My human says I am a “crazy cat,” which is totally unfair because she is the one who is making me crazy! She pets me all wrong. I’ll be stretched out on the floor with my tummy up, rolling around, massaging my back and just feeling good — and then she comes along and spoils it all by rubbing my tummy! I’m actually quite patient with her — I stop moving, give her the flat ears and whap my tail on the floor a few times. You’d think she would get a clue, but she keeps rubbing. So I grab her hand with my claws, bite her (not really that hard — I don’t draw blood or anything) and run away! She does this a lot. It seems like I can’t get in my daily rolls with her disturbing me. Any ideas on how to knock some sense into her? At least without getting too violent?
While most humans get the most rudimentary parts of catspeak — they can tell when we are hungry, that we are saying hello after they have been gone all day, or are excited over a particularly gripping episode of Bird TV — some of our language just completely eludes them. Like the “permission to touch” signals — a lot of humans totally miss them. You’d think it would be obvious when it is not a good time to pet or touch us: our skin is twitching, our pupils are slits, we’re swishing our tail like mad and our ears are back. Does that sound like a kitty that is enjoying human touch? Of course not! But a lot of humans just keep going, and then they cry foul when we get fed up and do the bite-and-run.
In a perfect world, there would be cat linguistics courses for humans starting in Kindergarten, but until then, I have a couple of suggestions. First, since your human seems to have a problem keeping her hands to herself when you are doing your back massage, only do it when she is not around, like if she has taken off in the car, or if she is in the shower. Next, since you only said you didn’t like this sort of petting, I am assuming there are other ways of being touched that you do like. So when your human is in a relaxed mood, such as watching TV or reading a book, go up to her and rub yourself against her in the ways you do like being touched, whether it is skritching your face against her fingers or slinking your spine under her forearm. Purr loudly when you do this, and it often encourages humans to take matters into their own hands, so to speak. This way, you can help train your human to properly pet you and avoid being disturbed when you’d rather do your own thing.
Savannah NanaMo says
seriously…how can a human miss the whapping tail move!
The Kitties of Purring Pines says
Excellent advise as usual Sparkle. We’ll tape this to the frig fur mommy!
I think, on the whole, my lame brain human has caught on! Yep, don’t faint, Sparkle! It might be a first, but she does leave me alone when I do the flat ear thing and swishy tale! I believe it is because before me she had one of Cathy Keisha’s ancestors! Learned the hard way MOL
Love, Austin xx
Spitty the Kitty says
Oh, the stories I could tell, Sparkle, of Bad Pettings. But my Human IS puzzled by certain things: I jump on the bed, totally invite her to pet me–head to tail, I purr and I purr and then quite suddenly I bite the BACK of her hand–always the back, so it hurts, but still no blood–and then I dash away, (she swears) laughing my fool head off. It works EVERY SINGLE TIME.
Baby Tali says
Our Humom knows which ones likes tummy rubs and who 😉 doesn’t..She is pretty good at figuring us out!!
Oui Oui says
Ok, did Oui Oui write that question?
Our evil mom knows what all those signals mean and she just rubs away anyway! Our theory is, she’s getting even with us for throwing fur in her face when she scratches us.
I think most humans “get it” when you bite them really hard when they go for the belleh. That taught me really quick to keep clear of the belleh.
Fraidy Kats! says
Mol at CK!
good post, Sparkle. Yeah, our mom often doesn’t get the “subtle hint” of the bitey when we don’t want pets 😀 …either that or she is a glutton for punishment!
Pip, Smidgen, Minnie, Hollie
Cathy Keisha says
I think Rolling Wildcat should just go for the jugular. Then her human might get the message. TW wouldn’t DARE touch my tummy if she wants to keep her hand.
Madi and Mom says
HILARIOUS!!! Most humans are not trained in felinese as they should be…how would they like it if someone just up and rubbed they tummy w/o permission?
hugs madi your bFFF
We love tummy rubs and being petted any how any time so we don’t quite understand this one.
Emma and Buster says
great job sparkle. that’s how we trained our mama; at 2 am we put our head on her hand and rub rub rub; she wakes up rubs our head and automatically gets up to the treats cabinet and dole out a few treats. there’s a few cursing human words in the beginning, but in the end those same cursing human words would not even be audible.
