Why Do Cats Like to Be Pet?

The answer is different for Fluffy than it is for Fido, although they do share a few reasons for why they sink into complete bliss whenever their furry little heads are massaged.

These behaviors show that head rubbing serves a dual purpose for felines: It marks their territory, and expresses friendly feelings, she said. This is usually a sign of affection and bonding , said Leni Kaplan, a lecturer and clinician in the Department of Clinical Sciences at the Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine in Ithaca, New York.

Still, “I find that most dogs (especially when their owners are handling them), love their head and ears scratched it is a sign of affection, bonding and attention,” Kaplan said.

Why do cats like to be petted so much?

Petting from humans mimics the sensation of being groomed and can provide the same pleasurable experience. Bunting (nuzzling and rubbing on you) is one way cats show love to you. Petting is a way to return that love. Cats also enjoy petting because it feels really good to them.

What do cats feel when you pet them?

Purring. The most obvious and common way cats show their happiness and love is through purring. Cats seem to have a special little motor inside them that get started when they are relaxed and enjoying something. You’ll often hear this rumbling, vibrating noise while you are petting your cat.

Why do cats like to be pet by humans?

Animals have only their natural instincts. A cat shows affection to you because he needs you for food and shelter. You give your cat what he needs, and his instinct tells him to buddy up to you.

Do cats like to be petted?

As a general guide, most friendly cats will enjoy being touched around the regions where their facial glands are located, including the base of their ears, under their chin, and around their cheeks. These places are usually preferred over areas such as their tummy, back and base of their tail.

Many cats enjoy the feeling of being pet by people, a fact that pleases cat lovers everywhere. It is well known that petting cats can reduce stress and even lower blood pressure in humans, and it may also reduce stress in some cats. Of course, some cats dislike petting and will hiss, growl, swat, or bite when someone tries to pet them. There are several reasons cats can be so opinionated about petting.

Petting from humans mimics the sensation of being groomed and can provide the same pleasurable experience. This is because it requires a certain level of trust for a cat to feel safe in a vulnerable position.

The cat may rub or nuzzle your hand, a sign that they may tolerate gentle petting.

Cats and their human devotees are a misunderstood bunch. This I learned when I wrote Why cats never became mans best friend explaining how the newly mapped cat genome reveals that, compared with dogs, house cats are only partly domesticated. The backlash on Quartzs Facebook page was epic. The post received nearly 1,700 commentsmore than any other post on Quartzs Facebook page, ever. What prompted this outpouring? I referenced the cat stereotype commonly traded among dog people that cats are passive-aggressive and emotionally unavailable.

Cats in human drag: amusing back in 1914.Among the biggest divergences involve genes that influence reward-seeking behavior and response to fear. Peruvian surfer Domingo Pianezzi rides a wave accompanied by a cat named Nicolasa at the San Bartolo beach in Lima.Domestication refers to the changing of an animals genetic makeup through selective breeding to enhance traits and behaviors that appeal to humans.

One of the biggest points of antagonism for cat people is a dog-cat rivalry that the media and popular culture stokeand the fact that it almost always favors dogs. Compare Lassie , Toto , Air Bud , Benji , and Max , with Garfield, the Cheshire Cat , Mr. Bigglesworth , Azreal , Lucifer , Tom , Si and Am . Examine cat coverage and it becomes apparent that the media openly exploits the dog-cat rivalry, often portraying them as aloof at bestand at worst, cold, calculating, manipulative, bloodthirsty, toxic , and incapable of love .

Europes entire domestic cat population was very nearly wiped out, and many tens of thousands of witches were burned at the stake over the next 400 years. While people throughout the ages were burning and brutalizing cats, dogs were by their sides fetching ducks, chasing foxes, and killing Attila the Huns enemies , to name a few of the skills they were bred for. But since cats havent been bred en masse to please, each is different enough from the next that the repertoire of physical and vocal communication they use to express affection also isnt standard.

Being totally different animalsones with conflicting views on things like, say, ideal time of day to sleep, definitions of cleanliness, or the recreational value of a W2 formmakes that process much less straightforward. Most of those findings held up in a study of pet owners by Berkeleys Delgado and Gretchen Reevy, professor at California State University, which will be published in the upcoming edition of the Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science. A 1948 portrait of Salvador Dali and three airborne cats.More provocative, though, is what turned up in the comments section at the end of Delgado and Reevys survey, in which pet owners of both types could remark on their animal of choice.

