Understanding the low Petting Threshold in Cats by Anita Kelsey

Understanding the low Petting Threshold in Cats by Anita Kelsey

The submit Understanding the low Petting Threshold in Cats by Anita Kelsey appeared first on Katzenworld – Welcome to the world of cats!.

Understanding the low petting threshold in cats. 

By London cat behaviourist Anita Kelsey

Two frequent points I come throughout in my cat behaviour and grooming practise, is low petting aggression and cats that don’t like being picked up. Both points depend on a change of expectations from homeowners on the subject of how a ‘pet’ needs to be. It’s a troublesome space, particularly on the subject of grooming most of these cats, as a result of, in fact A: cat homeowners need and count on one thing again from the animals they take care of and B: grooming is a necessity for cats with lengthy fur.

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It was, due to this fact, fascinating to learn an article within the March situation of Your Cat , by Sue Parslow, about this very topic. Entitled Handle With Care (pages 14,15,16), Sue discusses a extra arms off strategy with cats and highlights the truth that many cats don’t just like the barrage of consideration and holding that people wish to lavish on them.

low petting threshold in cats

First of all, Lets take a look at Low Petting Aggression. It’s truly turning into a standard function of my visits leaving homeowners feeling rejected and afraid of their cats. Low petting aggression occurs when a cat is conflicted by the necessity for closeness from the homeowners and the detest of being stroked for too lengthy.  This causes interior battle which erupts with an aggressive response in an try to cease the bodily touching. This sort of aggression will also be as a result of over stimulation and arousal however nonetheless leaving the cat with conflicted feelings. Some cats have a really low threshold which will be seconds while others can go for for much longer earlier than lashing out. Usual indicators {that a} cat is turning into irritated are:

  • Swishing of the tail
  • Rippling of again (over stimulation)
  • Ears again or flatter
  • Hissing

Sometimes the cat will present no indicators of irritation however will merely lash out, seemingly with out cause and leaving the proprietor feeling shaken and with a nasty scratch or chunk wound.


The largest problem when residing with cats that don’t like an excessive amount of stroking is to recognise that not all cats wish to be touched the best way we predict they do. And that is the place respect and decrease expectations come into play. First of all a cat might like to return and examine their human and to position their scent on them as a approach of greeting them or sure visitors that go to the house. This is just not a inexperienced mild to succeed in out to stroke the cat with a low petting threshold. This is a greeting that the cat likes and may ‘deal with’. It is finest to get on the extent of the cat and to calm down the arm downwards in order that the hand is there for the cat to rub in opposition to. A cat might like to do that a number of instances, purring away to indicate contentment. Some cats might hiss and assault right away ought to that relaxed hand then attain above them to stroke their head! So, first issues first. Watch and take heed to your cat.

  • What makes them relaxed?
  • What are their likes and dislikes?
  • How lengthy do they get pleasure from a stroke earlier than you see indicators of discontent?
  • Do they really appear to be they get pleasure from being picked up?

Understanding a cat’s physique language and respecting what your cat needs and feels is the best way to attaining a balanced relationship with out the human caretaker getting harmed.

As Sarah Fisher, a Teddington Touch practitioner, righty states:

When your cat sits in your lap, it’s seemingly he simply needs your physique heat and to be near you. He doesn’t essentially need lots of fuss whereas he’s there

Which leads us to the query:

How a lot touching and a spotlight do our cats actually like?

In the Your Cat article, talked about above, Vikki Halls, creator of many books on cats, speaks concerning the want for reflection and a change of strategy on the subject of cat proprietor expectations and it’s an strategy I’ve spoken about at size on lots of my feline behaviour consultations up to now. I quote:

Imagine,everytime you stroll right into a room, you’re instantly greeted with excessive enthusiasm . After excessive pitched greetings and child speak, you had been scooped up, smothered in kisses and squeezed. If that occurs each single time you encounter that particular person, you will cease going into the room the place they’re. You would in all probability begin to keep away from them altogether.

We needs to be slowing down and tuning into the indicators our cats are struggling to speak to us, by way of how they wish to be dealt with. A much less demanding or imposing strategy will imply you may even see extra of your cat. Cats favor low depth, much less intrusive interactions, in brief bursts.

