JUNE 4, HUG YOUR CAT DAY
There are curmudgeons who say that cats are simply trying to get fed by us rather than expressing some kind of love for their people; they call it “cupboard love”. Nothing could be further from the truth. Cats demonstrate their devotion to their humans in a number of important and obvious ways if you know what to look for.
There is even some reason to think that we misunderstand our cats when they are asking for our attention and mistake this for a desire to be fed.
Watch your cat move round in his territory (your house). He will walk with his tail straight up in the air, perpendicular to his body, perhaps with a slight kink at the tip. This upright tail is a sign of affection between cats and now between us and our cats.
Similarly, cats who like each other very well will rub on one another mostly using their faces.
When your cat rubs his face against your ankles, he is expressing the same level of affection for you that he has for a trusted other cat. Given the choice, he would rub your face but you are usually a bit too high up for that. We often are irritated by cats who jump on the counter but they are often simply trying to get closer to us for a good face rub! They will often rub their faces on inanimate things, doorways, chair legs or other furniture more often when you are close by.
Cats who have been raised together have a few other ways of expressing their affection for each other. They may be found curled up together sleeping in a heap, even when it’s warm and they don’t need each other’s heat. So when your cat hits your lap and curls up contentedly, know that this is love, too. The bond between cats is further strengthened by grooming each other. Of course it keeps each of them cleaner perhaps than they might otherwise be, but it is more importantly a mark of the power of their friendship.
Your stroking is the same powerful bonding. They love that you have focused your attention on them, moving your hands along their fur, particularly around head and neck means that you two are family. Some cats will try to groom you back, but it may be annoying given those barbs on the tongue that are so helpful for efficient fur care. If you act as if it is unpleasant he will stop.
Cats who care for one another often have a greeting that is high pitched sort of forced air between the upper and lower lip. You may find that is commonly a way your cat greets you. Of course, the truly loving cat will begin to purr as you come closer and closer.
Your beloved cat loves you back. So, in honor of June 4, “Hug Your Cat” Day, take a minute to watch how expressive he is with you and how happy you make him.