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Some cats are stressed by being petted.
06-02-2014, 12:22 PM, (This post was last modified: 06-02-2014, 12:23 PM by Happyflowerlady.)
#1
Happyflowerlady Offline
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Some cats are stressed by being petted.
A new research study shows that while most cats really enjoy being petted, other cats simply tolerate it, and a few cats absolutely get stressed out when you pet them.
Apparently, the cats are less stressed if they are in a home with other cats, since then they can more easily maneuver themselves out of the way of any unwanted petting.
When there is only one cat, it gets all the attention, whether they like it or not; and thankfully, the study showed that most cats really enjoy being petted and having a lot of attention.
So, if it seems like you have a cat that is aloof and doesn't like being petted, it is nothing to worry about; you just have one of the few cats that are loners, and want to be left in peace.
Most of the cats I have had seemed to really enjoy the attention, and at least liked being around me, and I don't think I ever had one that didn't want me to pet it.

http://www.foxnews.com/health/2013/10/10...some-cats/
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06-23-2014, 06:49 AM,
#2
Amesii Offline
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RE: Some cats are stressed by being petted.
I have a loner cat. He was found as a street cat when he was just 3 months old and I took him into my home. He doesn't really crave human attention, unlike my other cat which I got when he was 8 weeks old. Sometimes I try and pet him but he gives me a dirty look and just walks away. He really has to be in the mood and even then the petting sessions are really short. Whenever he's really hungry and wants food he'll let me pet him and sometimes there's a very low purr. He hardly ever purrs and it's barely audible. Sometimes I feel bad because I feel like I can't give him as much attention as my other cat but I know he prefers to be alone. He was probably like that his entire life. He is also very territorial and hisses at strangers and even me when strangers are present. Maybe he's somewhat feral?
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06-24-2014, 11:41 AM,
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Happyflowerlady Offline
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RE: Some cats are stressed by being petted.
It really does sound like you have one of those cats that just want to be left alone ! At least it is good to know that some cats are just this way, and that he is happier not being petted; and you don't have to keep worrying that you are leaving him out.

I have read that some times animals can "see" our visual thoughts, and understand what we are thinking that way. If you want to try an experiment, you could visualize this cat really enjoying it when you pet him. As you are able to stroke him, think about him happily purring, tipping his head up to have his chin scratched, and maybe even rolling over for a tummy rub; all the time, with a look of pure contentment on his little kitty-cat face.

It might not do anything, but then again, it might change his attitude about being petted when he realizes it should be a joyful experience for him.
In any case, it will be fun for you to try, and let us know how well it works. A week or so of doing this should make a difference if it is going to make one.
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06-29-2014, 03:55 AM,
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evelynmcgregor Offline
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RE: Some cats are stressed by being petted.
Many years ago, I had a Russian Blue cat named Stubby. He got this name because he rode into the fire station where my husband worked, and had burned his paws and tale pretty bad from wherever he was perched. I went out and lured him from under the car and promptly took him to the vet where his paws were treated, but unfortunatly his tail had to be amputated. Anyway,,, he was never really fond of being petted and would just tolerate it for a short time. When he had enough he would nip at the offending hand and jump down. That cat lived 20 yrs and died in my arms. The little devil had the nerve to reach back and bite me with his dieing breath!!!!
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08-21-2014, 03:25 AM,
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lily_lover Offline
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RE: Some cats are stressed by being petted.
I've also heard that petting can overstimulate a cat. This explains why some cats will seemingly enjoy your attention one minute, and then all of a sudden flip out and run away or end up scratching you. I also saw something similar explained on one of the My Cat from Hell episodes (the show gets kind of repetitious, but he drives home some pretty good major points on common problems owners have with their cats). Here's a PDF from the San Diego Humane Society about it:

