Thursday, August 26, 2010
In the Company of Cats
In the company of cats there is warmth -- physical and emotional warmth. There is head-butting, ankle-stropping, lap-sitting, affection-demanding and attention-attracting warmth. Sometimes it arrives exactly when you expect it and sometimes it comes as a surprise visit in a quiet moment. You'll hear the jingle of a tiny bell and then feel a presence at your feet. You reach down and give a little scritch behind the ears and you are rewarded with a happy warble and the twitch of a tail. You take comfort in the warmth of your affectionate companion because you know that you have to earn a cat's love and trust. You can never take a cat's affection for granted, but like many things on this planet, you reap what you sow. Love, care and affection invested in your cat will pay dividends in excess of anything you might imagine.
In the company of cats there is laughter. Whoever said that cats don't like to be laughed at was correct. What you weren't told was that to laugh with a cat is perfectly acceptable. Cats know when they are being funny and they appreciate a responsive audience. Cats can provide countless hours of wholesome family entertainment, and they work for kibbles. All you have to do is encourage the entertainer within your cat and you can disconnect your TV. It is sage advice, though, to never laugh at your cat. When a cat occasionally misses a jump, or falls off a perch, or otherwise makes a mistake, it is best to just pretend to ignore it. (However, do note such behavior and, should such accidents become more frequent, get your cat a check-up, it could be the sign of a health problem.)
In the company of cats there is friendship. When your cat joins you wherever you go in the house, either he is hungry or he likes being with you. If it's not meal-time and your cat still wants to be near you, you can be sure that it's because he likes you, otherwise he'd be elsewhere. Cats are the kind of friends that you don't have to constantly talk to when you are together. Just being in the same space is enough. There's no need for constant physical contract or emotional reassurance, it's a simple matter of being happy in be in each other's space.
I'm grateful to be in the company of cats. I don't like cats more than I like people, I like cats differently. That's really all they ask from us, that we like them for who they are. Sure, cats appreciate regular meals, just like the rest of us, but mostly they want someone to like them, just like the rest of us. What makes the relationship with cats so satisfying is that a cat will almost always return your affection in kind and in abundance, whereas people sometimes will not.