Are cats ticklish? As much as pet owners enjoy scratching their cats, one can’t help but wonder: are cats ticklish? This is a common question cat owner always seem to wonder about. The answer to this question seems more obvious for dogs since dogs easily react when hit on the right tickle spot. Cats, though, seem to be quite different. If they do have tickle spots, do they like being tickled? And now, the answer to the million-dollar question that you, yourself, may be asking. YES! Cats are indeed ticklish.
Why Are Cats Ticklish?
On its face, it seems odd that cats would be ticklish at all. What purpose does it serve? Is it just a weird evolutionary quirk that nature forgot to program out of them?
As it turns out, many scientists think that being ticklish (and the spasming, biting, and kicking that can accompany it) may be important after all — and the reason has to do with parasites. If you’re a cat in the wild, you may not notice when something small is crawling on you. Unfortunately, many tiny creepy-crawlies that like to climb on cats are parasites like ticks and fleas. They can carry diseases or sap a cat’s blood supply to the point that they become dangerously anemic. This is especially dangerous for kittens and smaller cats.
Being able to sense and repel tiny invaders can extend a cat’s lifespan (and increase its chances of passing on its genes to future generations). So, when your cat spasms uncontrollably because you’re tickling it, that may be their unconscious telling them that they need to try to dislodge a parasite.
If you think about it, that’s probably why humans experience knismesis. It’s your body warning you that something nasty is creeping up on you!
Cat Reactions To Tickling
Just like humans, each cat responds to tickling in different ways. Some enjoy the sensation, while others may try to swat your hand away. It’s likely your cat will only tolerate a short amount of tickling before they have had enough. This is because the sensation of tickling can become overstimulating quite quickly.
It’s important to understand your cat’s body language, so you know whether they like the tickles or not. If you don’t watch their body language, your cat may get upset with you, and you may end up being scratched or bitten.
These are common behaviors to look out for:
Purring– if your cat is purring, it is a good sign that they enjoy the attention and feel relaxed.
Chirping and short, high-pitched meows– these are sounds a cat makes when they feel content.
Nudging your hand– if you stop tickling your cat, they might nudge your hand to get you to carry on; this is a great sign that they are enjoying it and don’t want you to stop.
Kneading– if your cat is kneading, it’s a sign that they feel comfortable with the petting.
Tense Body– if your cat gets tense, then you should stop tickling them immediately.
Hissing and growling– noises such as hissing and growling are clear signs that your cat doesn’t like what you are doing, and you should stop immediately.
Deep, long meows– this noise indicates your cat is agitated and isn’t enjoying being tickled.
Swiping at you– if your cat swipes at you with their paws, they are trying to get you to stop.
If you aren’t paying attention, you could think your cat is being playful when trying to communicate its discomfort to you. Only tickle your cat when you can pay full attention to them.
Where are a Cat’s Ticklish Spots?
Every cat has its unique physiology. This means that different felines have varying ticklish spots. Almost all cats will be ticklish in these locations, though:
- Paw pads
- Below the chin
Some cats are also ticklish between the ears and down the side. You can test this on your pet. If your cat shows any sign of discomfort, let her go. You’ll be scratched or bitten otherwise.
Do Cats Laugh When They’re Tickled?
Unlike some other animals, cats don’t laugh. Instead, they make other noises to let us humans know that they’re happy, content, or annoyed. They’ll purr or meow, hiss or scream depending on how they’re feeling.
They may meow when they want attention and then purr loudly when we’re tickling or touching them just the way they want. If we don’t touch them in just the right place, they’ll use their paws or nip at you to let you know.
Once they’ve got the right amount of attention, they’ll get up and walk away.
Get to Know Your Cat Before Tickling Her
Cats rarely show emotions like dogs or other animals. Felines by nature show no emotions as a matter of survival, especially in the wild. However, if you pay close attention to your cat, you’ll learn to read her body language. You’ll get to know what areas are ticklish if indeed any of them are, and when and how to touch them.