Whilst many cats like to be fussed and stroked for long periods of time, no two cats are the same, and some cats may find too much stroking, or being stroked in certain places, uncomfortable and stressful.

Some cats may be very quick to tell you what they like (by miaowing for more or pawing at you when you stop stroking them) and what they dislike (by swiping at you or biting you), but others may be much subtler in communicating how they feel. Many cats may simply tolerate being stroked or handled even though they are not enjoying it, and often it is these cats that are becoming the most stressed from the handling they experience.

Pay close attention to your cat’s behaviour and body language when you are stroking her to help you to better understand where and for how long your cat likes being touched.

It is really important that your cat always has the option to remove herself from the interaction if she chooses. This means you should never physically restrain your cat when you are stroking her, or pet her when she is trapped within a hiding space. This will help her to feel more relaxed and in control when she interacts with you.Top tip

As cats have evolved as an independent solitary species, being able to make their own decisions is important to cats so giving them choice and control over what they do, how, when, and with who is key to reducing stress for your cat.