Cats are adorable creatures fond of petting and cuddling, but cats do not have a universal reaction when it comes to tickling. Most cats are ticklish, yet not all of them have positive reactions to it. Generally, Cats are incredibly sensitive to touch and can react even with a slight brush against their paw. But how would they respond to gentle caress, as in tickling?

To better understand cats’ response towards tickling, let’s first understand the science behind tickling. 

The Science Behind Tickling

Scientists discovered that tickling stimulates pain and touch receptors in the skin. It might also provoke fight or flight responses. It can also incite emotional responses due to the stimulation of skin receptors.

Cats cannot laugh like humans so, so they will express themselves otherwise. Sometimes, tickling can be more annoying to cats than amusing, making them cranky and aggressive. So you need to know when to stop.

Does Tickling Make Cats Laugh?

Laughter is a natural response to being tickled, but it is limited only to humans. Humans experience something called “Gargalesis.” This is a response to tickling that induces laughter and is known to even be remedial. Fundamentally, it is a positive response. Cats, on the other hand, experience something entirely different called “Knismesis.” This phenomenon induces an itching sensation accompanied by irritation. It is due to this fact that cats do not experience laughter. They might like the tickling sensation at first, but they grow tired of it over time and can find it irritating, especially if it is endless and regular.

Do Cats Like Being Tickled?

Cats may like tickling depending on how and where you tickle them, but that liking vanishes after a short period. However, some cats might actually enjoy being tickled. Note that not all cats are the same. Some like one dish, others another. The same goes for tickling.

It is believed that the stroking motion resembles the bonding conduct that cats have with each other, and there are high odds they will enjoy it. Just tickle your cat a little, gauge her response, and that will tell you more. But where to tickle her?

What is Your Feline Friend’s Favorite Tickle Spot?

Cats often have a short attention span, and therefore, you need to know exactly where to tickle. Your pet will enjoy being tickled in the following parts of the body.

1. Paws

Cats like the sensation of tickling on their paws since the area is sensitive. Even a slight stroke will get enough reaction out of them.

2. Head

Tickling on their head mimics the impression of petting, and cats adore it. If they trust you enough, they might nudge you to continue in case you stop tickling them.

3. Neck

Cats usually appreciate slow strokes underneath their chins in the neck area. They often purr, and that is a good indication of their contentment.

4. Ears

Another sensitive area is the ears. Between the ears is a good place to tickle your cat but make sure you’re not aggressive with it.

5. Cheeks

Tickling on their cheeks with soft finger strokes is bound to make cats pleased as this movement is identical to petting.

6. Tail

Petting on the tail is an act of affection, and some cats do enjoy it. This depends on the cat entirely. Their tails are always on the go; it rests only when the cat rests. You can gently tickle the tail during the rest. If she enjoys being tickled, she will express it through purring.

Otherwise, she may just stand up and go away.

7. Chest

You can slowly rub and tickle their chests. It is a safe place to do so without them getting irritated. Be careful about the chest, though. Belly areas are extremely sensitive, and if a cat doesn’t appreciate tickling around her belly, she might turn aggressive.

Where Not to Tickle Your Cat?

While tickling cats can get a positive response, doing it at sensitive places can elicit an aggressive reaction out of them. Following are the cat body parts you should avoid tickling.

1. Belly

Cats do not like getting touched on their belly. This is because the skin on their belly is very thin and, as we mentioned above, sensitive. Moreover, they are defensive of their bellies and would not permit getting tickled there.

2. Tails

Some cats love getting stroked on their tales. In some cases, however, they get grouchy. Not all cats enjoy their tales being touched; hence, you should first check if she’s comfortable with it.

When to Stop Tickling?

Cats walk away when they do not admire the stroking. At times, they become aggressive and might scratch you. So, to avoid such a situation, look for the following signs.

 1. Hissing

If your cat is hissing at you while you’re tickling her, you need to stop and calm her. This is a clear sign that your cat does not enjoy it.

 2. Swiping their paws at you

Cats swipe their paws at something they are not comfortable with. So, if she’s swiping her paws at you, it indicates she is not happy with what is going on. Stop tickling and calm her.  

3. Body Language

The apparent change in body language, stiffening from your touch, and defensive posture are all clear indications that your cat is not pleased with you tickling her.

Lastly, never overdo tickling—even if she enjoys it. Sometimes, a cat may like tickling in the beginning, but if she is overstimulated, she might get fussy about it. It is advised to stop tickling when your cat grows tired of it and respect her preferences.

Signs That Your Cat Enjoy Tickling

If you’re looking for a green light to know if it would be okay for you to tickle your cat, look for the following signs.

1. Purring

This is an unmistakable hint that your feline friend appreciates the strokes and does not mind it at all. Cats purr out of contentment. So, if she purrs, you have her attention.

2. Nudging

If your cat has become fond of tickling, she will nudge you throughout the day to tickle her, and you must do as asked to make your pet happy.

3. Squirming

This is an apparent sign of affection and admiration. If your cat squirms when you tickle her, she loves it and wants you to continue.

Final Verdict

Cats are ticklish in their own ways. However, as a cat owner, you need to understand well whether they like tickling or not. Never tickle too harshly as it might seem that you are scratching, which typically stimulates a defensive response in cats. Some cats do not like being tickled, while others do. It solely depends on her disposition. Understand and respect your cat’s temperament and personality. Actively look for signs of discomfort and enjoyment and act accordingly.

Be conscious of what your cat prefers and deliver consequently so that you both can enjoy and have fun.

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