Petting your cat seems like a concrete way to show him you love him, but it turns out that he might not be such a big fan of your caresses. A new study published in the Journal Physiology and Behavior finds that felines who reluctantly allow their owners to pet them are likely stressing out about it.
In particular, the researchers were curious if cats’ reaction to petting had anything to do with whether or not they lived with other cats. And indeed, there seems to be a connection. As PhysOrg explains:
Although the number of cats in the home did not predict background stress levels, the researchers found that younger cats (less than two years old) living on their own were more stressed than younger ones living in the larger groups.
Evidence was also found to suggest that the owner’s urge to pet their cat may be a stressful experience.
Basically, your obsession with your cat is kiiind of freaking him out, and that stress is only slightly depleted if your house doubles as a cat colony.
Next time you want to give your cat a massage, maybe just keep your hands to yourself and watch this video instead: