Overstimulated cat (video)

Overstimulated cat
Overstimulated cat
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The classic overstimulated cat. I am sure that the woman did this intentionally. She videoed herself at the same time. She knew her cat’s response. It varies of course. Some cats are more tolerant while others will become overstimulated quite rapidly. The word ‘overstimulation’ means petting your cat too much such that he treats petting as roughhouse play and play is play-hunting which in turn entails biting and scratching. It is all there is this very brief video. It is the best example I have seen on video.


You can almost see the head of steam building up in a cat’s brain if you are overstimulating him provided you know your cat’s personality well. There is a threshold and you have know it. I suspect though that many domestic cats enjoy almost limitless petting with not a single sign that they are on the path to overstimulation.

Twitchy, wild types, are more prone to overheat and play-fight. It is all perfectly normal and to be expected. Petting a cat is not automatically pleasant for a cat. Not all cats like standard petting. Some are fussy about where you can pet and others are more tolerant. The biggest factor is the duration of petting. The place is absolutely critical of course. What you can do fairly firmly in one place has to be very gentle in another.

Do we stroke cats to give the cat pleasure or to give ourselves pleasure or both? It must be the last of the three. However, a lot of the desire is because we like it. We have to know how much our cats like it and how they like it.

Some cats invite their owners to stroke them. They might roll over in front of them. And sometimes cats indicate where they wish to be stroked by offering that part of the body. When cats accept petting they are not only enjoying it but reinforcing the bond with their human companion.

2 thoughts on “Overstimulated cat (video)”

  1. Very interesting subject…

    As play fighting is a normal part of cat behaviour, I wonder if this cat is truly ‘overstimulated’ – those are very gentle paws and jaws.

    Perhaps behaviourists came up with the concept of ‘overstimulation’ as a way of labelling a behaviour that many humans would not welcome if it was used by the cat to defend itself?

    Was the term first used to describe a seriously annoyed cat mauling the hand of a deliberately tormenting human?

    To me, the cat is happy enough, the human hand heeds the cat & stops petting the cat. This video looks like more of a lesson from a polite cat to me, or even a playful cat.

    Have we mislabelled normal cat communication to save us having to decipher & understand the nuances of what a cat is actually telling us? This labelling of behaviour as a deviance cannot do humans any favours can it?

    It may favour cats to prevent humans tormenting them, as some are prone to do.

    This notion that all cats need to be calm & serene at all times, as a definition of happiness, kinda reeks of human convenience to me.

    It also denies that cats have a full emotional range.

  2. I truly like your take on just about everything “cat”, but you explained that so well that I can’t add a single word. Note the time and date as I know this doesn’t happen often. (Sorry about it, or I think you say over there: pardon). 😉


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