Friday, December 14, 2018

The cats are on the inside. Where's Momma?

EM: Ellie Mae
BC: Bear Cat
MK: Momma Kat

EM: BEAR!
BC: I didn't do it!
EM: Do what?
BC: Whatever you think I did. Err ... unless you're referring to ...
{Pause}
BC: RATS! Nice try. You wanted me to confess. I'm not falling for that again. I'm onto your tricks! After all, my Momma is the trickiest of tricky and I ...
EM: Fall for it all the time?
BC: Oh, shut up! WOMEN! They ...
EM: Hmph. You didn't do it? What DON'T you do? If I were accusing you of something, I wouldn't THINK. I'd know you did it. Duh.
BC: You want to take this outside?
EM: THAT'S WHAT I'M TRYING TO TELL YOU! Momma's standing on the front porch!
BC: But it's cold out there!
EM: I KNOW! She's shivering.
BC: Please tell me she's wearing clothes ... I have to live in this neighborhood and the memory of her and her gaggle of geese is still alive and well.
EM: Momma has geese?
BC: You don't want to know. It was before you came to live here.
EM: Now she's jumping up and down!
BC: Isn't she smart enough to know to come inside?
EM: It even started snowing.
BC: It's finally happened. She's gone nuts. It's The Boy's fault. I knew he was trouble from the very ...
EM: Nuts? Probably thanks to you.
BC: Thank you! That's the nicest thing ...
EM: MOMMA! MOMMA! I'm right here!


BC: What kind of moronic nonsense is this? Tell her to come in! Oh, and tell her to STOP knocking on the window. So help me ...
EM: She keeps waving at me.
BC: Did you wave back?
EM: Do you think that would help?
BC: Screw that. Flailing arms ... crazed look. I got to see this for myself! Sounds like a solid investment opportunity.
EM: Investment?
BC: Admission. No refunds. That'll be ten dollars.
EM: But I saw her first!
BC: You're right.
EM: I am?
BC: Of course! I'll give you a 50% discount on admission. 
EM: But I don't have five dollars for admission!! 
BC: You should've thought about that before you got in the window!
EM: But I'm the only reason you even know about ...
BC: But you have to pay full price for the t-shirt.
EM: What would I need a T-shirt for? My fur's not ugly like yours! And snuggling with Momma keeps me warm.
BC: Yeah. I noticed. LAP HOG. That'll be five dollars!
EM: I'm not paying you to ...
BC: Then get out of the window!
EM: Momma looks REALLY cold!

BC: Then she should REALLY come in!
EM: She keeps waving and signaling ...
{Pause}
EM: I really need a lap! If I don't get a lap in ... in ... a minute, I'll die!
BC: Promise?
EM: Oh, shut up!
BC: What's she doing now?
EM: Look for yourself! Eh. Boring. I'm going to go take a nap.
BC: TELL HER TO STOP KNOCKING ON THE FLIPPING WINDOW and to just come inside!!! Or I'm going to go out there and !*&$ her !*%@# #*@&!
EM: What does #*@&! mean?
BC: I can show you but you can't tell on me.
EM: Err ... no thanks. Momma's still mad at me from your last trick.
BC: I figured you'd know better than drinking from the toilet!
EM: NO! You told me I was a dolphin and I could swim!
BC: Oh. That. Hahahahahahahaha.
EM: I HATE getting wet!
BC: I HATE having a sister! Why's she still knocking on the window?! What's wrong with her?
EM: Let me go check.
BC: There's a tuna in the toilet.
EM: REALLY?!?! I thought all the tunas lived far away in the ocean! Next to sparkle balls, tunas are the best things ever.
BC: Oh, yeah. There's a sparkle ball in the toilet too.
EM: Now wait a minute ... I wasn't born yesterday! I lost all my sparkle balls yesterday so unless one fell from the sky, it can't be in the toilet.
BC: I figured the tuna should have a sparkle ball too.
EM: That's actually really ...
{Loud knocking on the window}
BC: That's IT! I've had it with this nonsense. Come in or stop knocking on the flipping ...
{Pause}
BC: WOW. She does look cold.
EM: There's like a half inch of snow accumulated on her head.
BC: Humans can be so stubborn! JUST COME IN ALREADY! When I told her to get out, I wasn't SERIOUS.

