By Julia Williams
You’ve probably heard these stereotypes about our feline friends: black cats are bad luck; tortoiseshell cats have a feisty attitude (“tortitude”); tuxedo cats are very loving; calico cats are always crazy; ginger cats are super friendly; while white cats are aloof or shy.
People (and even some veterinarians) pre-judge cats by the color of their coat all the time, but is there any truth to the stereotypes? Can a cat’s coat color predict behavior and personality?
Plenty of people who share their home with a tortoiseshell will tell you their cat does indeed have that aforementioned tortitude, but I have to wonder how much of that is perception rather than reality. In other words, perhaps they heard about tortitude somewhere along the way, and projected that stereotype onto their cat. If someone has a preconceived notion that all tortoiseshell cats act a certain way, they may subconsciously look for things that substantiate this. Then too, it seems to me that every housecat could be perceived as having a spunky attitude, at least some of the time. That is the nature of a cat, more or less.
“Black cat syndrome” is a somewhat different story. Shelter workers say that black cats typically have a much harder time getting adopted than their more colorful counterparts. Some believe it’s because of the “bad luck” myth and purported association with witches, while others think it has more to do with the fact that darker colored cats are harder to see and observe in the shelter cages.
By Julia Williams
Although I don’t currently have a special “Cat Guy” in my life, I love them all because a) they are fond of felines and b) they’re not afraid to admit it. Some men think it’s not cool or “macho” to love cats because they see felines as feminine creatures. I have many wonderful male friends who love cats, and they would all tell you there is zero truth to that stereotype.
Six of my favorite Cat Guys agreed to be interviewed for this article. They are: Dan Powers, the talented photographer for The Chronicles of Zee & Zoey; Fred, “Pop” to Stunning Cathy Keisha; John, “Dad-Guy” to the Island Cats; Kevin from Animal Shelter Volunteer Life; Scott from the Katnip Lounge; and Terry from Brian’s Home. Enjoy!
What’s the best gift your cat has ever given you?
Dan: We currently have seven cats in our home. The best gift is the absolute unconditional love they give to me and the comfort that comes from that love.
Fred: Her love and companionship when I was home recovering from back surgery.
John: Headbutts. I love when the cats headbutt me.
Kevin: I’m always amazed at how well all of our cats, especially those with whom we have the closest bonds, are able to read human emotions. Unsolicited cat snuggles, purrs and unconditional love are the most wonderful gifts after a tough day.
Scott: Unconditional love.
Terry: Without a doubt, the best gift my cat Brian has given me is that of patience and acceptance. Brian has just the right personality for a multi-cat household. He understands that everyone is different and sometimes it takes a little time for others to find the good in you. He is quick to show kindness, and will give up his treats or playtime if one of his sisters seems more interested. So Brian has taught me how to be patient and has helped me understand that everyone has needs of their own and that helping others is the most important thing you can do.
By Julia Williams
I have been told that my cats are spoiled. I suppose they are, but I don’t really consider that to be a bad thing. Spoiled human children often grow up to become snooty adults that no one wants to be around. Spoiled cats just live their cushy life and enjoy every minute of it. If a cat is able to convince a human that her purpose in life is to satisfy their every desire (no, of course I’m not talking about me), then rah rah for them! However, recently I’ve discovered that in regards to living that aforementioned cushy life, there are other cats who have it far, far better than mine.
Take, for example, the cats of Bob Walker and Frances Mooney. These nine felines definitely hit the cat lottery when they adopted this couple. The lucky kitties have the purrfect home (more on that in a minute). In fact, Bob and Frances call their home “The Cats’ House” because that’s exactly what they believe it to be.
Bob said “One day it finally came to us that we go off to work every day leaving the house to the animals. We realized that possession was nine-tenths of the law, that it was really their house so the least we could do was cater to their whims and desires and make it their house.”
