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.
By Linda Cole
I’ve rescued quite a few dogs and cats over the years, most of them wandering strays that were lost or abandoned. Some were healthy despite their life on the streets, and some were a little rough around the edges. A handful had been abused in one way or another. The one thing all of them had in common was their ability to leave the past behind and move on with their life. Humans may be the smarter species, but it’s the animal world that has an unbiased ability to forgive.
Most of us learn at an early age that life isn’t exactly fair. We experience setbacks, have missteps, broken promises or shattered relationships that can cause us to lose faith in other people. Things happen, and no matter how hard we try, we can’t control everything that occurs in life. When we feel vulnerable, our tendency is to focus on what made us feel bad, find someone else to blame or hold a grudge. Forgiving a wrong can be hard to do sometimes.
Our pets on the other hand, have the ability to forgive us if we make mistakes when dealing with them. Of course it’s not the same type of forgiveness we give to another person, but dogs and cats don’t hesitate to give us the benefit of the doubt when a human mistreats them or unfairly punishes them. Animals don’t translate the failings and mistreatment given by one human to mean all humans are abusive or unfair. We get a pass if we lose our temper and yell, as long as it’s not on a regular basis. No matter what kind of treatment a dog or cat experiences, they don’t hang on to the past, hold a grudge or complain. What happened in the past is not relevant for creatures that live in the present. However, gaining their trust may be harder to do if their trust was violated.
By Linda Cole
Scientists are still debating where in the world wolves were first domesticated. Some believe it happened in the Middle East, while others say Eastern Asia. It’s even been suggested that the Americas could have been one region of domestication. So far, the exact area (or areas) where dogs became “man’s best friend” remains elusive.
The origin of cats, however, is known. A study done five years ago traced cats back to where they were first domesticated. Based on DNA evidence, the Fertile Crescent is the most likely birthplace of felines. Researchers have even been able to trace feline DNA back to the wildcat that started the process of domestication.
The Fertile Crescent is an area in the Middle East that spreads out from Turkey to northern Africa and east to Iraq and Iran. The ancestor of modern day cats began their domestication when humans gave up their nomadic life and settled down to raise crops and livestock. DNA mapping of the feline genome traces cats back to a single wild maternal ancestor, the Near Eastern wildcat that still lives in the remote deserts of the Middle East.
Like the wolves that discovered it was in their best interest to hitch themselves to humans, the Near Eastern wildcat did the same thing. The process of feline domestication occurred around 10,000 years ago. This was originally thought to be about the same time wolves were “transforming” themselves, but new research and evidence has found the domestication of dogs may have actually began much earlier – from 19,000 to 32,000 years ago.
By Julia Williams
Is there a more heartwarming activity than decorating the Christmas tree? We start with a blank “canvas,” then add shiny balls, glittery garland and precious ornaments. When the transformation is complete, there’s that satisfying “ahhhh” moment.
A beautifully bedecked tree is, for many, a Christmas must. For others – cat owners for instance – the urge to have a tree is tempered by memories of Christmases past, when they spent the holiday season trying to keep the cat out of the Christmas tree. The first time you see your kitty’s cute face peering out at you from inside the tree makes you laugh. But mirth quickly fades as you try in vain to make your feline friend understand that the tree was not, in fact, placed there for their climbing pleasure.
There is no denying that cats are the biggest Christmas tree ornament you will ever have. Nearly all cat owners have a story to tell about waking up to find the Christmas tree in shambles. One friend even joked about starting a 12-step support group for people whose cats wreck the Christmas tree.
I can relate. I’ve had my share of knocked over trees and shattered ornaments. But here’s the thing: expecting a cat not to be infatuated with your Christmas tree just isn’t realistic. You can’t change any creature’s instincts, let alone one whose middle name is “mischief.” Simply put, cats love to climb trees. All of those shiny things dangling from the branches of your Noble Fir or Blue Spruce just make it all the more enticing to a tree-loving feline.