Your Cat's Petting Preferences

Discover where cats like being petted most. Your cat will thank you for it.

By Brad Kollus | Posted: Tue Feb 1 00:00:00 PST 2005

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man and catDo you know what your cat's petting preferences are? Susan Soennichsen and Arnold S. Chamove of the Psychology Department at Massey University in New Zealand decided to find out where cats like to be pet most. They conducted a research study on the responses of cats to petting by humans, and the results were published in the academic journal Anthrozoos.

Soennichsen and Chamove studied nine different cats. Each cat was petted for 60 minutes on four different locations on its body:

1. Between the ear and eye (the temporal gland located on the upper cheek).

2. The chin and lip area (the perioral gland).

3. The lower back at the base of the tail (the caudal gland).

4. On one of three non-gland areas, either the head, the back or the chest.

The researchers' results showed that cats strongly preferred being petted between their ears and eyes on their upper cheek the most (the temporal region), and the caudal region on their lower back near their tail the least. The perioral gland area on the chin and lips and the non-gland areas of the head, back and chest were preferred second.

The researchers theorize that cats like to be petted on their upper cheek or temple the most because they are able to mark us with their scent glands when we pet them there and this is their way of socially bonding with us. Cats rub against other familiar cats and objects with their cheek and temple for the same reason. If you want to please your cat the most pet it on its upper cheek and temple between its ear and eye. They will think you are the cat's meow!

- More Fun for You and Your Cat -

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Reader Comments

Jodie    International

1/4/2015 7:36:48 PM

It's good info. My cat sugar likes her belly rubbed and back of her ears. And between the eye and ear.

Kim    Washington, DC

12/12/2014 3:28:48 PM

I notice my story as like being petted along their backs,
They turn and come back for more ,
Usually rubbing my legs with their fuzzy body's.
I wish I could get them to come inside.

Cody    Wetumka, OK

12/4/2014 1:16:51 AM

Squishy say fuck that to #1

Pam    Indianapolis, IN

10/22/2014 12:33:44 PM

My cat, Precious, loves her belly rubbed, but also likes her chin rubbed & her mouth rubbed on both sides. I think that is the "marking my territory" rubbing. She is wonderful, but only wants petted when "she" wants petted!

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