If you’ve had cats for any length of time you know that they have their preferences and their objections in the way you interact with them. While one cat adores attention—it’s “all hands on me,” others may shy away when you approach, allowing only certain types of petting and only at certain times. And different cats like different styles of petting.
It doesn’t usually take long to learn a cat’s petting preferences. But you have your petting style, too. I invited a neighbor over to meet one of my cats once and she mesmerized Dinah-cat with her massaging-petting style. This woman really had a knack for creating a calming moment for the cat by gently massaging her neck and back in easy strokes. Dinah loved it and I attempted to emulate it afterward. But my petting style is a little different and I generally adjust it to fit the cat and the mood of the cat at the moment.
If she crawls into my lap and relaxes, I’ll pet and scratch gently. I’ll do the same if she’s rather wound up and I want her to relax. If we’re playing I might ruffle her fur in a different, more energetic-playful way. Olivia is young and robust, so she gets a different kind of petting session that Sophie does. And we do not touch Olivia’s tummy—that tempting fluffy belly is off limits. Sixteen-year-old Sophie, on the other hand, gets gentle full body massages.
What’s your cat’s petting style? Here are a few sites with tips and ideas for petting your cats. Your cats, however, will have the last word on this issue.