Dolly, Boris, Buddi, Cuddles, Snowy, Salem, Isis, George Hubert, and Noodle are among hundreds of other cats praised in sometimes TMI-levels of detail.

Why Cats Like To Be Pet

Most cats are relatively social animals that communicate with other cats by nuzzling, rubbing, and grooming one another. These actions send pheromones to other cats that help them identify each other and communicate. Cats prefer to communicate with humans on their own terms. They know we are not cats, but they sometimes communicate with us as if we were.Many cats‘ love of physical touch comes from kittenhood. Mother cats lick and groom their kittens to nurture them and keep them clean. The love hormone oxytocin surges in the mother and kittens during these actions, making the experience pleasant and comforting. Petting from humans mimics the sensation of being groomed and can provide the same pleasurable experience.Bunting (nuzzling and rubbing on you) is one way cats show love to you. Petting is a way to return that love. Cats also enjoy petting because it feels really good to them. However, some cats prefer to be pet very little or at all.

Tip

Some cats resist handling of any kind, including petting. This may simply be a personal preference for some cats. In other cases, it may mean the cat was orphaned at a young age or was not socialized with other cats or humans. Feral cats avoid human interaction entirely because they were raised in cat colonies that involve little to no interaction with humans. They learn to fear and avoid humans. Some feral cats can become domesticated enough to live with humans, but they may never accept petting.Some cats may seem fickle. One second, they act like they are enjoying petting, and the next second they are hissing, growling, swatting, or snapping. One possible reason is that the cat may not like the specific area being pet. Often, it means the cat has reached a threshold for petting. Experts call this overstimulation aggression

How to Pet a Cat

There are right and wrong ways to pet a cat, but it ultimately depends on the needs and wants of the specific cat. Many cats tolerate or enjoy petting from trusted people but resist petting from strangers. This is because it requires a certain level of trust for a cat to feel safe in a vulnerable position.Allow the cat to sniff you and watch you before you attempt to pet them. Sitting down is a good way to show you are not a threat. Keep your hands relaxed near the cat’s level, but don’t reach out too close to the cat. The cat may rub or nuzzle your hand, a sign that they

How cats domesticated themselves

Compared to dogs, house cats still have much more in common genetically with their wild cousins—something the recent mapping of the cat genome (paywall) highlighted. It’s the differences between kitties and wild cats, however, that illuminate a lot about the history of human-cat relations.Among the biggest divergences involve genes that influence reward-seeking behavior and response to fear. About 9,000 years ago when grain agriculture began spreading throughout the Fertile Crescent, scientists think wild cats began encountering people more often as they hunted the rodent populations that swarmed granaries during harvests. Farmers likely responded by rewarding those cats that stuck around with food scraps. The offspring of those whose genes allowed them to tolerate the presence of humans are the ancestors of modern-day house cats.Communication, too, is something that cats most likely adapted as they developed the need to avoid fighting with other cats, as well as to win protection of humans—a process that “extended cats’ social repertoire,” wrote John Bradshaw, a professor at the University of Bristol and the author of“Domestication” refers to the changing of an animal’s genetic makeup through selective breeding to enhance traits and behaviors that appeal to humans. House cats have been domesticated, but it’s little thanks to selective breeding by humans (pure breeding began only 200 years ago). Only a tiny fraction of cats mate with partners that humans choose for them, as recent research highlights, and uncontrolled breeding of feral and free-roaming cats generates most of the house cat population.“In contrast to almost every other domestic animal, cats retain remarkable control over their own lives. Most go where they please and when they please and, crucially, choose their own mates,” wrote Bradshaw in theBecause house cats continue to mate with wild populations, their hunting abilities have stayed largely intact. This is a big part of why today’s house cats still retain the wild cat genes that make them formidable predators—retaining night vision, for example, or the broadest range of hearing among carnivores. Unlike most dogs, they haven’t evolved in ways that make them more dependent on humans for food.

