Cat-petting is one of my life’s true joys. It’s a natural anti-anxiety treatment and a way for me to connect heart-to-heart with my sweet kitties. I’ve lived with cats most of my life and have definitely learned each feline is unique in petting preference. Some lucky humans get to touch cats’ bellies; however, I usually do not … at least without some flak. I still try, and sometimes — especially if a zonked-out cat is involved — I hit the belly jackpot. I do get a season’s pass on the chin, ears, and shoulder blades, though.
Here’s how the petting groove goes when it comes to my Cosmo fella.
For me, stroking Cosmo’s fur while he’s sleeping is completely Zen. Sometimes I let my hand rest on his body and feel his breath rise and fall. Occasionally, he’ll lightly purr when I do this, but other times he continues his peaceful slumber. Does your cat snore or make little noises when he sleeps? Cosmo does, so I get laughter and tranquility all at once. This, my friends, is a winning combination.
Chin scritches are nearly always welcome, especially when he’s feeling sleepy. He stretches his neck so I can really get at the whole area. And then the whiskers fan forward. The whiskers! They fan forward! Did you get that part?
Cosmo is a huge fan of ear rubs. I take the velvety little ear between my thumb and forefinger and rub it like a piece of luxury fabric. His eyelids immediately begin to slowly close and he’s the one in Zenville. He’ll let me have my hand on his ear for an unimaginable amount of time. I stop only when my fingers start to go numb.
Let’s talk about the belly. I have friends whose cats roll over and willingly (even enthusiastically) offer up the belly for the rubbing. I have never shared my life with these mythical cats. I keep thinking one day my cat will suddenly decide belly rubs are the best thing since sliced beef, but so far that dream hasn’t been realized.
When Cosmo’s sleeping or grooming himself while in a groggy state, I can occasionally slip my hand onto the belly region and cautiously move my fingers. I’m working against time, though. At some point, he’ll have had enough and respond with a bite, scratch, annoyed guttural sounds … or any combination of the three. It reminds me of the Perfection game. Remember that one? You work against the clock to match shaped pegs with their matching holes. The thing is, when the timer runs out, the bottom pops up and the pegs fly through the air like runaway pieces of popping corn. This always scared the bejesus out of me. Cosmo’s like a Perfection board, his teeth and claws ready to pop out at me at any given moment. It’s totally worth the risk.
Cosmo is especially partial to having his space between his shoulder blades scratched. When he’s sitting up and I begin the petting, I feel his body melt right under my hand. And then he starts sinking … and sinking … and sinking until he’s a pool of kitty goo. It’s probably the same kind of sensation we have when we’re getting a massage. I’m familiar with that puddle-of-goo feeling. Totally get it, Cosmo.
Most cats I know enjoy a little rub between the toes. They like it so much that they often fan their little toes in delight. Again with the fanning, I know, but it’s absolutely adorable. Plus, who doesn’t like kitty toes? For real. If you are against kitty toes, we probably could never be friends. Yes, I know those toes have been tromping around a litter box, but that’s what soap and water are for. Pet between the toes. Wash the hands. Rinse and repeat.
There are random times when Cosmo doesn’t want his feet touched, and I respect that, but I still feel disappointed. Sometimes life’s just not fair, even when it comes to laying hands on fanned kitty toes.
How do you pet your cat? Are there any special ways, places, and times? Tell us in the comments.