By Dr. Becker
Opening your heart and home to a cat is an experience like no other. It's not like living with a dog, a bird, or a hamster.
Feline companions are fascinating in that they are domesticated, yet retain many of the natural instincts and behaviors of their wild cousins.
Cat lovers are also unique, because there are things about sharing life with a kitty that only "cat people" truly understand.
8 Things Only Cat People Understand
- Cats don't respect personal boundaries (except their own). Cat guardians are accustomed to sharing every square inch of space with their favorite feline.
For example, most kitties figure out early in life that a human sitting on a toilet is a captive audience and the perfect target for some leg bunting (this is when your cat repeatedly head butts your lower legs and rubs against them).
Needless to say, this isn't a two-way street, so don't dare even look in the direction of kitty when she's busy in her litterbox.
- The house belongs to the cat. Anyone with the audacity to shrink Fluffy's territory by closing doors to certain rooms will live to regret it – especially if he or she is on one side of the door while kitty's on the other. There will be howling, scratching, thumping, and paws appearing and disappearing under the door.
More than a few clever cats have figured out how to work door handles after being locked out of rooms in "their" house.
- All sunny spots also belong to the cat. Cats prefer an ambient temperature about 20 degrees warmer than most humans find comfortable, so they figure out creative ways to stay warm.
That's why kitties tend to stretch out in patches of sunshine wherever they may fall – on the floor, on furniture, on a windowsill, or right in the middle of your desk or the kitchen counter as you're working.
Learning the spots where sunshine falls and clearing them ahead of time for Miss Kitty is the least you can do for She Who Will Not Be Denied.
- If it moves, it's prey. And this goes double if whatever "it" is moves quickly, furtively, or is underneath something. Obviously this makes for a very long list of "prey" around the house, including anything real or imagined moving under bed covers, paperwork, and area rugs.
It also includes your ankles if kitty happens to be stalking you as you walk from room to room, and your toes if you move them underneath the sheets as you sleep.
The good news is that once kitty has caught you with a quick swipe or dig of his sharp claws, he'll take off the second you scream out in pain. Until next time.
- The vacuum is evil. It's ungodly loud, and cats hate loud. Tiger could care less how you remove the fur he so generously deposits all over everything – he'd put that varmint vacuum out of the house if he could.
Short of that, he'd like you to at least show some respect for his delicate sensibilities and warn him before you turn the horrible thing on.
- A cat's backend is every bit as cute as his frontend. Let's say you're lying on the couch or in bed and kitty jumps up on your chest in an affectionate mood. You scratch his head or stroke the fur on his back, and the next thing you know, his tail is raised and his bottom is an inch from your face.
Cat guardians realize this is just a feline's way of being sociable. Your kitty is looking for attention and affection from you. You can try turning him to face you, but take no offense, since none is intended.
- The human head is an excellent rubbing post. Most cats enjoy rubbing against things as much or more than they enjoy being petted. And as your kitty's human, it's your job to cooperate while she uses your face as a rubbing post. This can get a bit dicey if you're sensitive to cat fur or dander and Fluffy seems determined to shove her head into your mouth or up your nose. In that case, it's best to try to distract her with some petting or a toy.
Many cats also head bunt the top of their human's head. If your kitty does this, she's rubbing her scent on you so that everyone knows you belong to her.
- The best time to meow really loud is at night when the house is quiet. Sometimes cats vocalize for a reason, for example, it's mealtime or they're saying hi as you come through the door. Other times, they meow for no conceivable reason. This is especially true of older kitties.
People with elderly cats are often awakened multiple times during the night by throaty, sometimes blood-curdling yowls, howls, and meows. The first few times it happens, we leap from our beds, sure a knife-wielding cat slayer has snuck into the house. Next, we visit the vet to make sure the otherworldly noises coming from kitty aren't health-related.
Finally, we devise ways to sleep through the midnight wailing, because as we've also learned, there's no "shushing" a cat.