who was given a standard deworming pill, without any liquid afterwards. The pill got stuck in the kitten’s esophagus before it reached his stomach. The medication caused irritation, which caused the esophagus to swell around the pill, effectively blocking food from getting to the stomach. You can see the swollen bulbous looking mass above the red arrow, and the normal size skinny tube of the esophagus below it.

The poor kitten was starving and trying to eat, would throw up up, and then try again. As the kitten tried and tried to eat, the food and inflammation stretched out the esophagus — it was only two days after the pilling when this xray was taken. By then the esphagus was so badly stretched out, it was too late. The smaller the kitten and the bigger the pill, the more important a pill chaser becomes, but any size pill and any size cat can have this happen. That’s why a liquid or canned food chaser is so important!

So now you have some tips for how to pill or your cat or kitten, and you know about giving a pill safely wrapped in a soft treat, followed by a chaser of liquid or canned food. You just need full body armor, and you’re ready to pill your cat! 😉

Best of Cat Basic Care, Best of Cat Health, Best of Cat Safety, Pet Health and Safety |

How to Pet a Cat: 7 Steps

Wanna learn how to pet the cutest cat ever

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Step 1: Find a Cute Cat

Locate a black kitty who is called «Lucy»

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Step 2: Bother Said Kitty

take photos of kitty and blind her with the flash

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Step 3: Bribe the Kitty

Poutine chips will work!!!

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Step 4: Invite E.T Over

smother with alien type kisses

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Step 5: Find Hand

Locate usable hand. preferably one with dollar sign

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Step 6: Hand on Kitty

Quickly place hand on kitty as she runs away

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Step 7: Danger

Do not let this kitty witness you pet lucy

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awesome… but did u use poutine chips?

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