Do cats really care?
As many of my followers on the Kattak Facebook page have probably seen over the last couple of months, I love to look for quotes and pictures of cats that relate. I find it very interesting to see what people who are somewhat influential, think about our feline companions. The other day as I was looking for the daily quote I came across one that I thought would be a great topic for my next blog. The quote was this: “Cats understand humans; they just don’t care to show it.” This sparked something in me because over the past 10 years of enjoying the companionship of cats I tend to disagree! Here’s why.
Cats have the ability to talk to us
If you have read my blog “Ways your cat speaks to you” you would have seen the different ways cats communicate to us. From meowing to purring to the simple love stare, our cats communicate things to us that they simply feel the need to say. They have no means of verbalising in words how they feel but I think we can all agree that our cats talk to us to let us know what they want, how they feel etc. This in itself should show that cats care? I also love to learn to understand a cat, and how they grow to understand us. If I look at my 3 boys, I can see that over the last 6 years they have learnt the ways to get to me and to get me to do what they want. You could say they have me wrapped around their little paws. If cats didn’t care, would they go through all this effort?
Cats show their love through behaviour
Over the years I have had the privilege of learning just how much my cats really do care through their behaviour. My 2 boys have grown older, which has made me forget how their personalities that I love so much were developed over the years. What has influenced them and why. For instance, Travis has the most loving nature, and yes you could say that this is based on a number of things, but one thing is for sure in my mind, he cares enough to show it. He cares so much for me that he will go out of his way to be with me, no matter what the circumstance. When he is frightened he looks for me, he goes to hide mostly, but there are times where he’d rather be with me than alone in some dark corner of the house. When he is in the mood for some cuddle time, he comes and somewhat forces his way onto my lap until he has decided enough is enough. If I move, he just comes back, he does not give up until he’s had his time with me.
With Sancho, he is the one that really baffles me often. He is a typical cat in that he pretends not to care, but let me tell you this, when we are away and they are taken to their cattery for the duration, and when we return he is the only one that greets us at the gate when we go in to fetch them. He bumps head with us, and just has the most obvious body language that only we can distinguish as happiness and relief – we did not abandon him. We just love knowing that we have been missed – because let’s get real for a second, most cats hide their emotions so well as this is simply instinctual, but I will get to this point later on.
In May of this year we found Scotch outside our complex gate, he was so tiny and terrified. He didn’t stop hissing at us for a second when we approached him in his “safe room”. Four months later, he is a different kitten. He walks around the house with his tail upright, one very confident kitten indeed. If I have to tell someone that meets him of how terrified he was, just four months, ago I’m pretty certain they would not believe me. He vocalises everything and each little sound that comes from him is different and they all mean different things. When he sees us for the first time in the mornings he mews at us with a high pitched meow, and this simply means “Good morning!”. This happens every morning!
All 3 of my boys have different ways of showing their love an appreciation towards us, but the fact is, they show it. They want us to understand that they love us, that they care.
Cats hide their feelings for good reason
Next time you have the thought that your cat simply does not care, or you have that feeling that your cat is the most insensitive creature around, or, if someone who has never had a cat doubts the affection cats have with us humans, consider this… Cats hide their feelings for a reason, and a very good one at that. In the wild cats are predatory creatures. They hunt for prey and they are prey to larger animals. It has been drummed into their heads that any sign of a threat, any at all, they need to escape, they need to get away. If they show their weak points, they will be hunted down and that will be their ninth life, gone. This has not diminished from the minds of domesticated cats. When you feel that your cat is not being himself, but he is still trying to act as himself, consider that he is possibly unwell and might need to be looked over by a vet. It doesn’t hurt.
Show them that you care
To end it off I would just like to say this – your cat loves you, your cat cherishes the time he or she has with you, they will give you unconditional love – but if they don’t show it the way us humans would like them to just know that they will always show it in the way they understand. Get to know your cat, get to understand his temperament, his personality. Take some time out to learn the ways your cat shows you that he cares, because trust me – he does. He cares for more than food, he cares for more than sleep and getting away from the unknown – I’d like to think that they do understand that without us, their luxurious, care free life would be a whole lot different.
If you give your cat the love they deserve, they will give you the love you desire.
Over the years I have definitely noticed and realised that cats have a hierarchy system which has to be in place for a well balance both in their colonies or domestic environment. How I’ve realised this is because in both adventures I’ve had with cats (first Sasha and Dizi then Travis, Sancho and Scotch). Cats are territorial creatures, this we know, but how do you know that some of the unwanted behaviour is just purely acting out against the dominant cat/s? Here are some things to look out for in cats with territorial behaviour.
Cats and kittens alike have very finicky personalities. We all know this, since we have and love cats. But sometimes, you notice the odd behaviour which to you is not accepted but to your cat, the environment is simply not acceptable. Here are ways to make your space more acceptable for your cat: