Cats like to be petted. As soon as the owner sat down, the cat would jump into the lap. The cat knows that he/she is in for some satisfying petting time. With half-closed eyes, the purring cat would enjoy the rhythmic rubbing of the owner’s gentle hands. The petting would go on for a while until the cat growls, stiffens the body, twitches the tail and tries to vault. If restrained by the owner’s hand, the cat would not hesitate to unsheathe its claws to scratch the owner’s loving hand. The cat does not like being petted after all!
Cat parents know that the pet loves being petted. The petting session is an on-going habit of both the cat and the cat owner. This is why the owner would be puzzled when the pet appears to dislike being petted. Can the behavior be borne out of the cat’s otherworldly nature? Or is it just because of the cat’s unique personality? Cats are often compared to dogs probably because these two animals are the most popular pets. Pet parents though must be aware of the fact the personality of cats is way too different from the personality of dogs. If dogs are white, cats are black … a cat is north and a dog is west. Both animals were domesticated and have become man’s companions for hundreds of years but it would never do to compare dogs and cats. In the same manner, cats should not be expected to act like dogs and vice versa.
Cats have always been independent animals. It is not the nature of cats to follow the owner around to get some affectionate attention. The only reason a cat would demand attention is when it is dinner time and the owner is still making no move to open the kibble bin. It cannot be denied that companion cats do form bonds with their owners. These cats are provided with comfortable beds but they would rather sleep with the owner. These pets would jump into the lap of the owner or would rub their bodies against the owner’s legs every chance they can get. Cats that have grown so close to the human family would not only accept the affectionate attention of the owners but would even enjoy being kissed, cuddled and petted. However, cats have their own minds. Cats would accept the owner’s affectionate gestures but only on their own terms. A cat that graciously accepts the petting of the owner would suddenly turn aggressive. There are several reasons for a cat’s petting induced aggression. Cats are delicate animals. There is not much flesh between the skin and the bone. It is possible that the petting is making the cat uncomfortable or causing the cat pain. Cats have low sensitivity threshold and the continuous petting can become irritating. The static electricity resulting from the continuous petting would cause pain. Cats that do not like to be petted may have an underlying medical condition.
It is not uncommon for cat parents to treat the pet as their babies. Just like babies, the kitten will be held in the arms, cuddled, kissed and petted. Cats find these manifestations of the owner’s attention actually enjoyable. Therefore it would be a good idea for owners to expose the pet to the petting and kissing while it is still a kitten. Adopted grown up cats can be trained to accept the affectionate gestures of the owner. The cat would accept being petted. However, it may still show petting-induced aggression. Therefore the owner has to be aware of the telltale signs. Petting must be stopped when the cat’s complacent behavior changes like when the body stiffens and the ears go flat against the head. Stop petting the cats especially when it growls and unsheathes its claws.