Ever wondered where the best places are to pet your cat or dog? Here is what we found out..
As animal lovers, we all want to stroke our pets to show affection, but sometimes it’s hard
to know exactly where to stroke them.
Even though the animals can’t tell you outright that they like it, their body language or the
sound they make can tell us what they do and don’t like.
If you’ve got a cat or dog but aren’t sure where to begin, our helpful guide is for you.
Cats are naturally more guarded than dogs but they’re still receptive to being stroked every
now and then – though this is usually when they decide it’s petting time.
It’s better to start small and work up to more of a tactile approach with felines and as cats
work on scents it can be a good idea to focus your attention on areas with scent glands so
they can get used to your odour and begin to trust it.
So how do you know what to do and what not to do?
Under the chin
Cats seem to really enjoy being stroked under the chin; this would mean your hand would
be close enough to a scent gland for them to get a good sniff of you.
Between the ears
Stroking the back of their head and neck, or directly between the eyes, can get cats purring;
just ensure you’re not pushing down too hard. If you start on the forehead and then stroke
down to the back with a firm hand in the direction of their fur, this can cover all areas where
cats like to be stroked.
Remember, the loudness of your cat’s purring can denote how much they are enjoying it.
Cats sometimes roll over and expose their stomach, and if they do this they are inviting you
to pet them. They may not lie there for long, though, so if they offer this up to you, take it
while it’s there.
Small of the back, before the tail
Whilst cats are not overly fond of having their tail grabbed, the small of the back, just
before the tail, is actually a bit of a sweet spot for cats. Tails can be hit or miss and very
dependent on the cat, so you can try to stroke this but if they don’t like it, don’t keep trying
– and definitely don’t try to grab their tail.
As mentioned above, not all cats like to be petted, so if they’re showing warning signs that
they don’t want to be touched, it’s probably best that you abide by them or you run the risk
of being ignored or scratched.
It’s also wise to avoid the legs – think about it, would you want your leg stroked out of the
blue? Cats can be the same. If you respect certain parts of their body they will respect you.
Generally speaking, dogs are far more receptive to touching and petting than cats, and this
is more than likely down to their overall friendly nature.
Dogs are playful, friendly and loveable creatures, but sometimes they don’t react quite the
way we’d like when we pet them, and this can be down to the personal preferences of your
beloved canine. When it comes to petting, not all dogs are created equal.
We explore the dos and don’ts of petting your pup.
Dogs love to be asked ‘Who’s a good boy?’ so a reaffirming pat on the head is something
that most dogs like. Much like humans, dogs also love a good massage on the neck.
An easy-to- approach part of their body as you can gently stroke them along their back while
they stand or sit next to you. This also shows them that you respect their presence and
Stroking from their neck down across their chest is also something that dogs love. In fact,
most dogs are comfortable being petted on the chest.
This is the mecca of dog petting. Dogs love having their belly rubbed and are not averse to
rolling onto their back to show you that’s exactly where to pet them.
Even though dogs are very welcoming when being petted, it’s important to know if and
when to approach a dog.
Try not to pet an unfriendly dog, as much as you may want to. A dog could turn aggressive
if you approach and attempt to pet them when they’re being unfriendly.
We’d also recommend not trying to a pet a dog that you’re unfamiliar with as you don’t
know how they will react to human contact. Ask the pet owner’s permission first.
If any dog, including your own, is acting aggressively and barking, it’s wise not to try and
pet them; instead, use other calming methods to relax the dog.
In all instances, there will be exceptions for both cats and dogs, and over time you will learn
what works best for your pet. After all, playing and stroking a dog is one of the most
enjoyable things about having a canine companion.