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It's also really important to pay close attention to the cat's behavior and posture during interactions to ensure they are comfortable. When it comes to touch, less is often more. This is not only true during veterinary handling , but also during more relaxed encounters with people. As a general guide, most friendly cats will enjoy being touched around the regions where their facial glands are located, including the base of their ears, under their chin, and around their cheeks.

These places are usually preferred over areas such as their tummy, back, and base of their tail.

Cat Sense: How the New Feline Science Can Make You a Better Friend to Your Pet

Tail held upright and choosing to initiate contact. Purring and kneading you with their front paws. Gently waving their tail from side to side while held in the air. A relaxed posture and facial expression, ears pricked and pointed forwards. Giving you a gentle nudge if you pause while you're stroking them. Shifting, moving or turning their head away from you.

Remaining passive no purring or rubbing Exaggerated blinking, shaking their head or body or licking their nose Rapid, short bursts of grooming. Rippling or twitching skin, usually along their back. Swishing, thrashing or thumping tail.

Ears flattening to the sides or rotating backwards. A sharp sudden turn of their head to face you or your hand. Biting, swiping or batting your hand away with their paw.

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Whether cats make good "fur babies," then, is very debatable. Lots of cats do like being touched, but lots probably don't — and many tolerate it at best.

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Ultimately though, when it comes to cats, it's important to respect their boundaries — and the wildcat within — even if that means admiring their cuteness from afar. Lauren Finka is a postdoctoral research associate at Nottingham Trent University. This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

HOW TO UNDERSTAND YOUR CAT BETTER

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We have a special relationship, see. The fact that no one knows the exact date of feline domestication comes as no surprise to any cat lover, right? With an estimated million pet cats in the U. Dog behavior has been studied ad naseum for decades, to the point that scientists and owners alike believe they have a pretty good grasp of what canines think. Cat studies are few and far between, so felines are still somewhat of a mystery.

Cat Sense by John Bradshaw | Basic Books

There is one man, however, who has studied cat behavior extensively, and he believes he knows how cats perceive their world and more importantly, what they think of us. John Bradshaw is a renowned anthrozoologist from the United Kingdom. Anthrozoology is the science of human-animal interactions. Now retired, Bradshaw says his current professional focus is on making the science of anthrozoology accessible to pet owners. The books aim to show how science can make you a better friend to your pet.

Bradshaw says that cats are sociable animals to a point, but not to the extent that dogs are. Moreover, they probably think of humans as being just another cat, albeit a much bigger one.