Millions of people, cat lovers and even those who are not so sure about cats, stroke cats every day. It's something we do almost instinctively.
We like to do it because we make contact with a fellow creature. I guess we are communicating with the cat when we stroke her. It's also a pleasant experience as a cat's fur feels nice. And cats are very clean, so they smell nice 🙂
She likes it (if she allows you) because it is what her (real) mother did, when she licked her as a kitten. To the cat being stroked is like being licked.
Your cat remains an eternal kitten and looks at you, her human partner, as her mother. We must look like a very big cat to her!
So, when you stroke your cat you are being motherly to her. This reinforces the bond between you.
My cat will actually ask to be stroked and combed. She will lie down in front of me and look at me sending a clear message to stroke her. This I do obediently, which reinforces her actions to ask the next time.
But it builds a loving bond between two very different animals; the human and the cat.
We both have similar fundamental desires and needs; warmth, food, companionship. We often live harmoniously together. And if we don't it is probably because we, the human, has done something wrong either inadvertently or deliberately.
Once you understand what drives a cat and understand her feelings, harmony and a loving relationship will follow.
The same could be said about living with a fellow human.