Written by Daniel “DQ” Quagliozzi
Here we go again. Good ol’ DQ is gonna school you on yet another thing you are doing to secretly piss off your cat. Take a good look at the chart above. Have you seen this before? Finally, a diagram that accurately depicts just how finicky some cats can be about petting. Now… I’m not saying every cat lives by the same rules. Some cats are just fine with your clumsy human hands stroking them in the “Nope” -“Meh” and “Fuck You” zones (See Venus Hand Traps)…and oh… I know…you and your cats are the exception to all my rules….or are they?
For the sake of argument… what if you avoided going there all together? What would happen if your intentions matched the free will decisions of your cat? Chances are… your cat would never “ask ” for half of the things you do on your own. So where do you draw those lines?
For most cats, petting near the kitty caboose can be arousing (negative and positive) and a little sensitive in general. Sometimes, what you have is a lethal combination of both. I say lethal because the wrong kind of handling back there can contribute to bigger consequences down the line. In some severe cases, over handling of the hindquarters and area near the base of the tail can trigger petting & play aggression, physical discomfort, injury and fear or confusion about being touched. Is that what you want? Probably not, right? So stop petting like Edward Scissorhands!
Remember, the tail. is an extension of their spine so it can be quite easy to injure a cat when your style of petting involves smacking, patting,, drumming or bongo style, rubbing against the grain (a.k.a. petting in reverse), tugging, grabbing or squeezing of the tail…. or possibly the worst one- The “kitty wheel barrel “which involves lifting the back legs off of the ground via the tail.
Needless to say, these are all improper ways to show your affection to an animal that would prefer you pet them on the head, cheeks, shoulders and flanks. Keep four on the floor at all times.
Often times when cats are stimulated, happy to see you or even stretching, they raise their butts up high to the sky. This is where the behaviorologist term “Elevator Butt” comes from. It’s almost like the cat is saying,” Take this ass to the penthouse suite!” What they’re really saying is. … “Take it slow, I’m sorta feeling good, but I’m not sure why.”
Maybe you should stop. I’m asking you to stop.
No joke, I see it all the time. Well-intentioned cat guardians are totally roughing up their cats because their cat’s reactions can appear to be positive. When you push that button and say, “What floor kitty?”, You’ll see anything from long sustained / short vocalizations to muffin making …but what eggs most people on to continue is the raising of the kitty flag pole. BOING!
Cat butts tend to lift up. This can be confusing to a human being. I mean it does look like a positive response, I’ll give you that. But the answers to feline/human compromise lie in moderation and the respect of your cat’s limitations. From the day you met your cat, your physical interactions together have governed just how far you have been allowed to go, establishing those thresholds through cause and effect. You learn pretty quickly what you can and can’t touch, particularly when you make the same mistake twice. It’s like being burned and then putting your hand back in the fire to see if it has cooled down. Bites and scratches are reserved for when you fuck up. Stop fucking up.
Some cat guardians show a reverent pride in displaying just how much physical punishment (although not fully understood or intentional) their cats will physically endure. Again, this kind of aggressive physical attention can be confusing. A cat’s own conflict with the pain/pleasure that they are experiencing can mislead guardians into thinking that their cat butt drum solo was welcomed. When was the last time you saw a cat walk up to you ass first? They pretty much tell you where to touch them and I assure you they would rather not be played like a bongo.
Drop your arm down low to the ground and make a fist. Your cat will glide his cheeks and flanks along the hand. It’s no coincidence that the preferred petting locations on a cat’s body are the very same places that release pheromones. Petting does have a purpose. Sure it feels good, but really what it does is allow your cat to get their scent on you. You’re doing their bidding. That’s what they hired you for.
So…I leave you with the same question I asked before. What would happen if your own intentions matched the free will decisions of your cat?