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.

45 comments:

  1. Very well written, excellent points. Of course I'm a complete cat person myself. :) Toby spends most of his time with me even when he doesn't want me to touch him much. Leia would spend more time with me but Toby gets jealous and there are minor spats.

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  2. Another great article, Momma Kat! And of course I agree with your findings. When I come home, five sets of feet come pounding down the stairs to greet me at the front door. Ross comments all the time how it’s so funny that nearly all five of them follow me from room to room. Even as I sit and type this, I’m surrounded by four cats. Sophie cries for her pops to pick her up and cuddle her all the time. And she always tries to groom Ross, like you mentioned in the licking section. Olive comes over and taps Ross on the arm until he pets her. Woodrow settles on our chests for love and pets. Harley, like Kitty, isdn’t a cuddler but is always nearby. Dexter doesn’t want me out of his sight and follows me to the bathroom, haha. Cats love and need us!

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    1. Thank you! I love hearing about the dynamics of other peoples' homes. It's so fascinating to see how life together is negotiated (or dictated).

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  3. That was terrific! We'd all be totally lost with out our humans and the interaction with them...all the time!

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  4. Our first cat Milky-way was a cuddler and a lap cat...he would wait by the chair/couch for us to sit then up he came.
    Madi was 360 degrees different. She did not like to be held for more than a minute or two. She would sit by you. Both were adopted at 2 1/2 months and had lots of socialization. This post took lots of effort on your part and I say WELL done
    Hugs Cecilia

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    1. Thank you. I find the different outcomes interesting. Of course, two kids raised in the same family often turn out as opposites and they spend much more time together!

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  5. I always suggest to fellow cat people to check out Pamela Merritt's blog "http://www.wayofcats.com/blog/" which discusses personality types in cats, and how we are humans can learn to play up to their strengths and work on their weaknesses. Da Boyz acted one way when we first adopted them, but they've grown and changed since then too, just as Angel has...and event The 'O' Cats, who don't 'live' with us. Terrific post!

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    1. Thank you! I think I've been to Way of Cats before ... but I'll definitely check it out!

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  6. Wow. Lots of good stuff here. Of course our cats love us. And of course we can't expect a different species to act and react the same way humans or dogs or naked mole rats do. And you know my feelings about sensationalist, click-bait headlines. Argh. Thanks for the call-out—and thanks for being passionate and knowledgeable about our feline friends, and sharing for sharing that passion and knowledge.

    Purrs (and wags) Susan C. Willett

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    1. I don't know what I'd go that far ... but I did try. Definitely outside my comfort zone!

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  7. Another excellent post! ITA with you. True cat people understand that cats DO need us and want us around. Like you, when we hire a pet sitter, our Ringo especially doesn't eat as much.

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    1. Thank you! The opposite doesn't even make sense! I guess people don't really even think about it.

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  8. Lexy is not a cuddler but there is no question that I am her one and only person. When I'm away my boyfriend always tells me he can tell she misses me. And when I get home she's extremely happy. Lola is a cuddler, and will snuggle with anyone who let's her sit on her lap. But at the end of the day, I'm her mom. We all have a strong bond, and I would definitely say my cats need me. This is a great post.

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    1. Thank you! I figured there was a reason Lexy always showed up on the PetCube when you called her :)

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  9. Great post ! You give a lot of impawtant information ! Of course we love our humans and need them ! Purrs

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  10. This is a great article. Eric and Flynn followed me or laid beside me wherever I was. Nightimes Flynn would lie on my chest and headbutt me, then turn around and I would have his butt in my face for the rest of the night.

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    1. I swear ... I spend 80% of the day with at least one cat butt in my face! Your boys loved you - that's for sure.

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  11. We crave human interaction! And if someone thinks otherwise, they don’t know cats!

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  12. I enjoyed reading this. I also liked seeing the pictures of Kitty. She reminds me a bit of my Lucy. Neither Annie nor Pierrot are lap kitties although they do come in my lap every once in a while (more so when we lived in PA and it was colder). Annie is very sweet and always chirps and extends her paws to us when one of us walks into the room. She sleeps at the foot of my bed every night. She purrs a lot. It took us several years to get where we are now, and although I wouldn't complain if she wanted to be in my lap, I truly accept her for who she is. Pierrot is my husband's pal. He loves to be in the same room and always loves to sit right next to him. It's really true what you said in your first paragraph about people not always understanding cats and that is a shame. Thank you for writing such a thoughtful article on this subject!

    p.s. Thanks for checking on us! :)

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    1. Thank you! I feel so out of my element writing things like this - but your feedback truly encourages me to try again ... and again ... and not listen to my inner critic.

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  13. I remember one of my first articles on the blog was about the Audubon Society and their wildly inaccurate report about cats. They were ridiculed and the whole sorry business went viral. It shows how stupid, ill informed and downright dangerous some people and their research can be.

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    1. That nonsense about the song birds? Yep.

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    2. and advocating killing the ferals with tylenol. I quit them instantly and I never looked back. I'm a birder too. Cornell University is more advanced I think.

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  14. That is such a great post. You said it all in one sentence. People don't understand cats because they don't take the time to watch them and understand them. Cats are very loving with their people. Anyway, I am coming back to read this again. Well said.

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  15. Well er Charybdis actually did play fetch. It was the cutest thing she had a little ball that we would throw and she would bring back. We still miss our baby.

    Not sure if it is because we raised Chimera from a day old kitten, but she does try to groom us. She loves Bo's beard.

    Great post.

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    1. Thank you! Bear used to play fetch too ... melted my heart every time!

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  16. This is the best of the best and I feel fondness toward you because you said EVERY word I have said myself and expressed every thought I have had on this topic. Every word you wrote s true and accurate. Katie Isabella shows me deep love every minute of every day. I am her littermate, she sleeps with her face in my ear for awhile..and across my head...neck...etc. And when we get lap time she's out like a light. I get head bonks all the time, scenting all the time and special only for me hoarse sounding scratchy sounding tiny quiet meows at bedtime and when she brings me her 5 fave toys. We love one another as family members. Your story of your life is compelling. SO glad I finally ound this blog.

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    1. Thank you! That doesn't really feel like enough for all you said - but it truly means a lot to me. I'm really out of my element on these posts and then I ruminate how horrible it was ... and I'm just so glad to hear that it wasn't. There's nothing like loving and being loved by a cat. NOTHING.

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  17. Excellent post. I hate it when people write ignorant things about cats that make those reading about them not care for them. They are all unique in how they show love, but they do all love us and want to be with us.

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  18. That was purrfect, Kat! It's true, our cats do need our interaction, and we need theirs. Gracie and Ava are totally different kitties, just as Zoe, Moosey, Sammy, Maggie, Graphite and Bitsy before them. Never ever did we doubt that they needed our interaction. That looked different for each cat, but never a doubt. :)

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    1. Thank you! We agree. We don't quite deserve these amazing kitties - but they sure make life worth it.

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  19. What a fascinating article! Not knowing about cats, I found it interesting and informative. There is nothing that is appealing in the world of bait and switch. The only thing I can guarantee with articles like that is they will cheese me off big-time.

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    1. For some reason, cats are always portrayed in the negative and dogs in the positive! It makes no sense to me!

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  20. I was a cat person long before I had dogs in my life, and I don't think I can remember any cat of ours that didn't enjoy human interaction. With some, it was only us, never strangers, but they were always attached to someone. Now, I have to admit that we still felt (many years ago) that cats were more independent and could do OK if we left them alone for a few days when we went camping. But I'll tell you that some of them gave us the complete cold shoulder when we got home, so we quickly learned that they were po'd that we'd left them! Now we know more, and would never leave our cat without someone to check on them any more than we would leave our dog or our birds.
    Jan, Wag 'n Woof Pets

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    1. Momma takes two-day trips to visit her niece and nephew - and The Boy sometimes visits home at the same time too - but you should see Momma. She's a nervous wreck imagining all the horrible things that could happen to us while she's gone!

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  21. Furstly awnty Kat, let us meow, great article. Now, the most 'purrtant thing to 'member 'bout the differences in cats and dogs, is that man domesticated the wolf and thus the dog. Cats? Well we kitties sought out humans and domesticated ourselves. Ifin we didn't need humans, why then would we as a species, seek them out? And, we don't know what you call cuddlin', but the fotos of you and Kitty look like cuddlin' to us. Sis Lexi used to sleep right t'ween mommy's legs curled up in a ball. That was cuddlin', tho she didn't actually have her arms wrapped 'round mommy. Purrlease give yourself a break. Kitty luvved you ver much and she did show you much affection based on what we can see. And, dogs will "attach" with any human. Y, your company could leash your dog and take them away and the dog would go and wag his tail the whole time. A kitty? Not so much. Don't even go near the door while holdin' one of us. We ain't leavin' our mommy. And the purrson that tries to make us is gonna be a hunnerd kinds of sorry. MOL Big hugs

    Luv ya'

    Dezi and Raena

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    1. I don't know which of your fangs (Dezi or Raena) I fear most ;)

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  22. I agree with Dezi and Raena in that I think Kitty was cuddling in her own way with you when she lay close beside you on the bed. The white kitty Mom had before me gave love bites would wraps his paws around Mom's hands like Bear does yours. He also gave Dad love bites on his nose occasionally. Tee hee hee. Purrs.

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    1. Smellie bites Momma with love bites ... though they don't feel like it since they're her nose or her ears! ~Bear Cat

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