JUNE 4, HUG YOUR CAT DAY
There are curmudgeons who say that cats are simply trying to get fed by us rather than expressing some kind of love for their people; they call it “cupboard love”. Nothing could be further from the truth. Cats demonstrate their devotion to their humans in a number of important and obvious ways if you know what to look for.
There is even some reason to think that we misunderstand our cats when they are asking for our attention and mistake this for a desire to be fed.
Watch your cat move round in his territory (your house). He will walk with his tail straight up in the air, perpendicular to his body, perhaps with a slight kink at the tip. This upright tail is a sign of affection between cats and now between us and our cats.
Similarly, cats who like each other very well will rub on one another mostly using their faces.
When your cat rubs his face against your ankles, he is expressing the same level of affection for you that he has for a trusted other cat. Given the choice, he would rub your face but you are usually a bit too high up for that. We often are irritated by cats who jump on the counter but they are often simply trying to get closer to us for a good face rub! They will often rub their faces on inanimate things, doorways, chair legs or other furniture more often when you are close by.
Cats who have been raised together have a few other ways of expressing their affection for each other. They may be found curled up together sleeping in a heap, even when it’s warm and they don’t need each other’s heat. So when your cat hits your lap and curls up contentedly, know that this is love, too. The bond between cats is further strengthened by grooming each other. Of course it keeps each of them cleaner perhaps than they might otherwise be, but it is more importantly a mark of the power of their friendship.
Your stroking is the same powerful bonding. They love that you have focused your attention on them, moving your hands along their fur, particularly around head and neck means that you two are family. Some cats will try to groom you back, but it may be annoying given those barbs on the tongue that are so helpful for efficient fur care. If you act as if it is unpleasant he will stop.
Cats who care for one another often have a greeting that is high pitched sort of forced air between the upper and lower lip. You may find that is commonly a way your cat greets you. Of course, the truly loving cat will begin to purr as you come closer and closer.
Your beloved cat loves you back. So, in honor of June 4, “Hug Your Cat” Day, take a minute to watch how expressive he is with you and how happy you make him.
Last week, the people who work here in Portland with me thought I had lost my mind. A client came in to ask for help placing a pregnant queen that she had found in her backyard. After concluding that she was quite healthy, FELV/FIV negative and very sweet, I ultrasounded her and found 5 kittens maturing normally.
Portland, OR (April 7, 2016) – Cat Hospital of Portland and Portland’s Animal Rescue & Care Fund (ARCF) are partnering to present “Art From the Heart.” For the month of April, Cat Hospital of Portland will be holding a silent auction with artwork donated by local artists to raise money for ARCF and their very special rescue kitty, “Bronco Billy” who needs surgery. The “pawsitively” fun closing reception will be held at Cat Hospital of Portland on Friday May 6 from 6pm to 8pm-- wine and hors d’oeuvres will be served.
As the days start becoming shorter and the mornings colder, something changes in my household: my normally independent cat, Trader, starts using me as his own personal heating device. Days off transition from yard work and bike rides to sedentary Downton Abbey marathons and copious cocoa consumption. I put on some pudge. So do Trader and Frankie. (Well, just between us, Frankie is always pudgy.)
A one year old cat is thought to have the equivalent maturity of a 25 year old person. Imagine what it would be like had you never been to a dentist before your 25th birthday. You might not have been allowed to go to school if you had never been seen by a doctor. Though we don’t know for sure how to equate age between cats and people, the cat’s rapid maturity makes him a senior at about 12 or so, about to hit a retirement in humans of about 64.
When my cats leave the house, they are in a carrier. It really isn’t optional. It is truly the only safe way to transport cats for veterinary appointments, travel or in emergency situations. Humans should not try to deal with a panicked cat who’s teeth and claws can turn into lethal weapons. The cat has a safe place during a potentially scary and stressful time.
It’s a special treat when I ease into morning awareness and discover Trader sleeping in my bed. He’s not very much of a “bed cat,” preferring to loll on car hoods, the open expanse of floors, or the lawn. On one particular morning, I felt his weight on my hair. He loves to share pillows and the more human hair he yanks out, the louder her purrs, the more insistently he kneads. Sleepily reaching my hand up to give him a good scratch, buried in his fur I detected…something…disgusting. Something nightmarish. Something of garbled gags and guttural cries. Something that made me pitch forward–only I was trapped because Trader was lying on my hair. Singlehandedly removing my hair from beneath his bulk, I rolled over with mild, apprehensive nausea and investigated what sticky, grisly gobbet was mired in what I call his “puffy shirt”–that being the fluffy ruff of chest fur that all long-haired cats have.
Many of us have experienced the feeling of sadness and helplessness when seeing a stray or feral cat fending its way outdoors with no one to care for them, often wondering what their story may be or can they be helped. Fortunately, there are many ways you can empower yourself or others to make a positive difference in these cat’s lives. Take for example, the previously feral kittens currently at our hospital who are up for adoption. Their mother “Mama” was a stray cat with her 4 kittens who were abandoned and trying to survive by living under an apartment building. Her kittens never had human contact so were literally untouchable without trying to run away in fear of their lives. They are now socialized, fuzzy, lovable kittens ready to have their forever home. If it were not for Dr. Sechrest and our staff, they would have continued their fight for survival and been another group of homeless cat leading very difficult lives.
Mr. Whiskers greeted me as I walked into the exam room with a sweet head rub and then began to happily walk around the room. Besides his lovely personality, the first things I noticed were his skinny little body, stiff hind limbs and his inability to gracefully jump up to the chair to sit next to his mom.