http://www.sdhumane.org/site/DocServer/B...?docID=628

I'm really grateful my cat is a giant cuddle beast and has never shown signs of aggression after petting. In fact, it's always been me who tires out and stops petting, and he follows me and demands me for more!
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09-18-2014, 10:14 PM,
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helaofthenorns Offline
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RE: Some cats are stressed by being petted.
My cats are very unpredictable! There are times when they really enjoy being petted, there are times when they absolutely hate it. This bamboozles me so much because I am at a loss. LOL. When they want to be petted, I just cuddle them and brush their fur until they fall asleep purring. I just let them be when they are acting like snobs.
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10-01-2014, 03:32 AM,
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kfander Offline
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RE: Some cats are stressed by being petted.
Losing her a year ago, at the age of twenty-three, I had a cat whom I had taken in as a feral cat. She was born feral, in the porch of a vacant house next to an ambulance station I was working at. A couple of our medics discovered the kittens only after a couple of stray dogs had killed all but two of the kittens in the litter, and run the mom off. They boarded the porch up so that the cats could get in and out but the dogs couldn't get back in.

By then, the two kittens were probably a month old, a little smaller than four kittens that I had at home at the same time, so I estimated them to be roughly the same age. I couldn't take them in because, counting my own four kittens, I had six cats in the house, and was afraid of becoming one of those people you read about in the newspaper.

I fed them every day, and their mom eventually returned. She was ferocious in her determination that her kittens not be turned into pets, and because I knew I couldn't take them in, I left food for them every day but otherwise left them alone.

As they grew older, the mom left and the kitten ventured outdoors, particularly when someone was barbecuing or when the neighbor on the other side of our station was cleaning fish.

Very slowly, I made friends with the two young cats. At first they wouldn't come near me, even for food, waiting for me to throw it to them. Eventually, they came closer and closer, then creeping up to me and trying to knock the food out of my hand.

In time, one of them would jump up on my lap, but would hiss at me if I tried to touch her, but her sister wouldn't come any closer than to take something out of my hand.

The one that had become the friendliest was killed in traffic, so there was just the other, whom I named Bird. That's another story.

Bird also began jumping up on my lap if I were sitting outdoors, but she would sit stiffly, and if I touched her, she would sometimes lash out, leaving my hand bleeding, before jumping down. Then she was either angry, or afraid that I'd be angry because she had scratched me, and I wouldn't see her for a while. Eventually though, she would come up on my lap even when I didn't have food, and she would seem to enjoy sitting there, although she never relaxed.

She became our station kitty, although she wouldn't come indoors. When I was not on duty, or when I was working out of another station, our other medics would feed her, but none were able to make friends with her. Our other medics would tell me that she would be waiting whenever an ambulance came in, and then walk away disappointed if I wasn't in it. When I was inside the station, she would sit on the outside of the window nearest me.

I moved near to that station, and she found me, coming to my house when I wasn't on duty, and would even come indoors when it was cold or wet outside. This was in Texas, near the Mexican border, so really cold nights were rare. By then, I had adopted two of my own kittens out, and decided to keep the two black ones, mostly because there is a lot of superstition about black cats so near the Mexican border. My cats hated her, and never really got over that, although they eventually arrived at an uneasy truce.

When I sold my half of the ambulance company to my partner and moved to Maine, she was nearly ten. She still did not like to be petted, and would never relax on my lap, but liked to be there nevertheless. She would let me pick her up, and would rarely strike out at me, although she didn't hesitate to make it known when she was thinking about it.

We took her with us, and tried to make her a house cat. When she didn't have access to the outdoors, she would go wild, acting the way she no doubt felt, like a caged animal. Our house in Maine had a large back yard that faced a railroad track that was no longer in operation, she we made her an indoor-outdoor kitty, which suited her fine. So long as she had options, she was content to remain indoors most of the time, particularly given our Maine winters.

I know I took a long time getting there but, to get back on topic, I made a point of trying to get her more accustomed to getting petted. The instinct to lash out never left her, although she was nearly always able to restrain herself.

When I was petting her, she would clearly enjoy it. Purring loudly, she would rub the side of her head and neck on me, but then, all of a sudden, sometimes before I was able to see it coming, she would lash out. It was as if she were feeling, I love it, I love it, I love it, I love it, I love it, I CAN'T STAND IT!

After lashing out at me, she would run away into another room, then return shortly after to rub against my leg, as if apologizing.

I lost her at the age of twenty-three. She wasn't the sort of cat that you could have around children, but I'm always up to a challenge, and I loved her.
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10-08-2014, 01:39 AM,
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Danyel72 Offline
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RE: Some cats are stressed by being petted.
We have 2 cats that are totally opposite! One likes to be petted and loved and the other hates it. You can clearly see on his face that he is anxious when we pet him. I thought it was strange to say the least, and really was sad. I thought it was something with us. Sad

Thank you for sharing this information. It really shed some light on the issues we have with one of our cats. Plus I feel better knowing it's just not us!!

thanks,
Danyel Smile
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10-12-2014, 09:54 PM,
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cyberpuppet Offline
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RE: Some cats are stressed by being petted.
I think if you read into the research properly rather than just the headlines a lot of the press has generated it is more about humans failing to realize their cat is stressed in the first place and having the wrong idea that if a cat is stressed stroking or petting will make it feel better.
I think the easy rule is if the cat wants to get away from you let it. Make sure that there are plenty of hiddely holes for your cat to hide in and if they are hidden leave them alone.
People do need to learn what cat language means - so they do recognize stress when they see it. Just remember stressed cats are not calmed by petting - they want to feel safe and secure on their own.
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10-13-2014, 12:53 PM,
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kfander Offline
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RE: Some cats are stressed by being petted.
(10-12-2014, 09:54 PM)cyberpuppet Wrote: I think the easy rule is if the cat wants to get away from you let it. Make sure that there are plenty of hiddely holes for your cat to hide in and if they are hidden leave them alone.

Years ago, I was living in a small apartment with a large cat. When he wanted to be alone, he would go under a bookcase and I'd pretend I didn't see him, and instruct anyone else who might come over not to see him either. It was funny, because he came to believe that he was wearing an invisibility cloak when he was under the bookcase, and would even run under there sometimes when he thought he was in trouble.
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10-14-2014, 11:13 AM, (This post was last modified: 10-14-2014, 11:14 AM by Happyflowerlady.)
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RE: Some cats are stressed by being petted.
It is so interesting how animals react, and I have enjoyed reading the different stories of how the different cats responded to being petted.
I think that most of the cats that I have had did enjoy being petted, at least when they wanted to be petted.

The one that was the least friendly was a beautiful silver chinchilla Persian named Lord Byron. He was given to us because he bit the people who had him, and he was named when we got him.
He had belonged to a friend's girlfriend, and Byron seemed to not like any of them. Rodney (the friend who had brought us the cat) would sometimes stay at our house, and one morning he came down from the bedroom and informed us that Byron had left a poo-poo in his tennis shoe.
When we went up to see, he had certainly done just that, and since it was all right inside of the shoe; Byron obviously was showing his dislike for Rodney.
He was the only cat we had right then; so it had to be Byron who did it.
I have never had a cat to show his dislike of someone in such a dramatic way as this cat did, and with everyone in the family, he was still tempramental about being petted, but not anything else, and was fine even with my kids petting him.
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10-14-2014, 07:20 PM,
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cyberpuppet Offline
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RE: Some cats are stressed by being petted.
I think you put your finger on it when you said "when they want to be petted". Cats are really obvious when they want petting - they kind of make it a challenge not to pet. The tail in the air, the on your lap whether you want them or not, the head buts, the miaows - difficult to ignore and totally different from food demands.

If a cat obviously wants petting then pet (or you may get bitten - I did know of a cat who would bite if ignored) if it is hiding or reluctant (again obvious) then leave it alone.
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11-04-2014, 09:11 AM,
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kfander Offline
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RE: Some cats are stressed by being petted.
Every cat that I have had has enjoyed having its nose rubbed, ever so gently. Stressed cats can often be calmed through this means. In fact, that was one of the things that I used in taming Bird, the feral cat that I took in. She would resist it at first, but very soon she would be getting into it. Rubbing, or petting, her nose from near the tip upward to her forehead can be a great bonding exercise.

