Published in the Rains County Leader on August 22, 2017:
Many of Kitty’s fans have been asking about her recently, so I decided early in the week to make her the focus of this week’s column. Before I sat down at the keyboard, I consulted the Internet about the meaning of a couple of her idiosyncrasies I intended to write about. What I found was an article written in 2014 by Modi Ramoson titled “9 Signs Your Cat Actually Loves You.” It provided some very interesting insights into Kitty’s behavior.
1. Your cat brings you their “presents” – When your cat brings you their kill it is actually meant as a present…a love token.
Thankfully, Kitty is an indoor cat, so her presents consist of various toys. Her favorite at the moment is a yellow stuffed elephant. It frequently ends up at David’s feet when he’s sitting on the couch or on my side of the bed when it’s time to make it up.
2. Your kitty will flash you their tummy – If your cat rolls over on its back to give you a flash of that fuzzy belly…they feel comfortable around you…they feel loved and protected by you.
Kitty loves to show us her tummy. She frequently makes quite a production of rolling over, all the while watching us to see if we think she’s cute. It’s a completely different story, though, if we try to rub or scratch her belly. That is forbidden!
3. Your cat has a thing for head butting you – To receive a head butt from a cat is a pretty big deal…leaving traces of their scent to claim you.
Kitty doesn’t head butt either of us, but she will touch her nose to mine if I catch her in the right mood. The contact is not really close enough to leave much of a scent, but she does sniff my breath as if she’s trying to figure out if I’ve eaten anything interesting recently.
4. Love bites… but hopefully not too hard! – When your cat nibbles on you playfully, this is one of their ways of showing their affections towards you…more than anything.
I didn’t catch on to this one for a while. If Kitty was lying on a raised surface and I walked by, she often reached out and grabbed my hand. If she caught it, she bit, and I made it worse by jerking away and dragging my hand across a tooth. Lately I’ve changed my reaction, and it’s easy to see what Ramoson meant. When I let her have my hand, she sniffs, licks a finger or two, and sometimes gently captures one between her teeth. Then, she loses interest and releases me unharmed – and she doesn’t get yelled at – a win for both sides.
5. Following/Lingering around wherever you are – Cats often linger around their owners when they are fond of them…rubbing around their legs…accidentally tripping them as they walk. Know that they are only doing this because they want to be close to you.
This sign definitely describes Kitty. David and I have both, at one time or another, almost hit the floor as she rubbed against our legs or chased our feet when we were walking. She also likes to rub my legs when I’m in the kitchen, although I’m not sure that’s so much out of affection as it is hope that I might have a little milk left in a container that might end up in her bowl.
6. Kneading their master – If your cat kneads you like pizza dough, this is really their way of showing you the love they developed as babies when nursing from their mothers.
Kitty doesn’t qualify under this sign – it requires a closeness that she is not fond of. I’m not upset about it, though. I’ve had a kneading cat before, and if they still have their claws, it can be a very painful experience.
7. Twitching the tips of their tail – If your cat holds their tail up casually, flipping the tip when they’re around you, they think you’re the “cat’s meow.”
Kitty is definitely a tail flipper! Even if she’s lying down with her eyes closed, she flips the end of her tail if we say her name.
8. The power of the purr – If kitty happens to purr loudly every time you pay them some attention, this is a very good sign they’ve developed special feelings for you.
Aside from the day she walked out from under the porch squalling at the top of her lungs, Kitty has never been very vocal. She sometimes “chirps” at a bug outside the window, and she scolds her elephant in a very quiet trill when it jumps off the bed without her permission. She also purrs occasionally when chewing on her bedtime snacks, but that is more of a silent vibration than a real purr. Other than those few instances, she’s the strong, silent type and shows her feelings in other ways.
9. Eye contact with a kitty kiss – Cats only tend to make eye contact with those they know well and have developed trust for – so if you catch your kitty giving you the eye, don’t be worried. When your kitty locks eyes with you, casting a slow blink once eyes are met, this is their version of a kiss. Be a sweetie and give them a slow blink in return.
This sign was totally new to me, but it is now my favorite. Frequently, when Kitty is lying on one of her perches across the room, I will realize she is staring at me. When I return her gaze, she doesn’t look away, and if I call her name, she does the slow blink. Who knew it was a Kitty kiss!
Since Kitty has become a full-time indoor cat, I have fretted about the fact that she is not a lap cat. I tried all sorts of techniques to entice her to become a more cuddly ball of fur, but she hasn’t really changed that much other than to sit really close to David occasionally or stand on his legs now and then. Still, after reading this list, I now realize that Kitty loves us – she really loves us!