Does your cat seem to enjoy getting pet one moment, and then hate them the next? What are the warning signs that can mean a scratch or a bite is coming soon?
Don’t take it personally and take things slowly.
Find the stage when your cat becomes uncomfortable with petting — some warning signs can include a switching tail or ears that are laid back. If you notice these or any other cues, stop before things get ugly.
After about a week of offering three strokes followed by a treat, try to sneak in a fourth stroke. Eventually, your cat will tolerate the additional affection.
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Beware of the belly.
Cats often roll over and show you their tummy when they’re feeling playful. It might seem like an invitation for belly rubs, but touching your cat’s underside when they’re in play mode can often result in a bite or scratch because your hand seems like a toy. If this is your cat, try engaging them with a kicker toy or wand toy instead.
Some cats do enjoy belly rubs, but it’s best to test this when your cat is relaxed and to proceed slowly.
Understand your cat’s limitations.
While the positive training method discussed above can help improve your cat’s response to petting, it’s important to note that some cats may never embrace full-blown cuddle time.
It’s also important for cats to have access to a quiet place where they can hide if they feel stressed or scared. For example, creating a kid-free zone may also create a stress-free zone for your cat. Even just a spot under the bed or similar nook to hide may do the trick. Don’t chase your cat to extend petting time. Instead, let them come to you when they’re feeling social.