It’s nothing unusual for devoted cat parents to wonder about their fluff’s weird behavior. I know I regularly ask myself things like why cats rub their teeth on their owners, cross their paws, stare at the ceiling, or sniff their owner’s eyes. And today, I’m curious: why do cats like being slapped?
It’s weird to say it. I’m sure you cannot help but think about face slaps right now, right? But actually, I am referring to the slapping that happens on the back or bump area. And believe it or not, our feline buddies actually love that!
You’ve probably stumbled upon several videos of owners slapping their fluff’s back or butt. And even though that looks violent and painful, it really isn’t. For God knows what reason, cats truly enjoy being slapped – as long as it’s not overly vigorous and done on their terms, of course.
So, let’s find out the cause of this weird obsession.
Why do cats like being slapped?
1. Slapping their bump releases “happy hormones”
Many cat experts claim that felines have multiple nerve endings located around the base of their tails. Slapping or patting this area stimulates those nerves and sends a signal to their brains to release endorphins, dopamine, serotonin, and oxytocin.
These happy hormones are responsible for promoting happiness and pleasure in felines, and they ensure they feel content and satisfied while interacting with their owners (or essentially anyone who performs the patting).
2. They are in heat
Another reason why cats like being slapped is related to their reproductive urges. If a female cat isn’t spayed, she will be in heat, which is a term referring to a period when the cat is ready to mate.
The heat takes place two to four times per mating season, with the peak happening during February and October. During this period, female cats get very irritated and agitated. The period itself is not exactly painful, but it’s not comfortable either.
A cat in heat will rub her bottom against various objects, meow excessively, and lick her private parts to make herself more comfortable.
Slapping a feline around her tailbone area can provide her with the satisfaction she craves and help her deal with the discomfort the heat is putting her through.
Male cats can also gain some type of satisfaction from this action during the mating period. However, they can get quite aggressive, so it’s best to slap them with caution or avoid doing it altogether.
3. Slapping reminds them of their mother
Kittens learn about life and how to cat from their mothers. They feed them, groom them, teach them how to walk, groom themselves, and even correct them when they make mistakes.
If you ever saw a mother cat with her babies, you know that her methods aren’t always gentle. She can be pretty rough with them at times, and even bite and kick them to assert dominance and exercise harsh discipline.
Therefore, cats might enjoy being slapped on their backs because that activity reminds them of their mother and is immensely reminiscent of their kittenhood.
They enjoy it because it helps them build a stronger connection with their owner – like they are kittens again, and their owner is their mother. Honestly, how adorable is that?
4. They have an itchy spot they cannot reach
Cats have a highly meticulous grooming process, which, aside from licking their fur, also includes biting it. They do this when they need to remove some dead skin, old matted hair, or even certain parasites. However, no matter how big or small they are, there are certain body parts that are out of their reach.
Sometimes, when cat parents give a light tap on their fluff’s back, their cat instantly raises her lower back. That’s a universal sign she’s enjoying the slap. Her enjoyment can stem from the fact that she has an itchy spot or a scratch on her skin she simply cannot reach on her own.
In this case, a light slap can also be followed by scratching of the area which can help the poor feline to relieve the itch.
However, if you notice your kitty constantly raises her lower back for you to scratch it, make sure you examine that area. Or even better, take her to the vet and let him do it for you. Dry and flaky skin can be a serious problem and something you should definitely learn how to treat.
5. They LOVE the attention they are getting
Why do cats like being slapped? Well, it’s because they love the attention they’re getting!
Of course, every feline is different in her own unique way. Some love to be showered with attention, others not so much. But every devoted cat parent will have no problem determining whether his furbaby enjoys being slapped or not.
Slapping your feline’s back or bottom can be a great bonding moment. As long as it’s not too harsh (and too annoying) and followed by other, more affectionate cuddling methods, your kitty will love it. And she’ll make sure she showers you with her love in return.
6. Slapping feels like a relaxing massage
Just like humans, our feline friends also have acupressure points which are located throughout their little furry bodies.
As mentioned at the beginning, multiple nerve endings are located around the base of their tails, so it’s only natural to assume that that’s the area with the majority of acupressure points. Light slaps activate those points which feels extremely good and relaxing for most kitties.
That experience is similar to when you go and get a massage. You love it and your kitty loves it, too!
7. Slapping their bum is perceived as a form of a game
We all know how playful cats can be. Most of them are fairly active and they enjoy playing various games. So, the reason why they love being slapped is that they see that action as their owner’s invitation to play.
If you tap your kitty’s back, and she instantly engages in playful behavior, make sure you don’t turn your back on her. Spending some quality time playing with her can help you bond with your little fluff, and help her spend the energy she has stored in her body.
8. Slapping reminds them of their favorite pastime activity – grooming!
Finally, the reason why cats like being slapped is that it reminds them of their favorite pastime activity – and that is grooming!
Grooming for cats is a way to ensure they are always clean and look put together. But apart from that, it’s also a great way to relieve themselves from stress, self-soothe, and minimize anxiety. In general, grooming feels good, and slapping the tailbone area reminds them of how much they love it!
Is it okay to slap your cat if she likes it?
One thing is certain: when a cat does not like something, she does not shy away from letting you know it. So, if she doesn’t enjoy being slapped, and if the action is more aggressive than it should be, she then perceives it as an attack or as your attempt to hurt her.
In that case, she fights back! Hissing, scratching, and biting are all normal reactions of an angry kitty who is trying to let you know that she does not appreciate the way you’re treating her.
In this case, you should definitely stop the slapping and carefully move away from her if you don’t want to damage the bond between you two.
There’s no point in forcing something onto your fluff, no matter how much she enjoyed it yesterday or a couple of hours ago. If she dislikes it at the moment – respect that and move on.
However, if a kitty likes being slapped – which you will know for sure based on her obvious signs of enjoyment – then by all means continue doing it.
I personally know exactly when my fluffs love being slapped. All three of them adjust their backs as if to help me in some way, they close their eyes and start purring. It is probably the most adorable sight one can imagine!
After I’m done with that (I slap their backs for not more than 2 to 3 minutes, mind you), all four of us lay on the couch, snuggle next to each other, and proceed with our standard cuddling session.
Therefore, if you believe your kitty enjoys being slapped on the back, continue doing so. Just make sure it is never overly vigorous or rough and done in moderation.
Main takeaways about slapping your cat
Since we’ve come to the end of this article, let’s remind ourselves of everything we’ve learned.
- Sometimes felines like being slapped, sometimes they don’t.
- It’s important to respect their wishes and never force them into anything.
- Slapping is good for them because it releases their happy hormones and improves their mood.
- It feels relaxing to them, like a massage.
- It helps them minimize the discomfort when they’re in the heat.
- It is reminiscent of their mothers and kittenhood.
- By slapping our fluffs, we’re helping them with the itchy spot they can’t reach.
- Slapping is a great way to shower them with attention and strengthen the bond with our cats.
- Slapping reminds them of grooming and encourages playtime.