Although pet ownership may seem simple, it can be difficult for children or those who have never been around cats. It is important to understand the proper way to approach and touch a cat.
Concentrating on areas with smell glands
1 – Start by making a gentle chin scratch. Use your fingertips and fingernails to gently rub your chin, particularly the area where the jawbone meets the skull. It's possible that the cat will push into your strokes, or jut out of his/her mouth. These are signs of enjoyment.
2 – Focus on the area behind or between the ears. Use the pads of your fingertips to apply gentle pressure. The base of the ears is another spot that cats can use to detect scents.
3 – Pet the cat's cheeks right behind the whiskers. If the cat likes it, he/she might rotate his/her whiskers in front, asking for more.
4 – Run the back part of your hand along the sides of the face. Once the cat has warmed, you can stroke his/her "mustache" with your middle finger. You can also use your thumb to encircle the entire head and touch the top of the skull. The cat is now yours.
5 – Move the cat's head from the forehead to the tail. You can pet the forehead. Then, run your hand from the head to the base, alternating between the head and tail. Use gentle pressure to massage the neck muscles. Use gentle pressure, and move slowly. As some cats dislike back-to -front strokes, only one direction should be used (forehead totail).
Let the cat have its way
1 – Let the cat have a sniff of you before you pet them. Allow the cat to touch your skin with your fingers or a hand.
2 – Wait to see if the cat bumps its/her head into your hand. If a cat bumps into your hand, it's an indication that she/he is interested in attention. To let your cat know that you aren't busy at the moment, give it a gentle touch at least once or twice.
3 – Take the cat to your lap if she/he jumps in your lap and falls asleep. Do you see if she/he fusses? If she/he does this, it might be because she/he just wants relaxation.
4 – Stroke a cat when it/he is on his/her side. Cats love being petted when they're on their side. Lightly stroke the opposite side. If it purrs and meows, it may be communicating joy.
5 – Learn to understand how your cat communicates. The cat makes low, audible sounds called purring. Purring is a sign that a cat wants attention and feels social. If you see your cat pleading for attention, such as hip bumps and ankle twining, you can be sure it wants to be pet right now. Sometimes, a simple stroke is all a cat wants.
6 – Watch out for signs that the cat isn't interested in being petted. Sometimes even petting a cat that is pleasant to them can become annoying or too stimulating, especially if it's repetitive. If you're not paying close enough attention, the sign that you need to stop might be a soft, inhibited or scratching sound. The cat will often give subtle signals before biting, indicating that he/she is not interested in being petted anymore.
Learn what to avoid
1 – Keep your hand from the head to the tail, and don't move in any other direction. Some cats won't like to be stroked from the tail up.
2 – Never pat the cat. Some cats like it, while others don’t. If you aren’t used to being around cats you might not be comfortable with them.
3 – Avoid your belly. When cats are relaxed they might roll onto the back and expose their belly. You shouldn't take this as an invitation not to rub their stomachs. Many cats don't like it at all. This is because cats must be aware of potential predators and not just dogs. Dogs are more confident in this regard and will love to have their bellies scratched. The stomach is the most vulnerable area of all vital organs. Many cats will instinctively remove their claws and teeth if they are touched.
4 – Be cautious when approaching the feet. If you aren't familiar with your cat and the way she/he likes to have his/her feet touched, you shouldn't play with their feet. To get your cat relaxed, start by petting her. Next, ask permission for her to stroke your foot by touching one of her feet with your finger.
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