are cats ticklish on their feet

“Ticklish areas include chin, cheeks, belly, and paws,” says Dr. Dimock. But other areas may seem like they are ticklish but have a medical explanation. If you pet a cat along its back in a certain spot, you may see its skin twitch.

The Science of Tickling

Though it’s likely that you have been tickled, or even that you have been the target of tickling attacks, it can be difficult to define exactly what tickling is.

Did you know there are actually two scientifically defined forms of tickling?[1]

The first type of tickle is called gargalesis. This is the common sensitivity where you laugh uncontrollably when something tickles a sensitive area. The sensation is unique and fairly hard to describe. It makes sense that many people dislike it because this kind of tickling activates both pain and pleasure receptors. This clarifies the slightly uneasy sensation that accompanies laughing when one is tickled.

The other kind of tickling sensation is called knismesis. This explains the amusing sensation that is felt when a very light touch is applied to the skin. You might feel the urge to scratch or itch suddenly when you have knismesis, but it usually doesn’t make you laugh. In fact, it can be more of an annoyance.

With a gentle brush across your skin, you can perform knismesis on yourself; however, gargalesis requires another person to tickle you.

are cats ticklish on their feet

In mammals, including both cats and dogs, the knismesis scratch-type reaction to a light, ticklish touch is well-documented. In fact, this response actually serves a useful purpose. It can notify animals about the existence of parasites or insects, causing them to scratch or rub the affected area, thus eliminating the issue.

The “classic” ticklishness of gargalesis that produces an involuntary laughter response in humans is more difficult to find examples of in other mammals. Research suggests that some primate species, such as chimpanzees,[1] do tickle each other during rough-and-tumble play. However, the phenomenon is not well documented in other species.

It’s not believed that cats can feel tickles in the same way that humans do. Cats do not exhibit this kind of behavior, and they are not as capable of laughing as humans are.

Why do cats spread their toes when you tickle them?

Cats’ feet are covered in numerous nerve receptors that are intended to detect touch, pressure, and temperature. When touched, most cats pull their feet away, but some react well. When they feel something ticklish, their toes might spread to a sensitive spot.

How does a cat laugh?

Cats don’t laugh like humans do. Other ways they express happiness, love, and affection include purring, rubbing their head against you, and slowly blinking their eyes. View Sources Cats. com bases the assertions made in our articles on reliable, high-caliber sources, such as peer-reviewed research. This content is regularly reviewed and updated for accuracy. Visit our.

  • Harris, C. R. (2012). Tickling. University of California, San Diego.

FAQ

Do cats like their feet tickled?

It really depends on the cat. Some might be okay with it, others will likely smack you silly if you dare touch their paws. It’s more or less a trust thing. I’ve got four cats and they all respond differently to having their paws touched.

Do cats feel ticklish?

“Cats can be ticklish but, since they don’t laugh, they show it in different ways,” says Angelica Dimock, DVM, managing shelter veterinarian at Animal Humane Society.

Why do cats not like being tickled?

Since cats don’t experience the feel-good type of tickling (gargalesis), your touch may feel like a warning and they may try to shake you off like they would an insect, Quandt says.

Are cat toe beans ticklish?

Rucinsky adds that tickling around the toe beans or in the armpits isn’t really a thing for cats, but she’s known some who like their bellies rubbed.