How to Pet a Cat

How to Pet a Cat

Welcome back to CanTastic’s guide to cats (or how we like to call it, “how to cats”)! Last time, we discussed how to approach a cat and now, assuming success thus far, you now have a cat that is comfortable around you and is open to physical contact with you. Time to build on your progress!

First, movement must be smooth and controlled. Cats hate unpredictability, that is why they usually invest in safe assets like real estate. All your movements must be endorsed by the cat as acceptable. You can usually tell when you’ve made a mistake when they flinch or glare or are attacking your arm.

Note, cats may try to intimidate you by staring directly into your eyes. Your response must be tailored to the type of cat you are dealing with. If you lock eyes and don’t avert them immediately, you are now playing the world’s scariest staring contest. Do your best to keep your eyes locked but look relaxed and confident. If you are as tense as a thief running into the owner of the bike you’re stealing, the cat will likewise become stiff. They now wonder what you are afraid of … and also where they left their bike last.

Conversely, you can try to have little to no eye contact with the cat. Act a humble servant who has come to ask the king for a favor. Let the cat know they are in charge and whatever happens is on their terms. Either way, make sure the cat is comfortable.

Once you contact the fur of the amazing beast, they may move their head towards your outstretched hand. This can certainly give you pause, but do your best to stay confident, slow, calm, and predictable. If the cat starts rubbing their face on your hand or licking it, it means that they like what is happening or maybe they are tasting to see if your hand needs anymore salt for the hand soup they are making tonight.

If your luck continues and the cat lays down, then you are accepted. Do not be a fool and go nuts. At any point the cat can call it quits and all your progress will be for naught. Move your hand in other places like under the arm and on the belly. Do this slowly and pay attention to the cat’s demeanor. If they become agitated or that they do not want you to go further, move your hand back into more comfortable places.

There is one motion you sould almost never do. I call it the “upstream” pet. It is basically when you pet a cat against the grain of their fur. Now if you are in the presence of a cool cat, try it out but be cautious. Having a Siamese, I can attest that petting upstream for too long meant that I would get bit and my cat would run away, not to be found for hours. Attempt at your own peril.

Finally, enjoy yourself! If the cat is relaxed and having fun, there is no reason why you shouldn’t. You have done a lot to get here so enjoy the amazing experience that is petting a cat. Always make sure to be open to anything so the cat remains comfortable and having a great time.

So if you feel confident enough, go out there and find yourself a cat to pet and try out your newly learned skills. We hope you enjoyed this blog in our “how to cat” series and we look forward to next time when we discuss how to remove a cat from your lap, arm, head, etc.

Logan Martinez
COO of CanTastic and Trysk Solutions.
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