People and cats are very similar in some things and sometimes it is just tempting to perceive the behavior of our room tigers as too human. This suggests that cats are as ticklish as humans. In any case, cats react to tickling stimuli just as individually as people.
Two types of tickling: Knismesis and Gargalesis
Knismesis is a gentle, sometimes slightly irritating tickle stimulus, such as that caused by the touch of a feather or a single hair on the bare upper arm. This form of tickling sensation can be observed in many animal species, including humans and cats.
Gargalesis, on the other hand, is the intensive, sometimes even painful stimulation of individual body regions, which is discharged in uncontrolled laughing attacks. Researchers have different theories about the origin and function of this response, all of which ultimately relate to social behavior. So far, however, this behavior has only been observed in humans, primates and rats.
That said, even if you assume that your cat is ticklish, she will never giggle wildly or understand tickling as a loving gesture. It is much more likely that your animal is just annoyed.
On the trail of the cat's sense of touch on velvet paws
Without their special sense of touch, cats could not move so elegantly. With the help of their whiskers ...
Why are cat paws so sensitive?
The soles of the feet are particularly sensitive not only in cats, but basically in all running beings. It continuously absorbs important stimuli from the environment: heat, cold, soil conditions, pain. These sensations are essential for survival. Therefore, similar to the stimuli that are perceived via the lips and the tongue, they take up more space in the brain than the stimuli that convey other sensory organs. So the brain is designed to pay special attention to the stimuli and information sent by these sensitive parts of the body.
What happens when you tickle your cat?
The reaction of the Stubentiger ranges from indifference or withdrawal to aggression - basically just like in humans. The cat is most likely to associate the irritating feeling with a stimulus such as an insect bite or a pointed object on the floor. Both mean "danger" and trigger a defense reflex. Some salon lions still allow their humans to touch their soft velvet paws. This may be due to the type of stimulus.
A gentle massage pressure, for example, is more accepted than a typical human tickle with the fingertip. Last but not least, it is a question of individual character and the current mood. If your cat generally does not like touching the feet, you should spare this form of attention. It may look cute when your feet twitch, but it does mean stress for your furry companions.