Does my cat even LIKE me???
“A cat has absolute emotional honesty: human beings, for one reason or another, may hide their feelings, but a cat does not.”
― Ernest Hemingway
Catnip Inn houses over TWENTY house kitties. So we're no strangers to seeing how kitties behave. Some are very used to attention, when others only want it at short intervals. Usually, cats are stereotyped as anti-social, but in my years at working at Catnip Inn I've learned that cats have their very own special way of showing you how much they appreciate and care about you.
Now, some of you may wonder: hmm...how do I know that MY cat loves me? Well, I'm pretty sure you've GOOGLED it once or twice...and to come up with a better answer than "you just know", I did a little bit of Googling myself!
Before we get into what I found "down the rabbit hole that is Google", I'd like to share my experiences with affection as a Momma to SEVEN cats. Yeah, that's right. I have seven kitties. So, I'll start off with how they are towards me.
My first kitty, his name is John McClane. Yes, I am a Die Hard fan. Lol. I call him MAC for short. Anyway! Mac, my first kitty, is a Momma's boy. When I took him home, he was a bit weary about his new surroundings, as with most pets. He sniffed EVERYWHERE. And you gotta let them do that so they know that they're "home". Finally, he settled on my bed. I'm pretty sure it's because I have really soft blankets. Well, it didn't take long for him to make my bed his spot - which I was okay with since I lived alone at the time anyway.
Then, I noticed that he'd always want to snuggle on me. No matter if I was sitting on my desk trying to type on my computer or laptop, or if I'm trying to paint, play video games, read, or even while I'm in the kitchen. He always had to be near me. Now, from my view on cats (because I've never owned one until then), they were a "when I want attention I'll get it from you, but only for a little while then I'm off to do whatever on my own". THAT was my mentality about kitties as well until then. So, when Mac kept wanting to be around me and wanting to play with me, I took it as a sign that "hey! My little guy may just love me after all!" He's a snuggle bug, he'd cuddle up under my chin and sleep there.
Other times, he'd purr at me, make biscuits on me (aka knead), he'd come every single time I'd call him, he'd give me head bumps, he'd lick my face (which was kind of a surprise when I felt the coarseness of his tongue), he would lay on his back and wait until I give him belly rubs, and he'd even call out to me when I'm not paying attention.
The way he would meow at me, it almost sounded like he was saying "ma-ma". I thought it was just my mind playing tricks on me, until my girlfriend met him and heard him meow "ma-ma" for the first time. She was very shocked, to say the least. She had asked me, "did your cat just call you mama?" Lol. It was fun, and he kept doing it until I picked him up. Then, he would just fall asleep as I was holding him.
After a few months, I figured that he needed a companion for when I wasn't home. Then, one day I was buying him some cat food (and let me tell you, he does NOT like cheap food), this couple came up to me and had asked about my cat. I guess from how I sounded, they finally got out what they wanted to talk about in the first place. They were going to be moving out of state and wouldn't be able to take their cat with them and had asked if I was looking to adopt another. Fate is funny that way. I said YES and met up with them a few hours later.
Thus, Sansa Stark entered our lives. Yes, I also love GoT.
She was very shy at first. But neither her or Mac hissed at each other. Mac was very friendly about his space. He'd try his best to get to know her, but all she wanted was to snuggle onto me. At this point, I was thinking that ALL cats just likes to snuggle. Lol.
It only took her about a week to get comfortable in my apartment. I came home one day to them running around the whole place, playing what looked like tag. Then, I had TWO kitties who were snuggling up to me ever night. Sansa would stake her claim at me when I'd get home, and she wouldn't move until I had to really get up.
It was just about six months later when I started working at Catnip Inn. I absolutely loved it because I got to play with the kitties after doing my duties. I'd spend break times and lunch just chillin' with the kitties and it was like heaven.
I got to know a lot of them, but two stood out. There was a kitty named Ray who kept wanting to perch up on my shoulder. Weird, I know. He was like a dang parrot.
He'd perch himself on my shoulders whenever I came back during the evenings to give insulin shots to our old diabetic kitties or any of the boarders who needed meds. This is how HE showed ME love. Then, I find out that he and his brother Evan were abused before they were eventually abandoned at Catnip Inn. They wouldn't let anyone get close to them, but for some reason, they chose ME and that's when I knew I HAD to take them home with me.
Then, there was FOUR. Two more cuddle bugs to add to the crew. Raymond Stantz and Evan Baxter - kudos to you if you know where I got those names without Googling. Hahaha!
Cuddling, purring, kneading, bumping their heads on me, grooming, playing with me, and following with me were some of the ways these four showed me affection.
Then life went on with my four musketeers (yes, there's FOUR, fight me because I know all four names - Athos, Porthos, Aramis, and D'Artagnan).
To make a very long story short, my girlfriend spotted a kitty on the side of the road near the freeway one day when we were coming home from dinner thus adding a FIFTH to our Pride. Her name is Cataleya, and she's the most clingy of the five. I'm not sure she knows she's a cat, because she likes to play fetch and comes when I whistle. She's a little weirdo, but she loves me.
Finally, I added two more to the bunch when I left Houston. I had to take Ladybug and Snowbell (now named Billy Bob because he reminds me of the guy from the Varsity Blues movie). Thus the birth of The Ridiculous 7.
Oh, did I forget to mention? They love me enough to sit still whenever I want to dress them up.
And they ALL love cuddles.
SO! Here's what I learned from Google:
Purring: When cats are deeply relaxed and content they tend to purr to self soothe. But when a cat rubs against you and purrs it is synonymous with saying “I love you.”
Slow Blinks: When cats close their eyes in the presence of another animal or human it is a sign of trust, which is a fundamental aspect of love. Anything can happen when your cat’s eyes are closed, so when they close their eyes and let you pet them at the same time, it shows their complete and utter trust. Humans do something like that too, where they soften their facial muscles around the ones that they care about. Cats will often slow blink back at you if you slow blink at them, too!
Showing the Belly: A cat showing their belly indicates that they are relaxed and comfortable. If your cat invites you to rub their belly, it is a pure sign of care and affection. That being said, if you know your cat doesn’t like having their belly rubbed, then just appreciate their complete comfort from afar and understand their relaxed state as a form of love.
Grooming: If a cat tries to groom you by licking your face or eyebrows, take this as a true sign of feline affection. Cats groom their loved ones, so if your cat is an affectionate licker it’s a sign that they love you and care for you.
Head Bumps and Cheek Rubs: Scent is very important to cats. By giving head bumps and cheek rubs, they are communicating with pheromones from scent glands on their head, which is called “Bunting.” It mainly communicates that you are safe to be around.
Love Bites: These can leave a mark and may hurt, but it is an obvious sign of love from a cat. If a cat bites you it’s a sign that that are being playful but also that they are comfortable with you. Any sign of your cat being comfortable while being playful is a true testament to their affection for their pet parent.
Bringing you gifts: A cat sharing “gifts” or items they have found and compiling them near you is also a sign of trust. While we may not want the bird or mouse our cat has found, their natural hunting instincts allow this act to be interpreted as providing you with a “present” and as a sign of their love.
Hanging out: Perhaps the simplest way that your cat shows love and affection is mere companionship. A cat spending time in the same room with you is also a way that they tell you, “I love you.”
Vocalization: Vocalization with cats is really neat. Adult cats don’t really meow to communicate with each other, they do that specifically for us, I imagine because from a cat’s perspective, we walk around yelling or speaking really loud all the time. If you talk to cats frequently, when they are around talking people, they also talk. Cats will also use friendly cat sounds, like chirps and trills, when trying to communicate affection with people that they like.
Kneading: A lot of cats participate in kneading . Some cats experts hypothesize that adult cats associate kneading with the comfort observed in kittens nursing to stimulate their mother’s milk. So when a cat kneads there is reason to believe they feel very connected.
Well, I hope you learned something today!
As always, be kind to each other, be kind to animals, love your pets.