EM: What's she saying?
BC: I don't know. I don't speak dumb@$$! It's kind of hard to focus on what she's saying when she's leaping around like a constipated frog.
EM: Oh, THAT had to hurt.
BC: Probably an improvement to her face.
EM: She fell on her butt!
BC: Details details.
EM: Why is she staring at us? It's like she expects us to do something.
BC: It's not like she's locked out or anything, My Momma wouldn't be stupid enough to lock herself out. 
{Pause}
BC: Errr ... 
{Pause}
BC: On second thought ...
{Pause}
BC: Nope. She's not THAT dumb. That's The Boy's territory. My Momma's smarter. 
EM: My Daddy is smart too! Well, except for that one time ... oh, and other other time ... and ... hmmm.
BC: And I've seen her work that door like a catillion times and I can't imagine she'd forget how to use it.
{Pause}
BC: Wait a ... SHE FORGOT HOW TO USE THE DOOR! Wait ... 
{Pause}
BC: RATS! I could jump on the counter and she could do nothing about it - but she would have to see me do it and the kitchen isn't anywhere near this window! The furniture? I'm stuck in a rut - I'm ready for a blank slate.
{Pause}
BC: Hmmm ... she's locked out ... PAR-TAY!
EM: LOOK! A new boy!

BC: Is that GIGGLING I hear?!?! HAS SHE LOST HER MARBLES ENTIRELY?!?! This is a catastrophe! What? Is she collecting boys now? I hope she doesn't think he can have a cat too! Oh, we're in store for more giggling and nonsense and peeing contests and barfing contests and farting contests ...
EM: Err ... I thought those were YOUR idea?
BC: I KNOW! Place a few bets and I'll have enough money for a tasty whole chicken farm in no time.
EM: Do you EVER shut up?
BC: MAKE ME!
EM: Pleasure! I've had just about enough of your ...
BC: M'ROW!!
EM: Take that! And THAT! And ...
MK: {heard from the other side of the window} I KNOW YOU TWO ARE FIGHTING! KNOCK IT OFF!
BC: Whooooooa.
MK: {heard from the other side of the window} SOMEONE? COME BACK! I know you both are in there! HELLO!
{The front door jiggles}
EM: Uh oh.
BC: {Running one way} AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!
{Bear careens off the couch}
BC: {Running the opposite way} HIT THE DECK!! THEY'RE HERE TO CAT-NAP ME! I'M GOING TO BE ABDUCTED AND MOMMA'S TOO BUSY DANCING OUTSIDE TO SAVE ME! 
EM: I'm not sure ... she's laughing ... besides, if one of us were to be cat-napped they wouldn't be stupid enough to take you!
BC: OBVIOUSLY. I'd teach them a lesson or two.
EM: How to hide under the bed? How to fight inanimate objects? How to run into the wall? How to flip your carrier in the car?
BC: ENOUGH! ENOUGH! I get your point! 
EM: What's Momma doing?
BC: SHE'S TOO BUSY GETTING HER MOOSE ON!
EM: Moose? I thought you said she had geese? Not Meese!
BC: WHATEVER SHE CALLS IT! FLIRTING WITH THE NEW BOY! He doesn't look any smarter than the last. Then again, if he's interested in my Momma how smart can he be?
{Pause}
BC: They'll never catch me alive! {Running one direction} AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!
{Bear stops for a minute}
BC: UGH! {HUFF} {PUFF} ... not what I used to ... {HUFF} {PUFF} ... I just might not ... {HUFF} {PUFF} ... maybe I'm safer ... {HUFF} {PUFF} {HUFF} ... under the bed ... {HUFF} {PUFF}.
EM: WAIT! WAIT! The front door is opening!
BC: This is it then ... why does Momma seem so happy? She's in the cold and I'm about to be raped and pillaged.
EM: Ummm ...
MK: Hi, guys!
BC: It's YOU!
MK: Yeah. Hi, to you too!
EM: I need a lap, Momma! It's an emergency, I swear! I missed you! And you were gone forever! And I can't even count that high!

MK: I locked my keys in here and I had to call a locksmith to let me in again. I was about to ...
{Momma stops when she hears slight snoring ...}
MK: Well, that certainly didn't take long. 
EM: I'm going to experience spontaneous combustion unless you let me have your lap!
MK: Okay, okay. I love you, Ellie Belly.
EM: I love you too, Momma. I'm glad you came inside.
MK: ME TOO!

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Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Do cats need human interaction or are they completely fine on their own?

The issue of whether cats need humans.

