I am hers…just as she is mine!
Have we ever wondered why cats do not welcome us with that jumpy dance or frantically wag their tails, to announce their immense joy on seeing us?
Dogs are extremely loving and very vocal at displaying their affection! Cats, on the other hand, are not really affectionate. They tend to prefer their own space and independence. As a cat parent how often have you heard this comment? I have been a cat parent for nearly 25 years and have heard this statement so many times now!
Of course as a proud cat parent, I always have my defensive arguments ready at hand; as I am sure you would too! Cat behaviourists would encourage us to retrace a few steps back in time to understand how the counterparts of our cats and dogs have behaved and lived in the wild. Dogs in the wild are herd animals and are commonly referred to as ‘pack animals’. Hence, dogs have developed a complex social pattern that helps them communicate and express themselves vividly to their pack members.
Wild cats, except for the lion, spend the majority of their adult lives by themselves, in solitude. The only occasions wild cats spend time with other members of its own kind are during courtship and mating, as mothers rearing their young ones, and as siblings during their young formative years.
Tracing the history of being social
Thus, dogs who are traditionally pack animals have found it rather easy to embrace being a part of the human herd, but for our beloved cats, it has been a rather alien experience. Unlike dogs, cats have not been innately blessed with the ability to socialise.
Amongst the animals domesticated by man years ago, cats were the last to be ushered into the human settlements; their only motivation to share space with us, being the freely available food source of rodents that hounded human settlements.
Appreciating these smart beings
And yet despite their shorter foray into our lives and their preference for the solitary life, I would say cats have astonishingly well adapted to living and adjusting to our way of life…Be it learning to sleep through the night or knowing to meow when she wants something or to respond appropriately based on the tone of our voice, you would most definitely agree our cats have come a long way from their wild counterparts and their ancestors! They are indeed smart and quick learners.
As they continue to evolve and adapt, there soon may come a day when our cats will lavish us with a slobbery lick on our arrival at home or actually come to enjoy that belly rub or welcome us home with a wiggly dance and frantic wag of their svelte tails.
But I am in no hurry…I cherish what I have. There is no better feeling than to come home after a long day and have my Joey curl up and sit on my lap, to have my Ollie purr eloquently and oh-so-gently as I stroke him, and to have my Cookie rub against my legs, a manner of announcing I am hers… just as she is mine!!
(Vanessa Pareira is pet parent for close to 25 years and she is currently a pet mommy to cats. With a passion for the four-legged furies, six years ago she happily made the switch in healthcare marketing from the human to the veterinary side… the better side as she calls it!)