Owners should ask for their cat's consent before they pet them, experts claim

16 July 2021, 15:38

Cats should give you consent before you stroke them, an expert has claimed
Cats should give you consent before you stroke them, an expert has claimed. Picture: Getty
Alice Dear

By Alice Dear

Does your cat sometime lash out when you go to pet them? Well, it might be because you're not 'asking' them for permission first.

We all know that cats are very particular creatures, they know what they want and when they want it, and know exactly how to tell you when they're not happy.

And if your cat has ever lashed out at you for going to pick them up or simply stroking them, it may be because you haven't assessed the situation correctly.

According to an expert, cat owners should be asking their cats for their consent to stroke them before doing so.

This is according to Katzenworld's creator, Marc-André Runcie-Unger, who says people should be communicating with their cats before they go to pet them or pick them up as a way to confirm whether they want the attention or not.

Experts say you should assess the mood your cat is in before stroking them as they could react badly
Experts say you should assess the mood your cat is in before stroking them as they could react badly. Picture: Getty

In a post on the UK's biggest cat blogging platform, Marc-André writes: "Cats are sophisticated and very particular.

“If you want to pet her, it has to be under her terms. She should be in the mood, and you must wait until she gives you a nod.”

He also says that it is important for cat owners to understand their cat's body language in order to know whether they are comfortable with being picked up.

The expert claims that you should wait for the cat to give you 'the nod' before you touch them
The expert claims that you should wait for the cat to give you 'the nod' before you touch them. Picture: Getty

This is an opinion which is backed by charity Cats Protection, who explain on their website that cats often like to be in control of human contact, and that it is best to let them come to you and give them the choice to leave or move away if they want to.

Battersea Cats & Dogs Home add that one of the most important things to do when interacting with a cat is to know the pet's temperament and what kind of cat they are.

Battersea Cats & Dogs Home suggest using the 'C.A.T' steps to assess your cat before petting them
Battersea Cats & Dogs Home suggest using the 'C.A.T' steps to assess your cat before petting them. Picture: Alamy

They say the best way to interact with your cat is to use the 'C.A.T' acronym, which assesses their choice, attention and touch:

Choice

Did I give the cat a choice to tell me if they wanted to be touched or not?

Am I paying attention?

Am I looking out for any subtle signs to tell me if the cat is enjoying the interaction or might be a bit uncomfortable.

Touch

Where am I touching the cat? Does the cat want me to keep touching it here, or at all?

The key thing is to allow your cat to have more choice and feel more in control during interactions. This will not only work with cats that are more timid or wary of contact, but also with cats that enjoy lots of contact but that have a tendency to become over stimulated quickly and may have a tendency to bite or scratch.