You’re Probably Petting Your Cat Wrong

If your experience with cats tells you that they can be super cuddly one minute and turn aggressive the next, you may actually be doing something wrong. 

Although cats became domesticated around 4,000 years ago, we still don’t have the same relationship with them as we do with dogs. Depending on the species, domestic cats can be more or less similar to their ancestors, the African wildcat, which means they are likely to have a wildcat’s mind, at least partially.

Humans are naturally drawn to see cats as cute and feel the urge to cuddle them, but that’s not always what a cat enjoys. Here’s how to make sure you’re petting a cat in the right way.

A cat should feel in control during an interaction, so make sure you’re not denying it the option to back away. Since we just love to smother cute animals, this is not usually our instinctive reaction. If you notice a cat doesn’t like the way you’re petting it, back off a little and let it see that it has control over what’s happening.

View this post on Instagram

Turn your phone for maximum impact.

A post shared by Smoothie the Cat (@smoothiethecat) on

The best spots to pet your cat are generally around its face: behind the ears, under the chin, and around the cheeks. Avoid touching its back, tummy, or tail when you can.