When reaching out to pet a cat, approach with fingers tucked under and fist together. Open hands with spread fingers can look a bit too much like unsheathed claws to some cats, and they could perceive your gentle petting desires to be a sign of aggression and lash out. Ouch. Move slowly — so you're not a moving target — and show the cat your hand first to sniff your scent before reaching in for a rub.
If you've had this problem, or other issues with animals, big and small, share your questions and concerns with our Pet Peeves group — I'm only here to help!
Source: Flickr User FriaLOve