They favor to be in management; after they say it ends it ought to finish. Full on physique and eye contact, and fixed contact, are alien to most cats. We needs to be extra subtle in how we learn our cats. It’s a tough fact that cats be taught to tolerate sure interactions that they really feel uncomfortable about, as a method to an finish.

But my cat loves me and desires me to the touch them?

I hear this many instances however once more it’s right down to studying indicators out of your cat and never assuming that simply because it head butts your leg that it needs to be rubbed frantically on the pinnacle and scooped up like carrying a child. Some with cats that present their stomach to you. This is an indication {that a} cat is feeling very snug inside its territory and inside your presence however is just not a inexperienced mild for a human hand to all of the sudden begin doing the jazz arms rub over its most venerable space!

help with timid cat
Nelly having fun with closeness on a lap. Note how the arms will not be stroking however gently positioned for reassurance. Nelly is one in all my timid rescue session cats. She has now blossomed and loves being near her proprietor Cathy.


The neatest thing we are able to do for our cats is be aware of their physique language and perceive touching and dealing with from their perspective. With the entire above in thoughts my prime 5 suggestions could be:

  1. Be conscious of physique language and cease touching in case your cat is getting twitchy or too aroused. A nip or scratch shall be forthcoming if you happen to proceed to disregard the indicators.
  2. Don’t be dissatisfied in case your cat isn’t a lap cat. Many of the lengthy hair breeds of cat overheat when sitting on our laps so favor to take a seat beside us and as, Sarah Fisher (Tellington TTouch Instructor) rightly factors out ‘settle for that sharing the couch along with your cat is a praise from that particular person …
  3. Some cats don’t wish to be stroked while sitting on our laps however merely wish to benefit from the heat our laps convey (S Fisher – Your Cat) or to be near us so, once more, settle for the praise. One cat I do know referred to as Mish Mish had a really low tolerance degree. I discovered very early on, when she first sat on my lap, that stroking her resulted in a nasty chunk with no prior warning!
  4. Get on a cats degree and loosely grasp the hand down for a cat to rub in opposition to it with no try to stroke the cat. Cats with low degree dealing with tolerance love this strategy and really feel snug with it. Remember that some cats from rescue centres view the hand approaching them or reaching above their heads, with trepidation. Perhaps the motion is related to a unfavorable affiliation from experiences up to now?

Teddington Touch has a superb strategy to cats that don’t do properly with excessive concentrated dealing with and touching. Among the strategies supplied are mild strokes with a feather or an artist watercolour brush, frivolously stroking the pinnacle and cheeks. An space most cats love (S Fisher – Your Cat)


Abu is retaining her distance however having fun with being in the identical room as a human

Help needs to be sought by an accredited cat behaviourist ought to any cat proprietor be scuffling with a cat that’s excessively timid or phobic of strangers. Many issues will be addressed together with altering the territory to assist these cats alongside mild problem workouts to assist a cat achieve confidence.

Every cat and case is totally different however understanding pure primary feline behaviour is an effective place to begin.

I hope you might have loved my article on low petting threshold in cats.

Please do submit your dealing with and stroking suggestions along with your kitties. Would love to listen to your tales and suggestions.

Good luck.



Anita Kelsey holds a first-class honours diploma in Feline Behaviour and Psychology (work primarily based BA Hons) and runs a vet referral service devoted strictly to the analysis and remedy of behaviour issues in cats. She can be a certified cat groomer and specialises in grooming aggressive or phobic cats. Anita writes for Your Cat Magazine and is on their consultants panel answering readers questions on cat grooming. She additionally advises on feline behaviour for the CFBA (Canine and Feline Behaviour) journal in addition to being a full member. Anita, a robust advocate of a vegan way of life, is predicated in Notting Hill, London however consults everywhere in the UK in addition to worldwide requests. She lives along with her husband, a music producer, and two Norwegian Forest cats, Kiki and Zaza.

Her debut booked, pictured left, is printed by John Blake and is named Claws, Confessions Of A Cat Groomer.

Available from Amazon and all good ebook retailers. Click here for an Etsy author signed copy with your message.






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