How to Pet a Cat the Right Way: 4 Basic Steps

By Phil / November 13, 2017
How to Pet a Cat the Right Way

There are few things more satisfying than seeing a cat happy euphorically happy being petting and curling up on your lap for a snooze.

If you’ve had a pet cat for years or were around cats growing up I’m sure you know how to pet cats and never give it a second thought.

For those new to cats, adopting a cat, or even people who are a little scared of cats, it can be a bit intimidating and confusing.

But it doesn’t need to be, just follow the 4 basic steps below and I’m sure you and your cat will become best of friends sharing petting time in no time at all.

How to Pet a Cat the Right Way: 4 Basic Steps

Step 1: Let the Cat Come to You

This is more important than most people think. Even if your cat loves being petted if they are comfortable doing their own thing they might not want to be disturbed.

Look at your cat or rub/click your fingers and they will come to you if they want some fuss. Extend your hand and let them have a sniff and rub their scent glands on your hand.

Step 2: Look for the Signs They Want to Be Pet

If they start rubbing your hand or nudging it with their head then they want to be pet. Even if you haven’t called your kitty over give them some fussing when they are in this mood.

Some cats meow when they want to be pet or when you’re fussing them. When you get to know your cat you will know if this means more or less as it depends on the cat.

Step 3: Keep the Petting Where Your Cat Likes It

Most cats like their head and down their backs fussed. Few like to have their tails and feet handled, so be careful if you have a new cat and you’re not sure what they like yet.

Petting them in the wrong place could annoy them and might make them more cautious about being petted in future.

Some cats love their tummy’s being fussed, while others don’t. This is something else to test once your cat is very comfortable with you.

Step 4: Recognise the Signs They Are Happy

Learn how to read your cat’s happiness. Generally speaking, a cat is content when being petted if they are purring, some quiver their tails, sleeping or relaxing, nudging you when you stop and sitting on your lap.

Any signs of aggression or discomfort and stop immediately. Keep an eye on your cat if you’re watching TV or distracted, they can change mood quickly if you pet the wrong area of they’ve had enough.

How to Pet a Cat Video

Here is a video demonstrating what I have covered in the above steps:

How to Pet a Cat Chart

Here is a handy chart (courtesy of BuzzFeedVideo) illustrating the areas your cat will most likely like to be pet.

How to Pet a Cat Chart

Happy Cat = Happy Owner

For me, petting and fussing a cat is one of the best perks of being a cat owner. See a happy cat makes for a happy cat owner, builds a strong bond, and did you know it can be therapeutic for you?

This article explains some of the science behind it and gives some great examples. But in short, petting and fussing you cat can lift your mood, reduce depression, and even has positive health benefits for some.

So, what are you waiting for? If you don’t have a cat, it’s time to adopt one. If you do have a cat, start petting them more if they are asking for it.