For months, I've been meaning to write a post that addresses the misconception that cats don't need people and are just fine with our prolonged absence. In doing research, I found click bait and misinterpretations of studies that concluded something completely different than the title of the article about it. I came across one particular article that enraged me (more on this later). This isn't completely new to me. The last time I got this angry, I read a "news" article that claimed that cats see humans as big, ugly, dumb cats. Intrigued, and with an open mind to understand cats better, I read the entire book the article cited. The book said nothing of the sort. In fact, I got to the end of the book and scratched my head because while I found a section the title could've been twisted from, the expert never claimed what the author of the article said. For some reason, cats are the easy target. For every "study" I've seen claiming to prove some aspect of feline lives, I've seen just as many studies suggesting the very opposite. For some reason, cats are polarizing. The problem is that for cats, people believe the click bait and misinterpretations because it serves their agendas. What are their agendas? To minimize what they can't understand - cats and our relationships with them. To point the finger at a bad guy - an adversary. Because it feeds the human desire for juicy and salacious. For some people who don't know cats, it can be easy to hate them. But is it true? Do cats really not need us? Or is it a case of us not being able to understand the ways they communicate with us? Then, what do we get by maligning cats because we don't understand them?  And what's so scary about cats? What provokes the worst in humanity? Is it about control? Do these people not like cats because they can't control or manipulate one? It seems to me that we can't blame the cats for our lack of understanding. I'm sure if cats could tell us, they would. But until humans scratch and spray to mark their territory - or use the litter box, play with the milk ring, and scratch a scratching post, let's agree that judging cats on human parameters is unfair at best. And compare them to dogs? You lose that essence of cat-ness that we cat people love so much. Until cats dig up the yard, chase a stick, love to go swimming and for car rides, roll around in nasty things, and lick your face ... maybe we should leave the comparisons to dogs to the, well, dogs. 



My cats.

Just because cats don't love in the same way as dogs, doesn't mean that they don't love us. When I was in middle school, my parents finally relented and we got a cat. I was expecting endless cuddle parties and a best friend. Kitty was not a cuddler. For years, I didn't think she cared whether I was there or not. Then I realized that there was a reason she was always in the same room with me. There's a reason that, when she was a kitten, it was MY room she played in all night long. And when she became a mouser at age 11, she brought them to MY bedroom. Sure, her love could've been more obvious if she knocked me over and licked my face - or even cuddled with me for more than a couple minutes a day. But that's not who she was. It doesn't mean she didn't love me or need me ... just that her way of expressing it wasn't as obvious. And did she care while I was gone? I'd say so. She peed on or mauled anyone else I asked to take care of her. Yes, she occasionally got desperate for attention and might jump on a substitute caretaker's lap - but the second I got home, she was back to being my girl with no thought of the caretaker. So, yes, cats need attention - and they DO care who they get it from. 



Bear is, in almost every way, Kitty's opposite. I found Bear on the street. The first time we saw each other, I put some treats out - but he wouldn't come out from under the deck while I was there. I went inside and came back to find the treats gone and a curious cat looking at me from under the deck. So I put a few more down and left. The next time I saw him, he rolled on his back and encouraged me (by wrapping his arms around my wrist and pulling my hand to his belly) to pet his belly. That was it right there. I was owned by another cat. It took me a couple weeks to work it out in my head. I had a fifteen year old cat with multiple health problems. I was afraid of shaking the boat. But Bear (from bear hugs - like the ones he did around my wrist so I'd pet his belly) came to our door EVERY MORNING at the exact same time. I'd give him food and he'd sit in my lap. My lap was more important than the food. Now how is that? A HOMELESS, STARVING KITTEN and he preferred my lap and belly rubs to food. And there was no guarantee he'd get the food after the cuddles because there were always a couple other cats circling the area closing in on the food. But he didn't care if they ate his food. This is when I realized cats are capable of way more than we give them credit for. I was expecting instinct to rule - and yet here, it was love - it was connection - it was all the things people claim cats aren't capable of.

Right after I adopted him, there was a bit of an adjustment issue - he wanted to cuddle ALL THE TIME. I wasn't used to that - and I admit I was probably more aloof than his tastes preferred. So what did I do? I adjusted MY behavior to match what he needed. I white-knuckled it for a couple months until it felt natural and not anxiety provoking to me to always be close to him. There's another lesson for you: just like any human relationship, you get out of it what you put in. If you insist on being distant - not wanting the cat to disturb you as you go about your daily life - and pushing the cat away and getting mad because of the "annoyance," I imagine your cat wouldn't need you. But that was YOUR choice - not the cat's. It doesn't represent HIS preference - but yours. It's not HIM that doesn't want or need you - but YOU that are incapable of being those things. Perhaps that's the problem - with cats you have to work on the relationship - unlike the easy enthusiasm of a dog. And let's be honest, with the divorce rate being what it is, we're not a people that want to work in a relationship - we just want it ready-made and perfect. With cats, you get out what you put in - you choose the degree of interpersonal interaction - you set the tone and rhythm of your life with the cat.


