Petting guide for cats

While some cats start to purr happily when petted, others start to scratch or even lash out. In most cases, this is because you just caught the velvet paw in the wrong place or it is not in the mood for cuddling.

Cat-friendly zones: This is where cats particularly like to be petted

In fact, it has been scientifically researched where cats particularly like to be petted. In a study by the New Zealand psychologist Susan Soennichsen, it turned out that there are so-called “cat-like zones”. This includes the area around the lips and chin as well as the temple regions between the eyes and ears. Last but not least, cats prefer these spots because they have scent glands that are used for marking. So if you stroke your velvet paw in these areas, your individual scent mark will be left behind. However, since these areas are on the head, it is important to be particularly gentle when stroking and scratching.

In addition to the cat-friendly zones already mentioned, there are other areas that are very popular with cats. Many cats like to scratch their neck and neck lightly. Some also seem to enjoy being massaged carefully and gently behind the ears. However, opinions on the velvet paw seem to be particularly divided when it comes to the cat’s back and tail: some are very fond of it, while others jump up and run away.

Absolute taboos: These places should be avoided when petting a cat

Although cats like to be petted in many places, there are just as many taboo areas that you should avoid at all costs. The majority of cats do not like being stroked or even touched on their stomachs, legs and paws. This is due to the natural protective instinct of our four-legged friends, because these areas are particularly vulnerable. For this reason, the fur noses only lie on their backs when they really feel comfortable in their surroundings.

Tips and tricks for successful petting with your velvet paw

Now that we know which areas are allowed to be petted and which should be avoided, there are a few basic rules to follow when petting. With these tips and tricks you can ensure that the next cuddle session is a success:

notice the cat’s interest

In order not to potentially annoy your cat, you should pay attention to whether the cat even has the need for physical contact and petting. To find out, you can hold out your hand and see if she comes up to you and starts sniffing or even rubs her head on your hand. This is a clear signal that your velvet paw is in the mood for a little petting. Ideally, your cat will even approach you on its own.

If she shows no interest, you should not touch your cat under any circumstances, otherwise you are threatened with unpleasant hissing or biting. In the worst case, you could have a negative impact on your cat’s trust.

Correctly interpret body signals

If your cat doesn’t like being petted or if she’s had enough, she will use certain signals to let it know. If the cat starts to get restless, twitch its tail, lay its ears back or hiss, this is a clear sign.

However, if she closes her eyes, purrs and even kicks her feet, then you have done everything right!

Use fingertips and fingernails

When stroking the sensitive four-legged friends, you should make sure that you only apply a little pressure. The best way to do this is with your fingertips.

Stroke with the direction of fur growth

If you try to stroke your cat against the direction of fur growth, she will probably resist.

By the way: Cats don’t like being patted at all.



Cats are very unique animals with a headstrong mind. Despite these tips and tricks, every fur nose still has its own preferences. Accordingly, it makes sense to approach it slowly and try out what your cat likes and what doesn’t. It’s not uncommon for some cats to just not like to be petted. This may disappoint you at first, but you should also accept this.

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