Raising a cat is a give and take relationship so, while I may accede to their desires more than some people think I should, I will also feel free to pet them whether they think they want to be petted or not and, with the right amount of communication, I can usually persuade them that yes, they do rather like that after all. Sometimes, when I pick up one of the cats who doesn't think she wants to be petted, my wife will tell me to quit torturing the poor cat, because she clearly doesn't want to be petted. I reply to the effect that I am not overly fond of emptying their litter boxes or cleaning up after their vomit either, but I do it. Nearly always, with the right approach, the cat decides that being petted isn't so bad after all.

I especially like doing that to Cutie, who likes to pretend that she's mad at me if I've been away for a while. She'll even growl or hiss at me when I pick her up within the first fifteen minutes or so of being home, since she hasn't had time to forgive me yet. But if I'm busy bringing things in from the car or if my wife starts a conversation with me during Cutie's angry period, she'll make sure of getting my attention. After all, there's no point in being mad if no one notices.
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11-04-2014, 10:00 AM,
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Meowmie Offline
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RE: Some cats are stressed by being petted.
I told my oldest cat about the study. She said that all the hands that shouldn't be petting the cats that get stressed out should come pet her. She can never get enough. We have had three people petting her with both hands at times. If one person stops she glares at them until they start again.

My husband thinks she might be a bit spoiled. I like to avoid trouble so I just keep petting the queen. bowdown
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11-04-2014, 12:15 PM,
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kfander Offline
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RE: Some cats are stressed by being petted.
(11-04-2014, 10:00 AM)Meowmie Wrote: I told my oldest cat about the study. She said that all the hands that shouldn't be petting the cats that get stressed out should come pet her. She can never get enough. We have had three people petting her with both hands at times. If one person stops she glares at them until they start again.

Cutie likes me to pet her with both hands. When she finds that I am petting her with only one hand, she will sniff at the other one as if to say, "What's the matter with the other hand? Is it broken?"
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05-27-2016, 01:54 PM,
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CatCuddler57 Offline
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RE: Some cats are stressed by being petted.
This makes me sad to think that any cat would be distressed at being petted. Most of my cats were pretty friendly so I never had to chase them down to be petted. But cats aren't as domesticated as dogs and that could explain why some cats hate being touched by people. It also might be because of where the cats are being petted. I've only known one cat that really loved being scratched on the stomach while the others would turn into a ninja and slice up my hands. Also, most people tend to pet their cats the way they pet their dogs and that doesn't work for most cats. I noticed that most cats really love gentle petting and soft scratches. If they want a harder scratch they will simply lean harder on your hand instead of you deciding for them and scratching harder. With dogs, you can get away with petting a little harder for smaller breed and almost roll the bigger dogs back and forth like bread dough. As a rule of thumb, I never chase down a cat but allow the cat to come to me if it wants to be petted and I let them decide how hard I pet or scratch them.
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05-28-2016, 08:51 PM,
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Novelangel Offline
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RE: Some cats are stressed by being petted.
I have one of those loner cats myself. She's a three year old calico who barely tolerates being touched at all, let alone petted. If I'm standing up, bent over, and nearly standing on my head, then she loves being petted, at least for a few moments. As long as I'm going out of my way just for her she doesn't mind the attention one bit, but if I'm comfortable and I decide I want to pet her, forget it, evil human. She has two ways of telling me that I'm done giving her attention... she will lick my hand first... kitty kisses, you know. Then if I still continue petting her she'll sink her teeth in as hard as she can. I get one warning and that's it. So, I've learned to pay attention to that one warning and respond quickly by pulling away. Touching her tummy is allowed only on an as-needed basis. She tolerates that for a few seconds and then I'm done, but the toes are completely off-limits. It's the same situation with the tail. Touching that is a no-no, but everything else is allowable as long as I'm quick about it and don't get any ridiculous notions about picking her up or something. She's kind of like me in one way though. She doesn't tolerate excessive heat well and gets a bit sensitive when it's too hot in our home. When she's like that she wants more attention but even less cuddling, so holding is absolutely out of the question at those times and I can understand that completely. At times like that, she will lie next to me looking like a pile of limp laundry, pressed as flat to the floor as she can get and just look like the sad, hot little kitty she is.
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