I know. It's just a cat. I changed myself for a cat? Let me tell you why that means everything to me. Growing up, my parents were so involved in their own heads - their own issues - their own STUFF, that they didn't really see my brother and I. It didn't occur to them that we might need something from them. Without any children of my own, by changing myself to be closer to what Bear needs - I'm ending the legacy my parents propagated. I am not my parents - and no place is it more obvious than my relationships. I'm proud of that. Whether it's Bear or a child or a goat ... I am not continuing the pain of the way I was raised. I've mastered it and said NO MORE!

Over the years, Bear and I have been through a lot. Thousands of times of him being in the front window and then at the front door when I get home. Thousands of times of him misbehaving to get my attention. Thousands of times of looking at me for reassurance when he can't understand the circumstance (vet visit, storms, etc). But the thing I hold closer to my heart than all the rest is that when he's not feeling good - he comes to me - he doesn't hide. He had a tumor removed some years ago - and he's had several dentals with extractions. And every time I bring him home and he's a little woozy from the anesthesia - he comes to me for love and reassurance. A few times, we've fallen asleep with him in my arms - all the way around him. So what's the difference here?


If your cat doesn't need you, what does that say about you as an owner? Has your own aloofness rubbed off on the cat? You rejected him before he could reject you? Quite frankly, if your cat doesn't care about your presence, that says more about you and how you treat your cat than about your cat and what he's capable of. Dogs trip over themselves to please us - but cats know they are wonderful already. They don't try to shove a square peg into a round hole. 

Now, Ellie is a different story entirely. The first time I saw her in the rescue's enclosure at the store, I looked at her and she got up from her nap and started rubbing against the front of the enclosure. She was dancing for me! Thank goodness the representative of the rescue came in at that time - because they could let me in so I could pet her as she so desperately wanted. Ellie is our lap cat - she's happiest on a lap. 

Good luck trying to convince me that she doesn't need me and doesn't care if I'm around.


Several times now, I've been out of town and my two haven't eaten much. Yes. As we see in feral cat colonies, cats can SURVIVE without human interaction - though the humans feeding them might be necessary. But just because they can survive doesn't mean that they PREFER to be left alone. Ferals in particular try to stay as far away from humans as they can - but it's not because they don't need us. Staying away from humans - who drive cars - who torture - who will kick a cat until she loses her kittens and almost her life ... that's just smart. If humans weren't such jerks to those who depend on us, I think it would be a much different world.

For us cat people, when one hears that cats don't need us, it's easy to be full of rage, emotional arguments, and shock. It's easy to react. But is it true? And can I prove it? Emotional arguments prove nothing - no matter how heartfelt and passionate. And as many times as I share the traits Bear has that completely disproves any nonsense about cats not needing us, the behavior of one cat (or even three) doesn't prove anything either. As a numbers person, I set out to find actual hard evidence. I learned long ago that numbers CAN lie and CAN be manipulated to just about any end. And just about any conclusion can be twisted into an article that sells papers, or we share on social media, or is a thinly veiled invitation to click on a headline used as click bait. I've come up against irresponsible click bait before. If you'd like to learn more about the issues of irresponsible (and incorrect) journalism, my friend posted on, "When Popular Media Use Sensationalist Headlines to Report on Scientific Studies."

I want to note here that it's reckless to paint all felines alike. Just like a few humans, there are probably a few cats that want nothing to do with humanity (not that I blame them). Just like human terrorists or serial killers, we don't condemn humanity based on the actions of a few. So why condemn all cats because of a person's ONE bad experience with them? Just like us - cats are individuals. Missing?! The cruelty with which us humans live. When a cat kills something, it's not because it enjoys it - but because instinct tells it to.

All my cats have shown that they love me - and in drastically different ways. I didn't come into the relationships with a closed mind. I let cats be cats and I loved them for it.


What studies say.

So much of the research we have is relational from cats - to dogs or humans. But you don't shove a square peg in a round hole and expect it to keep out the water, do you? Maybe the first step is recognizing felines are just that - felines. They aren't dogs - they aren't people - and until they act alike, they shouldn't be judged alike. Obviously cats aren't dogs or humans and by trying to fit them into human or dog shoes we're not doing anyone any favors. As Emilia Evans said, "Maybe instead of studying how cats aren’t dogs (duh), they could actually study cats as cats." 

