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Why Do Cats Raise Their Back When You Pet Them – Behavior Traits

Why Do Cats Raise Their Back When You Pet Them – Behavior Traits

Cats are often considered less expressive but have hugely different ways of expressing themselves. The best indicators of their mood, your cat tries to communicate with you with their whole body; especially their backs. If you’ve seen your cat raise their back you may be wondering if that’s a good sign or not. So, why do cats raise their back when you pet them? 

Cats raise their back when you pet them to communicate trust and appreciation. When cats raise their hindquarters as a natural reflex to scratching, petting, and grooming. Cats will raise their backs to increase pressure to help transfer their scent via anal glands and to verify yours. This behavior is established at birth.  

The good news is that that behavior generally doesn’t mean anything bad. It’s a sign of trust and appreciation. There are several reasons your cat might act this way, though. 

Do Cats Like To Be Petted

Cats like to be petted and this is indicated the moment you see them raise their backs.

When your cat lifts their back, they are telling you that they trust you and appreciate what you’re doing. They might also be trying to make petting feel better by providing more force.

If your cat tends to elevator butt while you’re petting them, they might be telling you that they want you to pet the past of their tail and hips. Some cats are especially fond of pets in those areas, while others would rather their people, not petted there.

If your cat is female and not fixed, she might be displaying an entirely different behavior, though. When female cats go into estrus, often called heat, they tend to be particularly prone to elevator butt.

That’s because your cat is essentially presenting the way she would for a male cat. Your best option when your cats are doing this is to wait for the heat to pass and then go to a vet to get them fixed.

The other common reason cats raise their backs, and their rear-ends is that it’s reminiscent of behaviors they had as kittens. Once you have reached a level of trust and caring with your cat, they will think of you partially as a surrogate mother.

Like their mother, you feed them, pet and help groom them, and provide attention, entertainment, and support. Mother cats also help groom the back half of their kittens since it takes a while before cats can reach those areas themselves.
Some of that behavior likely comes from remembering their mother grooming them as kittens.

The last likely reason cats do this is that their back hips and low back are relatively hard places for them to get to and groom. They might be itchy there or think the gentle massage of patting and petting feels good.

Why Do Cats Like Having Their Bum Patted

Not all cats like this particular kind of petting, and we’ll discuss why in just a moment.

For some cats, bum pets are the best possible pets. They’ll immediately elevator butt when you’re paying attention. We’ve even seen some cats get upset with people who weren’t willing to scratch their hips.

We’ve already talked about some of the common reasons for this behavior. These cats may see their people are more of a mother figure or might have a harder time grooming in those areas and are asking for help.

More often, though, your cat is enjoying the sensation because there are many nerve endings at the base of their tails and around their hips.

Since those areas are also a lot harder for your cat to reach, they rely on you and possibly your other cats to help them scratch those itches and stimulate those nerves.

The other theory is that your cat may be using that position to help spread their scent. Cats have anal scent glands as well as some scent glands at the base of their tails. Some cats seem to dislike using those scent glands on people, while others seem to think it’s an essential part of marking their territory and their favorite people.

Don’t worry. You won’t be able to smell the scent from those glands. The smell is all about communicating with other cats. While your cat thinks it’s essential to make you smell like them, you won’t need to hop in the shower after this kind of petting.

Why Do Cats Not Like Their Back Touched

On the other side of the spectrum, there are plenty of cats that don’t like petting on their backs or rear ends. For those of you who might have been worried that your cat didn’t like you in the earlier sections, don’t worry.

The good news is that cats refusing to let their people touch their backs isn’t generally a sign that they don’t like or trust you. Early in your relationship, that might be a part of the reason, but a well-socialized cat with an established relationship with you may just not like that kind of petting.

There are a few reasons that might be. The most common is that they have a lot of sensitive nerve endings along their back and particularly near their tails. The most sensitive cats petting in those areas might feel a lot like being tickled, and they don’t like it.

However, there are a few circumstances where you might need to be more concerned about your cat, not liking their back touched.

If this behavior is sudden or if your cat seems like they might be in real distress when their back is touched, it’s probably time to take your cat to the vet. Cats can develop spinal disc problems just like people, and sudden pain along their back might be a sign that something is wrong.

The other common source of pain, along with your cat’s back, is kidney problems. If your cat’s kidneys are starting to struggle (a relatively common problem), they might start avoiding petting along their back.

In most cases, both situations can be managed and treated, depending on how severe your cat’s condition is. Your best bet is to get your cat to the vet regularly and to schedule additional appointments at the first sign of trouble.

How Do Cats Like To Be Petted

If you have a cat that doesn’t like their back petted, you might be wondering how to pay attention to your feline friend.

Unfortunately, there is no one sure trick that all cats love. It would help if you tried lots of petting styles until you find one that your cat seems to enjoy. Purring and rubbing against you are some of the most apparent signs of petting enjoyment.

Most cats appreciate petting around their ears and cheeks. Those areas also have scent glands, so it’s a sign of trust and affection when your cat enjoys pets in those areas. Some cats also enjoy gentle rubbing on their chest, though that is a little less common.

A rare few cats will enjoy petting on their stomach. Fair warning, though, even cats that enjoy petting on their stomachs will often have a low tolerance for it and may decide that they are done rather abruptly. Be sure to train your cats not to bite or scratch before trying to pet their stomachs.

Even if your cat doesn’t seem to like petting along their back and near their back hips, that doesn’t mean you can’t pet them there. You can try gentler petting, or light scratching to see if they respond differently to a different style of petting.

Cats that seem bored when you pet their backs, but don’t seem to mind it, go ahead and try petting them with their fur and against it. The extra stimulation from petting both directions might be enough to get your cat to melt into the attention.

We’ve owned more than a few cats that preferred this style of petting to any other!

How to Tell If A Cat Likes You

Some cats don’t enjoy being petted. That’s perfectly fine for them, but it may leave you wondering if you have a close bond with your cat.

Fortunately, there are some other behaviors your cat may use to show their affection:

1. Your cat follows you from room to room
2. Your cat likes to curl up next to you on the couch
3. Your cat sleeps on the bed with you if you let them in the bedroom
4. Your cat responds to their name, even if only by looking up
5. Your cat shows interest when you’re doing your chores, and especially when you’re doing something new.

All of these are signs that your cat loves you and wants to spend time in your company, even if they are a little more independent than other cats.

This isn’t a complete list by any means. Every cat is different, and every relationship with a cat is different.

Your cat probably has its way of displaying affection, even if you can’t see it yet.