What kind of monster are you, that your cat doesn’t adore you?
Almost any time I mistakenly talk about my close relationship with my cats, somebody says some version of “I like cats, but they are so aloof.”
“My cats are not aloof,” I used to naively reply, thinking about how I barely got five hours sleep last night because they were head butting and aggressively snuggling with me and occasionally standing on my hip.
It turns out that people who think cats are aloof are often just bad people. So, now when someone says “cats are aloof,” I back slowly out of the room, walking backwards.
So, if you think cats are aloof, here’s a quick list of points to review
Do you kick cats?
Kicking cats is such a common past time that dozens of people have been caught on door cams and mobile phones doing it. Just google “videos of people kicking cats.” There are about ten pages of results. I don’t watch these things. Doing so would defeat the good work of my antidepressants.
I may need to spell this out. If you get mad enough to kick an animal, don’t get a pet. And don’t have children. This is a definite disqualifier for breeding. People who kick animals should have special driver’s licences and probation officers.
Do you respond to your cat’s overtures for affection?
They’re not “creeping up on you.” They’re quiet and hesitant. Cats, unlike dogs, need you to make eye contact with them, then offer to pet them. Petting and eye contact are how you connect with your cat. They don’t connect to us through treats and walks the way dogs do.
Are you petting your cat wrong?
If you seriously can’t figure out how your cat likes to be petted, there are plenty of youtubes and how-to articles out there. You don’t PAT a cat, you massage her, in the direction of her fur, with gentle strokes. Beyond that, every cat is different. Some like to have their tails stroked and some do not, for example.
You have to watch your cat as you are petting to find out what your cat likes.
This is not rocket science. If she swats you, don’t do that again. If she gets up and walks away from you, you’re doing it wrong. If she pushes her head into your hand or gets in your lap, that’s telling you, “more of that.” It’s basically the same approach you should use to make love to a human. If you can’t figure out how to pet a cat, don’t have sex.
The above chart is fairly accurate. Light scratching under the chin, behind the ears, forehead, cheeks is the standard of care. Many cats love having one or more cheeks scratched lightly by a human.
There’s a cluster of nerves at the base of the tail where it connects to the cat’s spine. That can be a pleasure center for many cats. But you must NOT apply too much pressure, or your cat may come to bite and scratch anyone who goes near that area. A little light scratch, see how it goes, not too much.
Never scratch a cat’s belly. Don’t attempt to touch the belly or paws of a cat you have not known for several years. A cat that trusts you will eventually let you touch its front paws, but don’t make it a regular thing. Don’t ever touch the back paws or thighs. You will get hurt.
Did you adopt a kitten or a cat?
If you adopted a kitten and she doesn’t love you, you did it so wrong, I don’t want to deal with you at all. Kittens seek out human laps with special kitten radar. Kittens wish to please. All you have to do is subtly communicate your expectations, and you will have a great cat. This is the time when you teach your cat to sleep in your bed or elsewhere. You teach her to free feed or feed at appointed times. You teach her how to snuggle while you are watching TV. If you pet her, she will love the feel of your hand all your life.
If you adopted an adult cat and she doesn’t warm up to you immediately, it’s mostly about patience. Make eye contact, speak gently, offer affection. Living with a cat is a long game. The relationship does NOT stay the same over the years. If you’re doing it right, your cat trusts you more every year, and becomes more and more loving and affectionate as the two of you develop your togetherness rituals.
Do your cats live outside?
A cat that lives outside is not your cat. You have no idea how that cat lives his life. He might have found love with the third grade teacher half a mile away from your house. And, just so you know, the real cat lovers have already condemned you They nod politely when you say you have “indoor/outdoor” cats, but, inside, they are thinking, “That guy doesn’t give a shit about his cats.”
Because outdoor cats die young. They get killed, mostly by cars, sometimes by dogs. often by infections and injuries that could easily have been avoided if you kept them inside.
Quit saying cats are aloof
If you don’t have a cat, that’s okay. If you don’t want a cat, that’s okay, too. But quit telling cat lovers that cats are aloof. You’re revealing too much about yourself, too soon.
–Lynn Marie Hamilton