Why have I been so clear about the trouble with comparing cats to dogs and humans? Many of the studies I came across tried to fit cats in with or equate them with dogs. As you might imagine, the studies found that cats aren't like dogs. One study in specific, "Domestic Cats Do Not Show Signs of Secure Attachment to Their Owners," claimed that cats aren't securely attached to us like dogs are. They concluded that there wasn't evidence to support the interpretation that cats are securely attached to humans. I would like the highlight that there wasn't evidence to support that cats SHOW secure attachment to humans - not that it's absent entirely. What can be measured and seen does not equal reality. They were very clear however, that their operational definition of "attachment" was very precise - and was more than just an affectionate bond. Great. So cats aren't bonded to us as dogs are. I really want to make a smart-aleck remark about how cats aren't attached to us in the same way as fish - so clearly cats don't feel attachment if they don't bond with us as fish do. If that wasn't bad enough, a news article took it ten steps farther and claimed the study proves cats don't need us at all. WHAT?!?! Title of the article? "Cats do not need their owners, scientists conclude." I'm sorry, but I can't in good conscience include a link to the article. What does the first paragraph say? "Cats ... do not need their owners to feel secure and safe." WHOA! BIG DIFFERENCE. Do not need at all and do not need their owners to feel secure are two totally different things. Isn't it possible that they ARE securely attached, we just can't read the signs yet? Or maybe they don't show the attachment at all. It's just madness to try to fit cats in a dog sized hole. They are DIFFERENT SPECIES, with different domestication processes, different personalities, and different needs. To read more about these differences and irresponsible journalism, please visit my friend's article about those things, "When Popular Media Use Sensationalist Headlines to Report on Scientific Studies."

Besides observation, how do you study what cats feel? While cats might experience and express their emotions differently, their brain structures are similar to ours. By comparing a cat's brain to a human's - we can guess what the cat is feeling. Brain activity should be similar in the two species for the same emotion. At first, this strikes me as brilliant - but then I find we're back in the place where we compare cats to humans and that doesn't quite sit well with me. It seems like instead of trying to fit cats into human or canine matrices, we should construct their own. They can be very independent - so having their own matrix just makes sense, right? 

John Bradshaw, the author of Cat Sense, after years of study concluded that cats don't understand us the way dogs do. But they are also super-smart and learn what works with which person. Dogs recognize us as being different from themselves - and they change their behavior in our presence. Dogs act relatively different around other dogs than they do humans. Researchers haven't found specific cat behavior that indicates our cats see us as different from them. Around humans cats haven't adapted their social behaviors much. Instead, cats communicate with us as they do other cats. Oddly enough, his book Cat Sense is the one misquoted by the media with it being reported as him saying, "cats see humans as big, ugly, dumb cats," - the  incorrect conclusion that got me started on challenging the media's conclusions on scientific studies. Back to cats, below, I list the ways cats show us they love us - and you'll notice they are also the way cats communicate with each other. 

A study, "Social interaction, food, scent or toys? A formal assessment of domestic pet and shelter cat (Felis silvestris catus) preferences," tested which stimuli cats prefer. The preferred stimulus was the one with the highest proportion of interaction during the session. Of thirty-eight cats, 50% (19) preferred human interaction, 37% chose food (14 - not significantly statistically different in terms of the difference between the human interaction condition and the food condition), 11% (4) chose the toy, and 3% (1) chose smell as their preferred stimuli. The authors reiterate individual variability with cats - that instead of looking at an average to determine a single cat's preference, one should test the individual in question for a preference. And I agree that all cats might not even fit in the same construct. A cat's sociality is influenced by many factors - including biological predisposition and their life-time experiences (a feral cat for life isn't going to respond the same as a housecat for life); in many ways, feline sociality is more complex than sociality of pack-type animals like dogs. They posit that environmental enrichment can be improved and expanded by noting preferences of individuals. Interesting, in the human interaction condition, the cat's favorite way to interact with the human was through play. This makes me think that perhaps the way we meaningfully relate to cats is completely different than how we meaningfully interact with dogs or other humans. Either way, this study goes far to substantiate that cats are not all about instinct - but they they have social needs we don't give them credit for. And if the cat just wanted human interaction for what we give them (play, food, etc) - why would the cat prefer human interaction with those items when it could just save the trouble and chose the item individually? As an aside, I couldn't help but think how I'D react to the choice of stimuli. I'm embarrassed to admit I'd choose food. Maybe things aren't quite as simple as experts would have you believe.



How cats express love.

If you've ever lived with a cat, you know the love of a cat is something very special - almost magical. While cats might not express love in the ways we're accustomed to from dogs and other people, there is nothing like the love of a cat - and to be the object of their affection is one of the best feelings in the world. Perhaps the best way to prove that cats love and need us is to show the ways they express those feelings. Cat people know the signs when they see them - but let's review how cats express their love for us. Amy Shojai wrote an excellent post on "How Cats Show They Love You," and while it's the main source of information in this section and I follow it closely, I found all of the signs mentioned in at least one other source in the course of my research. So there is at least some consensus that these are ways cats show us they love us. Amy Shojai shared that, in regard to playing, sometimes the cats even seek to control the  interaction by moving just out of our reach so we're forced to come to them. I believe they might also do this when they want our affections. 

