14 February, 2008 at 3:41 pm #14748
Dee from TampaParticipant
I believe cats are capable of love and Iâ€™ll tell you why.
First, let’s look at the word love. In the English language, we have just one word to describe the different types of love. The ancient Greeks were a bit smarter in this respect; they used different words to describe the love for a spouse, a sibling, a parent or a friend. You have to wonder which word they used to describe the love between pets and people.
Is it the same as the way we love family or something different? Maybe it’s something more than loving family to some people and very different for others. Love is such a hard thing to define. How do you love your cat and how would you define it? And then how do cats love us? Maybe that is something entirely different all together. Has it all got your head spinning yet?
So the real question is… do our pets really “love” us, as we understand it?
My opinion is yes! To support my opinion, we asked Dr. Nicholas Dodman, a well-known behaviorist and professor at Tufts University College of Veterinary Medicine, the same question. Dr. Dodman says… in response to Do our pets really love us? says…
“In a word, the answer is yes, according to clinical evidence. Food does play a large role in feelings of affection between pet and owner. But cats do not live by treat and food alone â€“ and neither does a cat’s affection depend solely on treats. The mere presence and/or touch of a preferred person have been shown to reduce the heart rate of these animals â€“ a sign of bonding.
Cats are said to be independent, aloof, and not in need of company except on their terms. This is true only of some cats; certainly not all. Cats raised by people from an early age either think they are almost human, or that the human is almost a cat.
In fact, throughout a cat-person bond, the two may switch roles without realizing it. On occasion, a cat will bring home a dead or half-dead animal as a token of her love and respect (a touching, if gruesome, method of confirming the bond).
Bringing home “love offerings” of this type is a sign of attachment and belonging. There are others that require less clean up. When the bond is strong, a cat will:
Tend to follow you around. She may not follow immediately, but after a moment or two she might casually saunter into the room where you’re sitting (as if she’s trying to play the whole thing down). Your cat may jump in your lap or may just find a chair nearby. Either way, she prefers to spend time with you.
Become slightly depressed when you leave, and greet you enthusiastically upon your return. She may learn to recognize the sound of your car pulling up and run to the door, expecting your presence.
Send subtle cat signals of affection to you throughout the day. These often take the form of classic “cat kisses” â€“ staring at you adoringly, then squinting or slowly closing her eyes.
Send not-so-subtle signals, such as rubbing her head upon you (marking you with her scent), and of course, purring.
Lying on her back, with her stomach exposed. This is a sign of trust, because your cat is now in a vulnerable position. Many owners mistakenly think this is a request for a belly rub. It usually isn’t.
This is a cat’s affection at its most intense. They can’t hold your hand, and they are not given to jumping up and kissing you. There’s no difficulty to describe this sort of relationship as love.”
Happy Valentines Day!14 February, 2008 at 3:49 pm #167898
Oh, that means my cats really do love me!14 February, 2008 at 3:49 pm #167899
Subtle? Emerson is anything but subtle. He will get up in my lap and give me the full face plant into my chest while making bread on my stomach. Sometimes he will get so happy that he drools.14 February, 2008 at 3:52 pm #167900
AZDEBRA 5/27 & crewParticipant
Very nicely written, thanks Dee. MM, I agree, mine have forgotten to read the part about being subtle, lol.14 February, 2008 at 3:55 pm #167901
lol, MM. My cat Snake has taken to groveling for attention. But at least he doesn’t drool!14 February, 2008 at 3:55 pm #167902
Meezers don’t know the meaning of subtle. I’m sure other varieties have forgotten it as well14 February, 2008 at 3:55 pm #167903
What a great Valentines present Dee…Now I’m sure my kitties love me…awwwwww14 February, 2008 at 3:55 pm #167904
Oh, yes, I know they love us like we love them! Once we had to board Missy for two months, she was my husbands special friend. Well Missy was so upset (even though she was boarding with three of our other cats that she knew well) that she stopped eating, lost weight, got sick and we had to go rescue her because the vet thought she had some illness and was dying. The minute she saw my husband she perked up and started scarfing everything in sight. She was fine, she just thought she had lost the love of her life.14 February, 2008 at 3:57 pm #167905
Oh what a sweet story DCH…14 February, 2008 at 3:59 pm #167906
How sweet DCH14 February, 2008 at 3:59 pm #167907
Awww, my babies definitely love me.14 February, 2008 at 4:00 pm #167908
Bogman, Clark and Andy’s mama 2/27 FloridaParticipant
My babies love me!!!!14 February, 2008 at 4:03 pm #167909
That was one of the last things my Knucklehead did… My son and his girlfriend were in the bathroom where he had taken to hanging out (in the bathtub)… and they said that he got up (which he hadn’t for a couple of days) and put his paws on the edge of the tub when he heard my Jeep. He did love me!!14 February, 2008 at 4:05 pm #167910
There are times when Polly loves me just too much, like yesterday morning. I was brushing my teeth, having just exited the shower. I was clad only in a towel – shoulders bare. Polly was sitting on the edge of the bath watching, as she usually does. Suddenly she decided she couldn’t bear to be parted from me any longer and jumped onto my back and shoulders. Of course she started slipping and had nothing but my skin to hold onto. Don’t you just love having long kitty scratches all down your shoulders and back?14 February, 2008 at 4:05 pm #167911
he certainly did HV. It’s good to have you back around here, hadn’t heard from you in a while14 February, 2008 at 4:08 pm #167912
Nice to hear from you again HV14 February, 2008 at 4:13 pm #167913
Bosley loves me. Bailey? She REALLY, REALLY LOVES ME!
