Skip to Content

How to Tickle a Cat – A Beginners Guide

Cats are not as friendly and playful as dogs. However, you can still show them love and affection and they may do the same to you.

One of the ways in doing that is by tickling them. But how exactly do you tickle a cat?


How to Tickle a Cat

It is best to know your cat’s preferences before petting or tickling it. It may like being tickled on its paws, head, chin, neck, ears, cheeks, chest, back, and tail. However, never tickle its belly because your cat has the thinnest skin on the belly and they are protective of it.


Tickling a Cat

The most important step in this process is to know your cat thoroughly. Through observation of your cat, you will better understand if it is safe to tickle it or not.

If it is safe and only you will know, you will also need to know where the best and worst tickle points lie. And remember that practice makes perfect.


Is Tickling a Cat the same as Tickling a Human?

Humans experience gargalesis, which can induce laughter when tickled. Gargalesis is only present in primates and humans. 

One theory states that this is a way for social bonding that includes light-hearted laughter. 

However, other people believe that gargalesis helps youngsters develop a self-defense mechanism.

Because when they tickle with others, they hone their reflexes needed to defend themselves during a predator attack.

On the other hand, cats experience knismesis, which is irritating and itchy for them. This does not induce laughter in them.

An example of this is when a cat tries to remove a bug by flicking its ear.


Enhance your relationship with your cat

Get to know your cat better by knowing its likes and dislikes. Each cat has its own preferences, so it is important to study your cat’s body language. 

Follow its lead by staying calm and not forcing yourself on it. Allow your cat to handle the contact in a way that makes them feel safe.

When you try to pet your cat, keep the interaction short. If your cat wants more, it will make you feel that.

Remember that cats like lighter touches as compared to heavy strokes. 

It will feel more relaxed if you look at them with your eyes half-closed, and your head positioned at a slight angle.


Worst Place to Tickle your Cat

Dogs love having their bellies scratched. However, this is not the same for cats.

Cats know that their belly and abdomen are the parts that need the most protection. This is because, this is the part of their body that has the thinnest skin.

They will be able to sense danger when they see something approaching their tummy, so it would be best not to touch it. 

When your pet cat shows its belly to you, this meant that it trusts you, and it feels relaxed with you. You may reciprocate its affection by stroking its head rather than scratching its tummy.


Cat’s Paws are Sensitive to Touch

Cat’s Paws are very sensitive because it is an important part of their survival. Their paws can feel ground vibrations, which tells them when someone is nearby.

Because of this, they can identify if they should run or hide quickly.

Due to the extra-sensitivity of this area, even a very soft touch on it may tickle them. When you try to tickle it, your cat might hiss on you to stop, or it might enjoy the sensation.


A Cat’s Head is a Good Spot

Good places to tickle your cat are its head, chin, or neck. If you stop tickling them in those areas, your cat may nudge you to continue. 

When you tickle your cat’s chin, it might lift its head so you can tickle its neck too.


Ears and Cheeks Sound Great

Cat’s ears and cheeks are good places to tickle your pet. These are due to the numerous scent glands located in those areas.

Your pet may transfer its scent to you to make them more comfortable.


Their Chest is Hard to Resist

If your cat likes to be tickled on its chest, it will raise its head up. It may also lie on its back so you can easily tickle its chest.


Turning its Back to You

Some cats enjoy having back rubs and some do not. If you own a long-haired cat, it will enjoy the feeling of having its back brushed during grooming. 

If your cat doesn’t like its back to be touched, it might use its rear paw to signal you to move your hand away.


Stroke its Tail

Other cats have playful tails that don’t stop moving unless when it’s sleeping. It seems that your cat is waving at you because its tail moves back and forth.

Some felines like having their tails stroked or tickled. Your cat may lay down and purr at you because it knows that petting it is your way of showing affection. 

However, if your cat doesn’t like its tail to be touched, it will get up and leave you.


Know When to Stop Tickling

When you pet or tickle your cat, use a variety of motions during your interaction. If you don’t, it may get irritated or bored easily. 

If your cat’s muscles stiffen and it stops purring, this meant that your cat wants you to stop the contact. Your cat may also scratch or bite you when it becomes irritated.

You should then ignore your cat and do other normal things, so it will feel safe and camouflaged.


Frequently Asked Questions about Tickling a Cat


Does a Cat Laugh When Tickled?

No, cats don’t laugh like other animals. They produce other noises to express their feelings. Cats meow or purr, scream, or hiss depending on their emotions.


What if My Cat is Overly Sensitive to Sensation?

You can ask your local vet if your cat has hyperesthesia or “twitchy cat syndrome,” which causes their skin to be overly sensitive. If your cat has this disorder, you may notice that when you pet your cat, the area that you touched will ripple. Their tails may also twitch, and they may also experience muscle spasms.

Read about why do cats like earwax next.