They started with a simple catwalk and “one thing led to the next.” Ha ha! Before they knew it, they had 140 feet of elevated cat paths (the “Cat Highway”) throughout their home, with three different ways for the kitties to get up to the catwalk. One of their early inspirations for the catwalk came from a relative, who had a train track that went around the top of the room. Only instead of a train, Bob and Frances have cats zooming around overhead and through the walls to the next room.
By Julia Williams
I feel sorry for people who perpetuate the myth that cats are aloof, unloving and incapable of (or disinterested in) bonding with their human(s). That’s far from the truth. I’ve had wonderful relationships with many different cats, and each has shown unequivocally that I am not merely tolerated because I dole out their CANIDAE food twice a day. Oh sure, they appreciate having good food and a warm place to sleep. We all do. But the depth of our relationship goes far beyond me being the provider of their creature comforts.
My cats cannot say “I Love You” in human words. They can’t express love by buying me presents or doing nice things for me. They may not be able to define what love is in the same way we do, but they can and do show love in their own unique ways. Here are 8 things cats do to express love.
They Want to Be Near You
When cats climb onto your lap, drape themselves over your shoulder or curl up next to you in bed, it’s not because they’re looking for body heat. They want to be with you because they love you, and they enjoy being in your company. Every night before I go to bed, I say goodnight to my cats. Annabelle is either in “her” box in the closet or one of the cat beds. Minutes later, she tucks herself in next to me, her head on my pillow and her paws over my arm.
They Comfort You
Felines make great “nurses” for two reasons. They seem to always know when you are hurting whether it’s a physical or emotional ailment. They also stay by your side to give you lots of healing purrs until you are feeling better. How can that not be a sign of love?
They Protect You
You only have to do a brief Google search to find dozens of stories of “hero cats” who saved their owners from injury or death by alerting them to carbon monoxide, fire, gas leaks and other dangerous situations. My angel-cat Binky even alerted me to the presence of a peeping Tom – she jumped on the dresser and growled until I looked out and saw the perv staring in my window!
By Linda Cole
Despite common belief, many cats and dogs that live together don’t fight like…well…cats and dogs. Canines and felines can share space in peace and harmony, and are capable of forming lifelong friendships with each other. All pets are individuals with their own likes and dislikes, and there are some dog breeds that don’t get along well with cats. To increase your chances of harmony, there are some cat breeds that are more compatible with dogs than other felines are. These breeds also get along well with kids and other cats.
This breed was brought to England during the Roman invasion; they arrived with the troops and were kept for their mousing abilities. When English settlers came to America, they brought their cats with them to control vermin on ships and in the home once they arrived. It’s likely this breed was here before the Mayflower sailed, brought by the Pilgrims to early settlements like Jamestown. The American Shorthair is an affectionate, fun-loving, confident and friendly kitty.
One of the natural cat breeds, the Japanese Bobtail is considered to be good luck in Japan, her native country. An ancient breed that goes back at least 1,000 years, this loving kitty with a short, rabbit-like tail likes to sit and talk with you. The smart, active and inquisitive feline will play in water, fetch, and can learn feline agility.
By Julia Williams
The age a cat is considered “senior” varies depending upon who you ask. Even the so-called “cat experts” disagree. Some think an 8-10 year old cat is a senior, others put the age between 10-12 or 12-14, and some say as young as 7 years old. In their Senior Care Guidelines, the American Association of Feline Practitioners puts it this way: “There is no specific age at which a cat ‘becomes senior.’ Individual animals and body systems age at different rates.”
My cat Mickey is almost 15; Rocky and Annabelle will be 11 in July. So they’re all seniors, but still alert, active, playful and at times (overly) rambunctious. They may not always act like youngsters, but they do have moments where their inner kitten comes out to play. That’s a good thing, even though at 5 a.m. it might seem otherwise.
Play is very important to all cats, perhaps even more so to senior cats because it can keep them “young in spirit” which helps combat the effects of aging. We see this in older people all the time – those who are active not only live longer but have more vitality. I let my inner child come out to play as often as possible, and try to help my senior cats find their inner kitten, too.