*** Purring *** 
Purring is the pinnacle of cats expressing their love. While cats can also purr when scared or sick, the majority of your cat's deep rolling purrs are for you as a show of relaxation, contentment, and joy.

*** Meowing *** 
As cats grow up, they usually grow out of meowing at other cats. So the majority of vocalizations you hear from your cat are for you and for your benefit.

*** Bunting *** 
When your cat head-butts (gentle ramming of the top of the cat's head into your hand or head) you or brushes their cheeks (and scent glands) on you, they are marking you as theirs. Being owned by a cat is the highest of compliments.

*** Tail position/carriage *** 
If you've ever noticed you spend the majority of time with a cat butt in your face, that is affection and a carry over from kittenhood when they presented their mothers with their butts. Petting the base of a cat's tail often results in lifting his butt so your attention remains on the base of the tail. If your cat walks toward you with tail raised - he's greeting you and showing you that he's glad you're there.

*** Scratching ***
Cats scratch to leave their scent and an obvious declaration of ownership. The places your cat scratches most are often those objects that a cat identifies with his human.


*** Kneading *** 
A carry over from kittenhood when kittens stimulate milk being released from their mother's teats by kneading, adult cats return to this behavior when they feel loved, connected, relaxed, and content.

*** Hunting and gifting prey (or toys) *** 
By nature, cats are hunters. And while most house cats no longer stalk live prey - the instinct continues in relation to their toys. They "gift" their quarry to those they love - most likely because they don't believe the recipient could catch the object by themselves.

*** Rolling *** 
If your cat runs toward you and flops on the floor in front of you, there's a good chance this is an expression of love - especially if they're making sure you see their adorable bellies. This is a greeting, a way of showing they are excited to see you, and invitation for attention.




*** Playing *** 
Our adorable furry hunters often can't help themselves. Playing is a bonding activity between human and cat. In that way, cats show us they love and feel connected to us through shared activity. 


*** Sleeping *** 
Your cat is most vulnerable when he sleeps. This means that his napping spots are places he feels secure. A cat sleeping on your lap is the ultimate show of trust and affection.




*** Eyes *** 
Most people recognize the slow cat blink as a sign of the cat's love for you - but it's also true that cats feel safe when they put their eyes up to you. Eyes are vulnerable and it's also a demonstration of trust.

*** Licking *** 
As much as cats groom themselves and each other, they often also groom their humans to some extent. Cats are known to lick their humans' skin and hair - as well as nibbling - showing how much they love a person by marking their person as theirs.

*** Biting ***
This was not in Amy Shojai's article specifically - though she might've classified biting under licking. In my relationship with my cats - they occasionally bite - not to hurt me - but to show affection. One may call these love bites. Ellie's bit my nose, my ear, my chin, as well as my arms and hands. She does this as she's bunting me - so I take it to be an expression of love. Even Bear seems to bite me sometimes just to reconnect. Unless you've been through it and seen the cats' body language, you might not understand this.

*** Proximity ***
Also not in Amy Shojai's article, but a lesson I've learned from my own cats. A cat isn't as in your face as a dog would be. But you might notice that your cat is almost always in the same room with you - even if you're not touching. It took me years to realize this was how Kitty expressed her love. I expected cuddling and heartfelt interactions - but in the end, knowing she was in the same room as me at all times was almost better. Bear spends much of his time on the table next to my desk. He's been known to sit there watching me for hours.


Conclusion

Cats have different attachments to us than dogs or other humans - which is why their unique ways of expressing love are so amazing and special. Comparing them to dogs or other humans is just about as effective as comparing horses to mailboxes. To them, they ARE showing us they love and need us - the loss in translation is because most people don't take the time to study cats and the ways the communicate. Just as humans as individuals have different ways to expressing themselves - so do cats. We can't expect them to change and know how to express it just so we get the message. Lastly, low maintenance is not the same as no maintenance. Yes, you don't need to let your cat out every four hours to do its business - but you should scoop their litter box a couple times a day. And no, they probably won't knock you over every time you walk in the door - but they have their own ways of showing you they are glad you're home. To say they don't love us because they don't love us like other humans or dogs is foolish at best. Cats live on their own terms - and that's what makes them so incredible for those of us who can appreciate it.

Quite frankly, I'd rather "lack signs of secure attachment" if it means I get to think for myself. But if thinking for yourself scares you and you just want to blend in with the pack, that's okay. Just don't bring cats and those of us who are brave enough to think for ourselves down with you.


Sources:

*** Coila, Bridget.  Do Cats Feel Affection to Their Owners Like Dogs Do?; The Nesthttps://pets.thenest.com/cats-feel-affection-owners-like-dogs-do-5092.html.
*** Dell'Amore, Christine. What Do Cats Think About Us? You May Be Surprised; National Geographic; https://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2014/01/140127-cats-pets-animals-nation-dogs-people-science. [featuring information from John Bradshaw].
*** Letzler, Rafi. Sorry, Cat Haters, Science Isn't On Your Side; Popular Science; https://www.popsci.com/article/science/sorry-cat-haters-science-isnt-your-side.

*** Potter, Alice and Simon Mills, Daniel. Domestic Cats Do Not Show Signs of Secure Attachment to Their Owners; PLOS Research study; https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0135109.
*** Shojai, Amy. How Cats Show They Love You; The Spruce Pets; https://www.thesprucepets.com/how-cats-show-love-553978.

*** Shreve Vitale, Kristyn R., Mehrkamb, Lindsay R., and Udell, Monique A.R.
Social interaction, food, scent or toys? A formal assessment of domestic pet and shelter cat (Felis silvestris catus) preferences; Behavioral Processes. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0376635716303424.
*** Willett, Susan. When Popular Media Use Sensationalist Headlines to Report on Scientific Studies; Life With Dogs and Cats; http://lifewithdogsandcats.com/susan-c-willett/when-popular-media-use-sensationalist-headlines-to-report-on-scientific-studies-cats-do-not-need-owners.

Friday, December 7, 2018

Chewy's Holiday Goody Box #ChewyInfluencer

MK: Momma Kat
EM: Ellie Mae
BC: Bear Cat

As you might have noticed earlier this week, Momma's funny is broken and she's devoid of funny inspiration. We're working on another serious post for next week, but I want to do the topic justice and that will require more time. In the mean time, we owe Chewy a review on their Holiday Goody Box for cats. The pictures tell the most of the tail ... err ... tale ...

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Disclosure: We received Chewy's Holiday Goody Box for cats - for free in exchange for an honest review. Momma Kat and Her Bear Cat only shares information we believe would be of interest to our readers. The content is ours - Chewy in not responsible for the contents of this post. #ChewyInfluencer

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MK: Are you two ready?
EM: YEAH! What'd we get? What'd we get? And is there any tuna?
BC: Whatever.
MK: TADA!

BC: A box? Unless it's full of bazookas. tanks, and tasty whole chickens ... THIS is what you dragged me out of a nap dreaming about torties and crab cakes for? Momma, you really need to get out m ...
EM: WHOOOOOA! How did you know that this is EXACTLY what I want? You even got the right color! This is the best thing ever! Oh! I'm just try it ...

BC: She just has to make me look bad ...
{Pause}
EM: Oops. You got me a box that's not really a box for me? I don't think I'll fit ... and if I can't fit, I can't sit!

BC: But she manages to make herself look even worse ... you've never let not fitting stop you before! Look out! WIDE LOAD!
EM: This box isn't for me to sit ... it's a box full of ... 

BC: Stuff!
EM: YEAH! NOT tuna!
BC: That color makes your butt look even bigger ... no, wait. It has nothing to do with the color. Your butt really is that big!
{Pause}
EM: Wait just a minute ... I smell ... I smell ...

BC: FINALLY! Smellie admits it!
EM: AHA! Catnip!
MK: Get out of the box, Ellie!
EM: But ... but ...
MK: I need to take a picture of the contents of the box!

EM: But ... but ... I'M not part of the contents of the box! First you give me a box that's already full ... and THEN you take pictures of the stuff instead of pictures of me! I need a lap! That's the only thing that will make this better.
MK: It will only take a minute ...{Momma snaps away}. That's a good one ... now I just arrange the rest of this ...
EM: Maybe you didn't hear me ... but I NEED A LAP! The service is horrible around here!
MK: I'll be done in a minute, Ellie. Then you can have my lap.
EM: But ... but ... I found the catnip! I saw ... err ... got it FIRST! Can I have the catnip while I wait?
BC: Niphead. She's stupid even when she's not under the influence.

MK: Look at all this good stuff! Comfort Zone Calming Cat Diffusing Kit, Calm Paws Calming Collar, Solid Gold Triple Layer Cups in turkey and pumpkin, Ethical Pets Shimmer Balls, Inaba Churu Lickable cat treats, Weruva Slide n' Serve pouches in Lamb and Mackeral and ...


EM: XTREME CATNIP!
MK: Xtreme catnip.
EM: That's mine!
BC: Phht. Over my dead body. Chill out! Put on the calming collar! Hahahaha.
EM: Why don't you play with the Shimmer Balls? You know, since you don't have yours anymore.
MK: You two have tried the Weruva Slide n' Serve pouches in Lamb and Mackeral and neither of you touched it.
EM: We didn't eat it either.
BC: TOO. STUPID. TO. LIVE. TOO. STUPID. IT. HURTS.
MK: And we've tried the Royal Canin too. The chunks are kind of big. Bear wouldn't touch it - and Ellie just licked up what little gravy there was. As for the Triple Layer thing, Bear doesn't like pumpkin ... so this might be mostly a bust food-wise. I bet you'll love the lickable treats though - treats like that are the only ones I can depend on that you'll eat.

{Pause}
MK: Let's try the Royal Canin again. Not much gravy ... and almost too big chunks ... but the company has a great reputation. I find it kind of sketchy that there's no indication what meat these pouches contain ... poring over the list of ingredients didn't really impress me either.
{Momma sets down the plates for the cats}
BC: What's that?
MK: Food.
BC: What kind of food?
EM: {already eating} The yummy kind!

BC: That's a ringing endorsement ... you eat my barf.
EM: Surprisingly, our food tastes the same going down the second time ... well, except for the hair. I eat around that.
MK: Come on, Bear. At least TRY the Royal Canin?
BC: Phht. If I wouldn't eat it the first time ... the best thing I have to say for that food is that it doesn't have vegetables.

MK: PLEASE try it?
BC: What is it?
MK: FOOD!
BC: Yeah, but what kind?
MK: Give me a minute to look over the ingredients and I'll tell you.
{Pause}
BC: So much for a GOODY box. More like a BADDY box.
MK: Catnip?
BC: No thanks. I'm trying to avoid nips.
MK: NO! Not a drink or nip for cats ... CATNIP!
BC: Did you say catnip? Gimme!
{Pause}
BC: Oh, yeah. That's the good stuff! Even Smellie doesn't look as Smellie with this stuff!

EM: HEY!
{Pause}
BC: Oh, yeah. Right there. That's the spot.
 
{Pause}
BC: Come to papa, my sweet.
{Pause}
BC: I love you, catnip! I love you, carpet! I love I love I love ...
EM: Even me?
BC: Even you? You're not even, you're ODD! Hahahahaha.
EM: You were saying that you love everything. What about me?
BC: This stuff isn't THAT ... I just saw the cheese run away with the spoon!
EM: Did you say cheese?! For some reason I have the munchies all of a sudden! WHOA! There goes the neighborhood after the cheese! The big cheese indeed!
BC: If I just pretend she's not here ... not here ... not here ...
{Pause}
BC: Nope. This stuff is not THAT good.

MK: You two want to play with the balls?
EM: But Daddy said ...
BC: Eh. You've handled one ball, you've handled them all. Now bring me back that catnip!

EM: Momma said you have to share!
BC: Not if I get there first.
EM: HEY! Bear's hogging the catnip!
BC: Don't even think about it!

EM: But Momma said ...
BC: Phht. You know as well as I do that I never listen to her.
EM: MOMMA!!!

BC: MROOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOW!
EM: {taking cover under the kitchen table} You have a really bad attitude problem!
BC: No. I have a really big sister problem. And the sister is even bigger than the problem.

{Pause}
BC: That sounded a whole lot better in my head.

BC: There's always an annoying critic.
EM: But I want the catnip! You have to share!
BC: As I was saying ...
MK: BEAR! Share with your sister.
BC: If I shared with my sister what I'd like to share with my sister, I'd be in big trouble.
MK: BEAR! Go to your shelf! It's your sister's turn with the catnip!
BC: Well, EXCUSE ME for telling the truth! Like I know what crawled up your butt and died! 
MK: Oh, boy. What fun it is to live with TWO cats.
EM: It's more fun than one, right, Momma?
BC: I don't think fun is the word she wants to use ...
MK: Chewy is easy to love: they have a wide selection of QUALITY pet products, freshness is guaranteed, and they offer fast shipping and easy returns on all orders. With orders over $49, one to two day shipping is FREE! After hearing so many bloggers talk about Chewy's fast shipping, I was eager to see the difference for myself ... and sure enough! FAST! Much faster than any other seller I've encountered. Though my favorite part is 24/7 customer service. How many times have I been up late at night shopping for cat supplies, had a question, but couldn't ask it because chat wasn't available?

UPDATE - The next night we tried the Inaba Churu lickable treats.

 
I was sure Bear would love them as he does the other brands that make lickable treats. Bear's reaction is obvious ...

Though Ellie gobbled it right up and cleaned her plate.


Interested in trying Chewy's Holiday Goody Box for cats? Go visit Chewy and order a box for your favorite feline!

Wonder what we've thought about the other products we've reviewed as part of the Influencer program? To find our past reviews you may follow this tag: #ChewyInfluencer.