It’s probably the most confusing of all cat quirks. You’re lavishing them with pats when all of a sudden they bite, scratch and run away. Well, here’s the answer on why it happens. And how you can avoid it…
Hint: It’s not you…it’s them
When you’re running a positive PR campaign for your cat, nothing sets you back more than a sudden bite or scratch during what was meant to be a positive bonding affection session. And what makes it even harder is the fact it always feels like they’re into the pats right up until the point where they’re not.
But it’s really not your fault. Cats are different to dogs. They’re not hardwired for unlimited indulgence and affection like the canine pat sponges. In fact, even in larger cats like lions and tigers, those loving acts like licking and head-butting are usually only for moments, not extended sit-in sessions.
That rejection of your endless indulgent patting comes from a phenomenon called Feline Over-Stimulation Aggression.
Basically, they’ve had their fill of stimulation through patting and they’re checking out. Sure they could use a little more tact than biting or scratching but that’s often the only way they know to say ‘stop please’.
So what can you do to avoid this over-stimulation?
Step 1: Mix it up
Don’t just give them all over body pats. This will wind a cat up.
Focus on 10 seconds of chin scratches, behind the ear scratches, full body pats and then give a break. They’ll often nudge you when they want more of a particular pat.
Step 2: Manage that reactivity
This is the cat equivalent of dog reactivity. But just like in dogs, you can ease that irritability and likelihood of lashing out. The L-theanine in my Calm + Collected cat treats is proven to keep cats calm without sedating them.
Importantly, you should remember, it’s not you, it’s just them. They still want affection and attention, just their way. A cat’s way. That will earn you the ultimate respect…and avoid the round of a-claws!