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Help: my cat doesn’t like being stroked!

Unwanted human attention can lead to cats walking away, striking out and scratching or biting. As humans, we are generally a social species, and often like the company of other furry creatures because we can reach out and cuddle them. However, while some cats melt into the cuddles, and others may tolerate it, some cats will lash out if their subtle body language signs indicating they are beginning to feel uncomfortable, are missed or ignored. A few examples to pay attention to that cats may be feeling conflicted and beginning to become annoyed are when cats look away, lip lick (in relation to an approaching person, not before or after eating), their body stiffens, and tails begins to swish. Any of these signs signal to the person to stop what they're doing. Follow these tips to keep your cat happy:

1. Let your cat approach you.

2. Pick her up as little as possible.

3. If enjoying a cuddle, keep it brief.

4. Only stroke lightly and slowly, sitting sideways to your cat for very short periods such as 5 seconds. If she stays or nudges into you, continue for another few seconds.

Advice by Vicky Alhadeff BA, DipSMP, DipCAPBT, TTouch P1, IMDT, a companion animal behaviourist and Tellington TTouch practitioner.