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Why is it that cats arch their back when you stroke them.

It seems to be a response that all cats share (in common).

Is it autonomous, a reflex? Or is it forced, and purposeful?

What use does it serve.

It’s definitely a voluntary motion, not a reflex. An hostile or unreceptive cat won’t arch its back at all when touched, and may even flatten or bend its spine slightly to escape your grasp.


I think (based on decades of having cats, not any scientific study) that cats arch their backs and similar welcoming movements, to communicate their acceptance of being petted, and because it increases the pressure, and make it feel better. Though cats like to be petted on their backs, like us humans, their backs have relatively few nerves, and their fur armors them slightly, so they need firm contact to really feel petting there. Though small, cats are surprisingly rough and tought, and less sensitive to touch over most of their bodies than we furless, sensitive skinned humans.


As Turtle mentions, many other petting-related behaviors are related to scent marking. Cats have modified sweat glands in various places, such as the sides of their head, so when a cat is rubbing its face on you, it’s actually marking you with its scent. This scent marking likely serves to tell a cat it’s encountering a friend, not a stranger. It’s not a strong scent, so we humans are mostly insensitive to it, but to a cat, dog, or other animal with a very sensitive sense of smell, it’s thought to be as obvious a marking as a bright item of clothing or jewelry is to us vision-centered humans.


An important detail to understanding housecat behavior is that housecats share many behaviors of the more social wild cats, such as lions. Contrary to their popular image as aloof and independent, housecats are very social, and include human beings in their society.

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Here's some new cat news that makes a scary tale.

A parasitic microbe commonly found in cats might have helped shape entire human cultures by manipulating the personalities of infected individuals, according to a new study. ...



:cup: :) :D :eek: :eek: :eek::cat: :eek: :eek: :eek: :eek: :eek: :eek:

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BAH!!! I hate cats. I was raised with cats, as many as 13 at a time. I was always alergic to them, but didn't know until I moved out and my sinuses cleared up. At any rate I spent quite a bit of time observing the creatures.


CraigD is right about them arching their back. They are trying to get you to bet them hearder by pressing on your hand. And they are doing it because you are petting over the itchy spot. There is a strip down the center of a cat's back that they cannot reach easily with their tongue. When you pet them there it brings releif to an area that they try and ignore most of the time. It feels so good that they press into you to increase the sensation. And if you scratch them above the base of the tail they will lick and nibble the air in front of them. Why? Because it is the only perpetually dirty spot on a cat and it itches. You become a tool of convenience.



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