Meowing martyrs

This hating on cats thing—it isn’t all that original. The conceit’s true pioneer was Pope Gregory IX, who declared in 1233 that during Satanic masses, the Devil took the form of a black cat.All over Europe, the Catholic Church tortured and executed cat owners for witchery. Since having cats could get you burned at the stake, people began slaughtering domestic cats—a trend worsened by the misconception that cats caused the Black Death, which began ravaging the continent in the mid-1300s. Europe’s entire domestic cat population was very nearly wiped out, and many tens of thousands of “witches” were burned at the stake over the next 400 years.It wasn’t just Catholics who had it in for cats, though; Queen Elizabeth I’s coronation festivities included burning a cat alive (so festive!). To this day, cats endure torture and persecution that just doesn’t seem to happen to dogs. For instance, people might say this about specific dog breeds—pit bulls or poodles, say—but not about dogs in general:

Dogs, the people-pleasers

Against that backdrop, it’s not really all that surprising that cat people might be sick of fighting the prevailing wisdom that dogs are more generous of spirit than cats. And, scientifically speaking, this bias is unfair. Recall that dog genes have been shuffled around for millennia to suit human needs. While people throughout the ages were burning and brutalizing cats, dogs were by their sides fetching ducks, chasing foxes, and killing Attila the Hun’s enemies, to name a few of the skills they were bred for.This brings us back to the evolution issue. Again, house cats are mainly a product of natural, and not artificial, selection—they domesticated themselves, you might say.Dogs, not so much. Starting between 11,000 and 16,000 years ago, when dogs were first domesticated from ancient wolves, they’ve been bred to please people. The ease with which humans can breed them also means that humans have selected for genes that make dogs more appealing to them—and not just for skills, but also for aesthetics and personality.That lack of mystery might have something to do with why Hollywood, the media and the general populace is more inclined to relate to dogs than cats, notes Mikel Delgado, a scientist at the University of California, Berkeley and a professional cat behavior consultant.“I think part of the [media bias] is because cats are less transparent to us—they appear to have less facial expression,” she says. Dogs, by comparison, are thought to act on their whims and readily reflect what seem to humans to be familiar emotions. But dogs have probably been bred for these traits, says Delgado. “They were fed because they could wrinkle their eyebrows, and we bred them further to mirror our own expressions,” she says.

A bond of mutual respect

This goes for communication, too. Thanks to many millennia’s worth of dog gene-tweaking, humans have set the standard for what behaviors convey pet affection. In fact, dogs now automatically treat humans differently from how they treat other dogs, notes Bradshaw in this National Geographic interview.Genetically speaking, though, cats come out of the box less programmed to socialize with humans than dogs do. In fact, they treat humans much as they treat other cats, says Bradshaw.Scientists don’t know for sure what behavior indicates affection for humans. But since cats haven’t been bred en masse to please, each is different enough from the next that the repertoire of physical and vocal communication they use to express affection also isn’t standard. Cats also tend to be much less reliant on people than dogs are. They are good at taking care of themselves—e.g. hunting and cleaning themselves—and will reject abusive owners.Mutual dependency is therefore more balanced than it is with dog ownership; pet and pet owner

Cat people: more neurotic than dog people?

It should come as no surprise that just as cats and dogs differ so too do the people who identify as their owners. A now renowned 2010 study by University of Texas psychologist Samuel Gosling and colleagues examined personality traits of people who label themselves “dog people” and “cat people,” among survey respondents in North America, the UK, Australia and other countries. They found that cat-lovers tended to be less cooperative, compassionate, and outgoing than those who dig dogs, and tended toward more anxiety and depression. Cat people were also found to be more artistic and intellectually curious than dog people.Most of those findings held up in a study of pet owners by Berkeley’s Delgado and Gretchen Reevy, professor at California State University, which will be published in the upcoming edition of the Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science. Their research also revealed that while cat and dog people seem to love their pets equally, cat people “might have a slightly more anxious relationship with their pet than dog people,” says Delgado. Maybe that has something to do with the roaring conviction with which Quartz’s cat people readers insist their pets truly love them.

The feline mystique

More provocative, though, is what turned up in the comments section at the end of Delgado and Reevy’s survey, in which pet owners of both types could remark on their animal of choice. Cat people rhapsodized about their cat’s individuality, writing things like “my cat is the smartest.” Dog owners, on the other hand, tended either to celebrate their pet’s obedience or make general statements aboutThe Facebook comment thread lends more proof to the cat part of that phenomenon. Dolly, Boris, Buddi, Cuddles, Snowy, Salem, Isis, George Hubert, and Noodle are among hundreds of other cats praised in sometimes TMI-levels of detail.This makes sense. Cats’ independence, lack of transparency, and self-sufficiency means when people finally reach harmony with their kitty, they’ve overcome huge natural barriers to build a bond of mutual respect.