*mimicing Sally Field’s acceptance speech at the Oscars*14 February, 2008 at 4:28 pm #167914
What a great article. Sammy loves me so much he regularly hurls himself into a desperate quest for affection. He sleeps under the covers and always likes to be close. Sometimes he begs at my feet, and I think he wants food. He just wants to be picked up! Nigel is more of the “on my own terms” kind of guy, but when he’s on, he’s on! He likes to just lay with his head tucked in against my neck and “hug” me. Teddy’s is more subtle, but it’s very special. He’s scared of everyone but us, which makes me feel very trusted. I’m surprised he even lets us touch his belly, but he loves it! When he gives and receives affection, he really craves it, and he’s so special.14 February, 2008 at 7:35 pm #167915
Awwww… Chloe loves me !!! thanks Dee… this is great14 February, 2008 at 8:36 pm #167916
PM! Owwie………!14 February, 2008 at 10:18 pm #167917
KYKAT 12 23Participant
Thierry is my skittish boy and sometimes acts like he wants to be petted but then gets scared and runs out of reach. But I do know that he loves me. He will sit upright and regal looking and stare at me and then slowly blink his eyes at me. I call it lovey eyes and I do that right back at him.14 February, 2008 at 10:25 pm #167918
Well…Thumper & Spider must really Love me! Thumper jumps up on my lap when i sit on the (excuse the visual) commode. And spider follows me around like a puppy dog till I pick him up & put him on my shoulder.
PM…Ouch! I have a couple of dozen to prove their love for me too.14 February, 2008 at 10:35 pm #167919
KapitiKats in NZParticipant
KYKAT – Spike is my skittish boy and he likes to play a game where he runs away when I come near and then flops on the ground and then runs when I get near again. Eventually after about 3 runs he lets me play with him. He just likes to play hard to get. But if I have the catbrush he turns into a mushball immediately.14 February, 2008 at 10:35 pm #167920
I am loved!!! 🙂14 February, 2008 at 10:46 pm #167921
artistabobbi TX 1/17Participant
My babies love me – except for BeeGee – She is my daughter’s cat. Some are obvious and territorial (Dasher) and some are more subtle. (Caspar). Watson is a purr butt. The only thing Baer can think of is amorous love (he is still whole, as is Watson, and the alpha male). Zipper is affectionate, but won’t fight for me (sob), and my mama cat Boo, is subtle, but still wants to lay on top of me – just not constantly.
And I love ’em back!!!14 February, 2008 at 10:47 pm #167922
Lady follows me everywhere. Mom’s disgusted with her b/c SHE’s the one that rescued her, not me, but Lady decided to be MY cat!14 February, 2008 at 11:48 pm #167923
I know my Cat Whiskers loved me. I got her when she was only six weeks old. She did all the things that the article described. I loved it when she would stare at me and I would slowly close my eyes at her and she would respond the same way. We would do this several times. It always pulled on my heart strings. She loved to lay on my chest and purr. She didn’t associate kneading with me but I did catch her kneading an old sweater of mine that I had put in a box for her. She would always be waiting for me at the front door so I had to open it slowly or she would get hit as she would sit there right at the door. When I would go lay down on the couch she would want to curl up in my arms.
Sylvester definitely loves me. We do the eye closing once in a while. He likes to come and sit on my lap where he does his kneading on me while sometimes drooling. He gets this kind of glazed happy look on his face when he is doing this. When he sleeps on the bed, he makes sure he is either leaning against my leg or at least touching me. Mia does this too. She likes to follow me from room to room unless the birds are outside the window. I am starting to experience Mia’s love for me as well.15 February, 2008 at 12:07 am #167924
My Tiger Lily used to drool and to sleep either on top of me or pressed up against me. During the last years of her life, she used to drape herself across my shoulder and under my chin at night. My ear was positioned just right to hear her purr. Such bliss.
I know all of my cats loved/love me. There’s never been any doubt.15 February, 2008 at 1:17 am #167925
Eileen..your story of Tiger Lily reminded me of my dearly departed Julie. When she first adopted me I called her Drooly Julie because after 30 seconds of ear & chin scritching,her chin & my lap would be soaked from her drool. lol15 February, 2008 at 1:51 am #167926
Buster likes to do the Belly up thing to me. He is not real cuddly but on occasion will want to cuddle. Harry is my cuddle bug he likes to be near or touching me at all times. He will come in the mornings and touch his COLD nose to mine and if I don’t wake up and rub his head he will bite my nose. He also likes to get under the blankets with me to cuddle in the mornings.
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