Glogirly & Katie says
How can I expect Glogirly to understand the nuances of a perfect pet if she can’t even keep that orange menace away from my *shhhhh* tocks. (?!?) She’s got a LOT to learn.
; ) Katie
You are so wise and clever, lovely Sparkle!…Good luck with the Pettie awards, dear friends; happy week ahead, sweeties…xoxo…Calle, Halle, Sukki, Mommy Cat, Daddy Cat
This is so true, but I keep telling Pixel she should not have such a cute tummy if she doesn’t want all her humans to have a go at it every time it’s all stretched out for us to see! 🙂
We are still learning every day. It’s hard to keep our hands off of her! She purrs like a freight train when she is happy and thankfully she’s incredibly patient with us. When we humans totally over do our human-ness, (not hard with two kids) she has a couple hidey-holes she likes to go to and we know to leave her there when she’s hanging out in them.
🙂 Thanks as always for the great posts!!
Layla Morgan Wilde (Cat Wisdom 101) says
We’re all for cat talk 101 classes beginning in kindergarten or sooner. Humans can be slow learners!
Sparkle you are the Dear Abby of the cat world!
That was great Sparkle! We have taught our Dad to do the Rub N’ Run for when we are not in the mood!
Famous SpokesGoat Pricilla says
The publicist cannot resist kitty belly. She will never learn
Sue Brandes says
My kitties don’t care for their tummies rubbed. I have one that doesn’t like his head rubbed either. 😯
Small Town Mommy says
Our cat loves having his tummy rubbed. If he ever looks like he is not enjoying it, we stop instantly.
Great advise, Sparkle!
I’m kind of like Rollin’ Wildcat’s human…but I can’t help but rubbing my boy’s tummy when it is exposed!
It’ll be great if there are cat linguistics course 🙂
Texas, a cat in New York says
I am SO forwarding this to my human!
Thank you Sparkle!
Kitties Blue says
You are very wise Sparkle! Lisbeth is really hoping our mom reads this. Whenever Mom approaches her, she rolls over on her back and presents her belly. But she DOES NOT want her belly rubbed. Mom, however, falls for it every time, even though she knows that Lisbeth ONLY likes butt scritches. She just doesn’t get that Lisbeth is just saying, “Hi,” when she rolls over. We sure hope she gets it through her thick head one of these days. Purrs and hugs, Lily Olivia, Mauricio, Misty May, Giulietta, Fiona, Astrid, Lisbeth and Calista Josette
Caren Gittleman says
I think that it depends on the cat. I happen to LOVE having my belly rubbed! Love, Cody
The Island Cats says
We so glad you explained this so humans can get it right, Sparkle.
Noir the Texas Tabby says
Once again, Ms. Sparkle ou I’ve sound advice. I am to tape this to my human’s coffee maker….then I am sure she’ll see it..:)
That is great advice. We have our human trained not to rub the tummy unless we really ask her too. But good idea to wait until the human is gone to have a good back rub.
Hope you have a great day.
Hannah and Lucy says
What great advice Sparkle – we tend to bunny kick when tummies are being rubbed without our permission.
Luv Hannah and Lucy xx xx
The Paw Relations says
Excellent advice there, Sparkle. However we found with our human that bunny kicking was the only way to go.
Great advice. I’m lucky because my mum and I communicate telepathically so we don’t have that problem. Plus, I love my tummy rubs. When it gets too much I just give her that look and she understands to back off.
Kjelle Bus aka Charlie Rascal says
Pawsome post Sparkle ( as alwayÂ´s 🙂
My mom have learned not to rubb my tummy when IÂ´m rolling around on the floor , so I guess there is hope for Rollinâ€™ WildcatÂ´s human too
Tillie and Georgia says
Very good advice Sparkle.
We are sure it helped that kitty 🙂
Purrs Tillie and Georgia,
Treasure,Tiger,JJ and Julie
Feline Yogi says
Excellent post Sparkle! This training of our humans never ends, does it? Meow and Namaste! ~ Pippy