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Why Do Cats Like Being Slapped on the Bottom? 7 Likely reasons

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By Nicole Cosgrove

Cat being pet on the back bottom

Anyone lucky enough to own more than one cat will know how widely their personalities and preferences vary. While some enjoy being cuddled up in a ball in the nook of their owner’s arm, others will flee at any sign of attempted cuddles. One phenomenon some cat owners may have experienced is the purrs of approval after a little slap on the bottom.

While it is typically the minority of cats that enjoy rear-end petting, there are fascinating reasons for this butt-raising behavior. From their love of attention to feelings of pleasure, we’ll look at all the likely reasons to help you understand your cat’s behavior and feel better about your cat enjoying a slap on the bottom.

The 7 Likely Reasons Why Cats Like Bottom Slapping

While it can seem somewhat strange, some cats raise their rear end and meow after being petted on the bottom. Some enjoy light spanking on the bottom or base of the tail, while others don’t, and all cats won’t appreciate touching sensitive areas of their bodies, such as their bellies and faces.

The slapping is usually more of a continuous petting rather than one firm slap like a child receiving a punishment, and it is done around the tail or hind legs. There are a few good reasons why your cat may enjoy this behavior, so let’s have a look:

1. It Feels Good

The slapping action may feel good for your cat. Cats have acupressure points just like humans do. They can be found all over the body, but there is an extensive collection of nerve endings around the rump area.

Light slapping helps activate these pressure points, and it’s no wonder some cats enjoy this sensory interaction! If they enjoy it, petting your cat on the bottom may seem like a kitty pamper session.


2. They Enjoy the Attention

We know some cats can be aloof, but typically, all cats enjoy attention in various ways. Some enjoy physical touch, while some enjoy a short play session. While the physical feeling of being slapped on the bottom is enjoyable, if your cat enjoys this behavior, it could be because they love the attention that comes with it.

Whether or not we’re aware of it, our cats pick up on our behavior. Your cat will want you to slap their bottom more often if you do it once or twice as a sign of affection.


3. Sexual Satisfaction

Some people believe that a cat’s enjoyment of being slapped on the bottom could have a sexual component. Generally speaking, female cats seem more likely to enjoy getting their bottoms slapped. Unspayed female cats come into heat every few months. If they are not permitted to mate, cats in heat can become very irate and experience pain.

The cat will then seek out any opportunity to express its irritation. To satisfy their impulses, you might see them licking at their privates or rubbing against things. Cats in heat sometimes love being slapped on the bottom as a release, so they probably take particular pleasure in it.

However, a cat doesn’t need to be in heat for this experience to be enjoyable. Intact male cats might also enjoy butt-petting.

young woman petting purebred straight-eared long hair kitty on her lap
Image Credit: evrymmnt, Shutterstock

4. It Can Be Considered a Form of Play

While cats are typically known for sleeping and eating, the truth is that they love to play, too! You may play with your cat using interactive toys that they can chase and catch and satisfy their prey instincts, but some cats also enjoy a little “rough play” with their humans, which may include chasing their hands and clawing and biting at them.

Some gentle bottom slapping can also be seen as a form of play that your cat may love! So if your cat struts past you and you start slapping their bottom, they may get excited at the prospect of playtime with their human.


5. Petting Is Linked to Their Grooming Habits

Although we can’t describe a cat’s exact sensations when being petted, most people believe that they are similar to what they experience when they are grooming themselves. When grooming, cats lick their paws and other areas of the body, distributing saliva on their fur to remove food residue or debris before licking it off again.

Some cats really get into it when they are grooming! They also display incredible acrobatic skills, particularly when they are attempting to reach their behind. When you slap your kitty’s bottom, they may enjoy the sensation that feels similar to grooming and come back for more.

a hand scratching the cat's butt
Photo Credit: Christin Hume, Unsplash

6. Reinforcement of Social Bonding

Cats enjoy their humans and being close to them, even though it may not seem that way at times. Your cat may sense your acceptance of them and your happiness to be in their company if you pat them on the bottom, so another reason why cats may like having their bottoms slapped is that it strengthens and reinforces their social bonds.


7. Release of Tension or Aggression

Your cat may be able to release stress, anxiety, or aggression by being patted on the bum. It gives them a way to express their emotions.

Cats can be easily stressed, and physical touch can help calm them relax, so if you notice your cat enjoys the petting after they have experienced a stressful situation such as a visit to the vet or being left alone for too long, stress release could be the reason they enjoy being slapped on the bottom.

Is It Dangerous to Slap Your Cat’s Bottom?

Petting your cat too hard can harm them, especially if it is an area that is sensitive. However, they will show their disapproval very quickly. So even if you gently slap your cat’s bottom and they run away or try to swat you back, it is a clear sign that they don’t approve.

Your relationship with your cat will likely suffer if you try to pet them in areas they don’t like since you’ll make them feel unsafe. However, if they seem to like having their bottom gently slapped, there’s nothing wrong with repeating the action.

Conclusion

Cats are unique creatures with strange preferences and behaviors, and not all cats enjoy being slapped or tapped on the bottom. But for various reasons, some cats may respond favorably to mild tapping or patting on their rear end.

Paying attention to your cat’s preferences and always treating them with kindness and respect is important. If your cat seems uncomfortable or tries to move away, it’s best to respect their boundaries.


Featured Photo credit: karinkamon_Shutterstock

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