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Video: Vancouver veterinarian explains how to rub a cat's belly without getting your hand scratched off

How do you get to the fluffiest part of a cat's belly without getting a swift bite? This local vet has some pro tips.
Dr. Uri Burstyn, a vet based in Vancouver, shows the proper way to rub a cat's belly.

How do you get to the fluffiest part of a cat's belly without getting a swift bite?

Vancouver veterinarian Dr. Uri Burstyn has all the techniques. On his YouTube channel "Helpful Vancouver Vet" he's posted a video explaining exactly how you can give your feline friend a tummy rub.

"Of course, rubbing a cat's belly is absolutely the top tier goal of probably everyone who shares their life with a feline," he says in the video. "And often this is a goal that's not achievable or achieved at great peril."

To dodge all the blood loss associated with overly gregarious belly pets, he offers some professional advice.

He suggests starting slowly in a different area, like the flanks, and watching how the cat reacts.

"When a cat starts taking interest in what's happening, such as noticing your hand, it's often good to let them sniff it, lick it or even gnaw on it a little bit," he says. "If your cat just gives you little love bites those are warning shots. If your skin's not broken your cat didn't really bite you."

He notes that if cats ignore you, you can continue to get closer to the belly.

"What you're really looking for is a lack of attention," he explains.

From there, moving to the front of the underside of the cat, the cranial, can happen and, then, if all is going well you can move to the belly.

In the video, Burstyn successfully pets his cat Pirate's belly; Pirate is so calm he falls asleep for a moment in Burstyn's arms.

He also goes into what happens with aggressive cats and how not to get scratched if they start attacking your hand.

"Just so you know, most of the time when people get scratched, it's not the cat scratching the human, it's the human scratching themselves on the cat's claws," he explains.

Burstyn is a veterinarian with the Arbutus West Animal Clinic and runs the Helpful Vancouver Vet channel with around 434,000 subscribers worldwide.