Stroking Your Cat

Stroking Your Cat

Stroking a cat is a great pleasure for both humans and cats alike. It’s also an important way of bonding with your cat. Stroking reminds cats of being licked by their mothers as kittens and evokes the feelings of security associated with this. But the cat isn’t the only one to benefit from this exchange. Stroking a cat is also beneficial for you, inducing feelings of relaxation and well-being. So stroke to your heart’s content – it’s good for both of you.

Stroking Your CatIt has been proved that stroking a cat is a highly therapeutic activity from which the human protagonist benefits as much as the cat in terms of the relaxation and calm feelings that it induces.

Q. I have heard that stroking a cat is good for you. Why is this?

The act of stroking a cat is very relaxing and it has been shown to reduce blood pressure and to promote good health.

Q. My cat prefers to go out in the evening rather than sit with me when I would like to be stroking him. Can I change this?

Observe your cat’s routine. You may find that he stays in more on winter evenings, for example. If you take the opportunity to stroke him then, he may continue this habit through the year.

Q. I want to get a cat for my recently widowed mother to stroke. Does it matter whether I get a long- or shorthaired cat?

Some longhaired cats prefer having their coat ruffled, which may be less soothing than stroking. So a shorthaired cat is thus probably the best option.It is virtually impossible to resist the urge to stroke a cat and, in turn, most socialised cats love to be stroked. If a cat knows you, it will love you to stroke it. If it doesn’t know you, it will probably want to sniff your hand and only then decide what it wants you to do. It is therefore best to wait until it ‘allows’ you to stroke it. This is because cats like to be in control.


Exactly how a cat likes to be stroked is something that it will teach you and that you, by trial and error, will learn. In general, most cats like to be stroked on the head, behind the ears and round the neck. Some enjoy being stroked harder than others. Most cats prefer to be stroked in the direction of the fur and not against it. And cats often don’t like to be stroked on the abdomen, because it is such a vulnerable part of the body.

Generally, a cat will give as good as it gets. If it is merely fed and given minimum attention, it will keep itself to itself and use the house in which it lives as little more than a dormitory. If, on the other hand, you regularly stroke it and make a fuss of it, it will respond by becoming an equally affectionate companion.

A contented cat will also `stroke’ you by rubbing against you. This is not only a sign of affection but also an act of scent marking, which all cats make towards superior members of their social group. If your cat does this to you, it shows that it sees you as an intimate and important part of its social structure. You should therefore be flattered!

When you are stroking a cat, it will often change its position so that the bit it wants you to stroke is lying uppermost and closest to you – whether its ears, its tummy, or whatever.

While most cats enjoy being stroked, they can suddenly react in a rather aggressive manner, before coming back for more stroking. This is because stroking is a learned rather than a natural adult behaviour.