Why so many animals enjoy being petted?


Recently I’ve noticed that a lot of complex organims without exoskeleton share this characteristic.

I was wondering why getting petted feels good and why a lot of animals like it

In: Biology

I think petting works as a form of cleaning and shedding old fur, making it easier for the animal so they don’t need to work as hard to do it themselves. It also can simulate a mother cleaning its child which can be comforting to an animal.

Probably just mammals; I’ve owned fish and iguanas and they’ve never wanted to be pet. In mammals, physical, non-violent contact releases oxytocin in large amounts. It’s basically a drug to let us know we’re all right. I bet if you didn’t have tv, Reddit, a gf or other hobbies, getting a little affection would mean a lot. As it stands, our animal slaves get treated like animal slaves rather than non-human persons, so we are mystified by them getting excited by simple things (seeing another dog, not being left to starve, etc).

I am human and like getting petted. Why should other mammals think differently?