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VetTechErin, Licensed Vet Tech
Category: Cat
Satisfied Customers: 681
Experience:  Published author in veterinary medical journals and on the Veterinary Information Network with a focus in toxicology
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My kitten (4 months old) is always purring when near me. He

Customer Question

My kitten (4 months old) is always purring when near me. He sleeps on top of me (sometimes at my feet and others on my chest or head), comes running when he hears me come home, follows me through every room, and is a very inquisitive, seemingly, always happy cat, but he moves away the moment anyone pets him. He'll sleep in my lap all long as I don't pet him. The moment I do, he gets up and sleeps somewhere else. He often rubs his face on mine if I'm laying down and even enjoys perching on my shoulder when I'm in my recliner. Whenever anyone reaches for him, he does not run, but rather sits there and begins purring but almost immediately squirms to get down if picked up or runs off if left on the floor.
We do have another cat (female/three years old) who has taken him under her wing and they play together often but do not groom one another.
Is this simply a case of a cat who just doesn't like being pet? Is there more to this? How can I get him to enjoy being loved? :)
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Cat
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Also, I got him at 8 weeks old. He never once seemed fearful or hid from anyone or anything. Aside from the car. He was not a fan of the car ride home. Beyond that, he's simply always been my cat...or I'm his human...whichever way you want to look at it.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
My mistake. He was 6 weeks when I got him. Sorry
Expert:  VetTechErin replied 2 years ago.
Hi there!
My name is ***** ***** I would be happy to help you with your question about your kitty.
Cats are extremely sensitive creatures. All of their senses are heightened including touch. What this can lead to is overstimulation.
Some kitties tend to be particularly sensitive around their spines, so that when they are stroked or pet it serves to be more agitating than it is soothing. This will lead them to be averse to being touched along their backs. In some cases, this will lead a cat to randomly bite their human when they are in the midst of enjoying a good stroke.
This sensitivity leading to overstimulation is something that is inherent to all cats, but does not necessarily show up in the same ways in all felines. The trick is in finding where it is that he does like to be touched. He's already displaying signs that he enjoys your company and showing you kitty affection like bumping faces with you and sitting on your lap while he purrs.
These are all wonderful signs of trust. The hand may be just a bit too much for him on top of all that closeness and socializing. He's communicating his completion of socializing by leaving the area when he's had his fill.
Instead of stroking him, try gentle tickles in the areas where he seems to enjoy it the most. Cats typically like to be scratched under the chin and around the jawline where they scent-mark. This will give him affection without touching him in the areas where he seems like he may be the most sensitive.
Some cats will grow and change and become more permissive to petting if they happen to be sensitive to it, and as he ages and matures, he may allow you to pet him more completely. He may just never be a big fan of the full-body strokes.
In very rare cases, a cat will have such an extreme sensitivity to touch that it can become painful or irritating. Irritation at petting and skin shifting while being touched CAN be an indication of something called feline hyperesthesia syndrome. It is something that is relatively rare in cats, but it can develop into self-mutilating, abnormal behavior changes, agitation, and can sometime be brought on by touching their backs.
If at any point he starts to show signs of behavior changes, twitching, furious licking or biting at himself, then he will need to go into a vet to be checked and treated. This is usually managed with medication and mild behavior modifications.
If you have any further questions or concerns, please hit "reply" to get back with me. Otherwise I hope you are able to find your new boy's sweet spot!
Expert:  VetTechErin replied 2 years ago.

I'm just following up on our conversation about your pet. How is everything going?