Cat-egorical Affection

Birta og Rjómi

“The kid followed me home…can I keep her?” Image Copr. Maria Magnus/Flickr

This is a topic I’m covering in the future release of my updated PURINA ENCYCLOPEDIA OF CAT CARE. I’d LOVE to have your discussion/opinions for possible inclusion so fire away in the comments!

How do your cats show affection? When Seren was younger, she’d run into the living room and meow-meow-meow until we finally paid attention. It was her “Timmy’s down the well!” cry, so we’d follow her.

Without exception, she’d race away, pausing every now and then to be sure someone followed, and lead us into the laundry room. There, she’d leap onto the washer and head over to her food bowl on the countertop–

Which was full.

She wasn’t hungry. She just wanted us to watch her eat. Seren demanded that we observe and comment on her cuisine, after which she’d meow-meow-meow her appreciation and head-butt (and wipe her face!) on our sleeves.

I”m preaching to the choir here, I know. But anyone who has spent time with a special feline understand that cats have an undeserved reputation as aloof, solitary creatures. I believe that’s because people who have never been around them–or that are more attuned to dog behavior–simply don’t recognized feline signs of affection. Cats communicate their moods, emotions, and desires in a variety of signs that can be quite subtle. And affection is, after all, a two way street. The cat who is offered little interaction will return that indifference, while the beloved feline showered with attention blossoms into a loving pet. Cats are also individuals, with a wide range of personalities.

Cats show affection to other cats–and even dogs or other pets–by sleeping together and grooming each other. They indulge in subtle body contact, like bumping hips as they pass in the room or twining tails together. Affectionate cats share food, and enjoy playing together.

They show affection to humans in many of the same ways. They want to sleep on the pillow next to your face, they groom your hair. Often, cats will solicit owners to play, or watch them eat (like Seren!). Affectionate cats twine around ankles, offer head bumps, purrs and trills, and knead with their paws to express contentment. They’ll even follow you into the bathroom and nestle in your unmentionables. Ahem.

What are some unique ways your cats demand your attention, and/or reciprocate? How do you explain some of kitty’s foibles to family and friends who may be less appreciative of their antics?

CompetCatBy the way, more “felinese” cat language is discussed in ComPETability-Cat . . . and to help out with the pending kitten season and onslaught of new fur kids, I’ve reduced the Kindle price today and tomorrow to $2.99. You can also enter the GoodReads giveaway for a chance to win a paw-tographed free print version.

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5 thoughts on “Cat-egorical Affection

  1. Poppy meows, head-butts and follows me everywhere. She miraculously appears every time Jasper goes outside-“Yay, you kicked him out. Oh no, he’s back.” She want’s our attention, even more since Punky is gone.

  2. Lady Butterfly is probably the most demonstrative of all my cats. Early on she began rolling around on laps refusing to be ignored waving her tail in people’s faces and licking profusely. In the last year her licking has become less determined but she still rolls around and her tail, no matter how short it may be, still demands attention by waving in faces or by knocking things off.

      • You’re so right. Rainbow was the first cat I ever knew to wave her tail. She’d do so and lower her head as she approached to signal that she wanted attention. And she always seemed to have a smile on her face when she did that. I sure miss that.

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