How do you pet a cat properly?

That positive interaction with animals reduces stress in humans. This is great news for your health and longevity, but if you have a cat, you may wonder if the feeling is mutual. Do you know how to properly play the cat?

Pet a cat properly
So, in which places do cats like to be petted? The head, chin, and neck are often her favorites. While some cats enjoy having their tails touched, others will recoil and even experience pain from a tail strike. Take it slowly, paying close attention to your cat’s reactions to your touch and always respecting her preferences.

When approaching your kitty, the most important trick is to allow her to take the lead, Says Dr. Hanen Abdel Rahman. Let your cat sniff your index finger and touch her nose against it first. If she wants to cuddle, she’ll push her face against your hand and direct you to her ears, chin, or wherever she wants to be petted. Going slowly will create a more relaxed, warmhearted environment. If she starts nudging you with her head or rubbing her cheeks against your body, it’s a good sign, says Tufts University’s Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine. “Bunting” behavior is how cats transfer the scents in their cheek glands to beloved surroundings and family members.

In addition to being petted, do cats like to be held? Sometimes. Most cats love to snuggle, and they’re typically responsive to being held if you introduce them to it gradually. The best way to approach your cat for a hug is to start with a few soft pets, then carefully pick her up. Be sure to secure all four of her legs so that they don’t dangle. If she feels safe in your arms, she’ll be more inclined to stay there. If she squirms and wants to get away, set her down gently, and try again later. Learning to snuggle takes baby steps (and occasionally a tasty reward for not mauling your arms on the way down).