Perhaps against instincts men should pet their cats with slow hand and arm movements and gently. This sort of stuff is not mentioned on the internet. As far as I can tell no one searches for information about the specifics of men handling and petting cats.
I am sticking my neck out here. Quite definitely. But do feel the need to mention it. In the past I have mentioned gentleness but this time I also want to refer to slow movements. There are good reasons why I refer to “slow” and “gentle”.
Cats instinctively respond to fast movements. The tend to stick out their paw and grab it, whatever it is that is moving fast. If it is your hand it’s not a great experience. This natural instinct is related to hunting skills. If after stroking and petting your cat you move your hand away quickly your cat might try and grab it. If you retract your hand very slowly it is far less likely that he will grab it. It is like slow motion cat petting.
As for gentleness, this also avoids a natural, instinctive response from your cat which might result in a scratch. There seems to be a threshold concerning the strength at which a cat owner can pet his cat. Beyond the threshold the cat will take the petting as play and start play fighting. Under the threshold and the cat responds to petting as licking (allogrooming).
Cat owners want to avoid nips and scratches under all circumstances. A lot of cat relinquishments are labelled as “behavioural problems” (of the cat not the human). But in truth the behavioural problem is with the human.
I feel that mens’ natural levels of pressure and speed of movement when petting their cat can be too hard and too fast. THis is because humans are much larger and in general stronger than domestic cats. I am not suggesting that this is always the case; far from it. It is simply that there will be occasions when men stroke and pet their cats in a manner which, depending in the cat, might stimulate a cat response which is unwelcome.
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