The NY Daily News reports that researchers from the UK, Brazil and Austria studied the levels of stress hormones in cats when being petted and discovered that when cats are stroked their stress levels rise. It doesn’t matter whether the cat was the only cat in the family or had kitty siblings. Petting cats seemed to stress out all cats across the board, although researchers did find that kittens under two years of age who were the only cats in the house seemed to experience more stress when being petted.
Data also showed that cats who tolerated but didn’t seem to like it experienced the most stress, more than those who enjoy or flat out dislike being stroked. That is interesting factor, and not unlike people who endure things they would rather not.
While the study sounded hokey at first, I admit that when I think about it, one of my cats, Baby, seems like she wants to be petted but every single time I do pet her, she kind of saunters away unexpectedly and seems uneasy. The study doesn’t offer enough information for people to stop petting their cats; I know that many cats adore being petted. However, it may suggest that we follow our cat’s cues, and if they seem uncomfortable with being petted, perhaps we can find another alternative that shows our affection.
Would you ever stop petting your cat? Does you cat enjoy a good stroke?