Here’s Where Cats Like to Be Petted

A man pets a gray cat on the head.
A man pets a gray cat on the head.

Through practice, I have found out that my cats have specific preferences when it comes to where they like to be petted. There are also specific areas that they hate to be petted and will not tolerate it from me. I’m sure you’ve experienced this with your cats and have figured out the exact locations on their body that make them want to give you their complete, undivided attention. So, where do cats like to be petted? Let’s take a look.

1. Some Cats Like to Be Petted Right Behind the Ears

A cat getting a head pet.

For some cats, the perfect spot is right behind the ears. They’ll lean into your hand as though they’re begging you to rub there forever. This is very true for my Momma Kitty. She loves it when I rub and pet around the sides and underneath of her ears. However, don’t even think about touching her actual ears. When you do, she snaps out of her trance, runs away and looks back at you like you’ve done the worst thing in the world to her.

2. Some Cats Like to Be Petted Right By Their Tails

Sometimes, that perfect spot is the area where your cat’s tail meets the end of her back, on the haunches. My boy Rusty loves me rubbing and scratching that area. Petting him in this area sends an immediate smile to his face.

3. Some Cats Like to Be Petted Under Their Chins

Sometimes, it’s right under their chin. This is the case for my boy Ash. He will sit patiently while I rub under his chin and around the side of his face. He will lift his head as high as possible and purr very loudly with every rub and scratch under his chin.

4. Some Cats Like to Be Petted on Their Necks and Shoulders

Each of my other cats has their preferences, too. Some prefer the deep tissue massage I give them on their necks and shoulders each evening while I’m feeding them. They will sit perfectly still, all four paws on the ground, lowering their head and sinking into every rubbing movement. I’ll move my fingers and thumb together in a motion that reminds me of a cat kneading their favorite bed or blanket. I’m of course very careful not to rub too hard. I apply just the right amount of pressure to make them happy. This seems to be the only time when they’ll tolerate my petting and massage techniques.

Miss Kitty’s favorite spot has always been on her neck right above her shoulders. It’s rare that she’ll allow me to scratch up and down, and side to side, for as long as I’d like. It’s usually a quick stroke or two and then she’s off and running to be with the other cats or to groom herself. I guess she feels like she needs to lick my scent off after I pet her.

Can You Pet a Cat’s Belly?

A cat getting a nose boop.

There have only been a handful of times when I was allowed to give a couple of them a belly rub. Usually they will allow me to lightly rub their bellies while they are setting in an upright position. Ash will occasionally roll over on his back and allow me to caress his white belly with speckled black spots. However, after a few moments he reaches his front paws around my hand and begins to cling on in a gentle fashion. Well, it’s gentle to him, but his claws are very sharp and unpleasant to my hands.

And Some Cats Don’t Like Petting At All

As for the rest of my kitties, petting is not their thing. They prefer to mostly be left alone and for me to keep my hands to myself. I know they have special spots where they like to be petted. However, the petting doesn’t come from me. It usually comes from one of the other cats rubbing against them in their special spots. If no other cats are available, a fence post or some patio furniture will do the trick.

I’ve never encountered a cat, mine or anyone else’s, who didn’t have a favorite spot they liked to be petted. Once you find that perfect spot, it’s all over. You’ll have a friend for life. Or at least until they grow tired of you petting them.

Where do your cats like to be petted? Do they have spots that they don’t like touched? Share your stories in the comments!

Read more about cat behavior on

About Tim Link: All-American guy who loves to rock out to Queen while consuming pizza and Pinot Noir, prefers to associate with open minded people who love all critters, considered to be the literal voice for all animals — Co-author, writer, radio host, Reiki Master, Animal Communicator and consultant at Wagging Tales.

17 thoughts on “Here’s Where Cats Like to Be Petted”

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  3. My cat absolutely loves strokes he will put up with it wherever but his favorite spot is at his neck and ears he will curl and almost collapse onto your hands it’s adorable

  4. I have a Persian Ginger cat he’s name is nico! He is very particular he loves attention – loves to be pet on his ears back and front, chin, neck, on top of his head, pet his back and almost every day he shows me his belly so I can pet him! He even talks – is really not a meow but when he talks he wants attention – either petting or brushing him. Well he has different expression too!

  5. Pingback: Why cats get so excited when you scratch their lil bellies? | Brownie`s Friends

  6. Both my cats like they’re belly rubbed I have a female petite Maine coon and a male black cat my male likes under his chin also and I think the male like his butt rubbed I’ve noticed other black cats like that too I do sometimes touch they’re ears which they don’t like but they tolerate it I basically touch them everywhere some cats are alright with it if they’re used to it

  7. My seal point cat doesn’t like her feet or legs touched and allows only limited touching of her ears. I disobeyed the warning and was bitten for my error. I am careful to obey her rules now.

  8. All of my cats love to be petted and rubbed, a couple of them seem to think that my only purpose in life is to groom and pet them. My “sleeping cat” (as in snuggles under the covers right next to my belly) Itty Bitty allows me to pet and rub anywhere I want while we are in bed (even the coveted belly and feet rubs), but if we are just chilling on the couch I am limited to head and back only. ALL my cats live for head and ear rubs, without exception it is their favorite petting spot!

  9. Chatters likes it when I rub the spots directly in front of her ear (where the scent glands are), behind her ears, and her chest. Occasionally she’ll let me handle her front paws and touch her pads. She hates having her belly or back feet touched.

  10. I have a male Ragdoll and every morning he has to have his rubs. He likes to get rubbed ALL OVER. He lays on one side, I rub all over, then he rolls on his back and I get his belly and under the chin, then it’s on to the next side. He hounds me every morning until this is done.

  11. Both of my cats love to be scratched between the ears and at the base of their tail. Thor (male) likes belly rubs. Isa (female) likes chin rubs but do NOT touch her belly. If you do not pet them when they jump on your lap you get teeth nips or paw pats, just so you don’t miss seeing them.

  12. We have brother and sister cats both of whom love to have their belly petted; are not too sure about the top of their head (they always crunch up); love to have their back side at the tail rubbed and will not sit on our laps no matter how hard we try. They will tolerate a very short cuddle, i.e. being picked up and putting their head under our chin.
    But love any other attention we can give them!

  13. I once me a cat who didn’t like to be petted anywhere! She just enjoyed sitting next to you, but if you stroked her she got up and left. It was the same for everyone who tried!

  14. Both my cats (Siamese mix) like to be petted and if I don’t offer it voluntarily they come to me with a head butt or paw tap. Missy, the female, just gets on my lap and then makes her wishes known – vocally. Tiki, the male, will also come and sit on my lap but not that much. When he does and I start petting him in his favorite spot (under his chin and around his ears) he starts slobbering and slobbering. Then he rubs his head over my hand and I have to mop up the slobber.

    As to where they do not like to be touched – Missy does not mind most places but Tiki just prefers the one area and venturing elsewhere – watch out for those back legs!

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