Study supports what we already know about how to stroke a cat

I’ll have to keep this brief because there is not much to say but it is nice when academics confirm what we know. Although the findings of the study are very limited, I have to say.

This study concerns a cat’s likes and dislikes with respect to being stroked (petted) by a person.

According to the study, for a cat, it does not matter in which order the various parts of his body are stroked.

What does matter is that domestic cats prefer to be stroked by a person with which they are familiar (hardly surprising) and they dislike being stroked in the caudal region. The word ‘caudal’ is defined as: at or near the tail or the posterior part of the body.

So cats don’t like being stroked at their rear end or they like that areas less than other areas.

That is the conclusion of the study. My experience is more subtle and precise on this subject, which is that cats don’t mind their tail being stoked. Nor do they mind the base of their tail or the end their body being stroked (i.e. where the end of the spine meets the base of the tail). What they do mind is being stroked on their hind quarters; their hind legs, essentially. They are particularly against being touched on their hind legs below the hock.

Do we know why cats don’t like their hind legs being touched? I haven’t seen any work on that but we can guess. It is probably to do with the fact that the hind quarters are more vulnerable and out of their field of vision as like us they have forward facing eyes for binocular vision. This simple fact makes them wary of being touched their.

Perhaps their preferred place is the crown of their head, their shoulders and back. The number one safest spots are the (a) forehead and top of the head and (b) the shoulders (c) under the chin and the side of the face.

You may have different experiences.

Abstract of study referred to..

3 thoughts on “Study supports what we already know about how to stroke a cat”

  1. I have had 3 cats and they all have liked a gentle fast tapping with the fingers on their backs at the base of the tail. Don’t know why.

    • I can recognise that! Cats like the base of their spine to be tapped. It sort of turns them on and gets the juices flowing. I am not sure what is happening but it switches some ancient emotion on 😉 .

  2. Mitzy’s favorite place to be stroked/scratched is her chin. When I say “chin”, she comes, sits in my lap, and puts her head back. Then she usually closes her eyes in pleasure when I start.

    She also likes being brushed all over, including the tail area. If she’s in my lap on her back, and I say “Big Stretch”, she puts her front legs above her head, and stretches out for a tummy scratch. Also, many times she closes her eyes for this one.

    I haven’t found any place on her body that was too sensitive to be touched, except her toes and her mouth. She even sits still for me to examine her ears, and clean the wax out.

    I have known other cats to be sensitive on their hind quarters or back.


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