“A cat has absolute emotional honesty: human beings, for one reason or another, may hide their feelings, but a cat does not.”― Ernest Hemingway
It has been said that there are dog people and there are cat people, but the love of animals on the whole is not usually inferred by whether you are a dog or cat person. Cats are a species onto themselves and are known for being more aloof than dogs, harder to train than dogs and able to survive, quite easily without too much effort on their humans’ part. Most would think that respecting a cat is just a given, as not very many domesticated cats have issues making sure they get the respect they believe they deserve. However, understanding the language of cats makes it much easier to respect their space and realize that their behaviour is not as random as it often appears to be.
“Curiosity killed the cat” is a common phrase used to sum a situation where things may have turned out badly…”but satisfaction brought him back” is the closing of the quote. A cat’s curiosity is often seen as an invitation to interact but it may just be an investigation and not an invitation for a friendly encounter. It is important to note the signs of a cat’s approach. A stiff or quivering tail is usually a sign that they are not looking for interaction, just curious. A cat will let you know, with a head bump, blinking of eyes or soft purr that they are looking to be pet or picked up. When a cat has its ears back, twitches its tail or has dilated pupils, it likely has had enough interaction and would like to be left alone.
One of my favourite quotes regarding the signals a cat can give is from Alice in Wonderland.
“And how do you know that you’re
mad? “To begin with,” said the Cat, “a dog’s not mad. You grant
that?” I suppose so, said Alice. “Well then,” the Cat went on,
“you see a dog growls when it’s angry, and wags it’s tail when it’s
pleased. Now I growl when I’m pleased, and wag my tail when I’m angry.
Therefore I’m mad.”
― Lewis Carroll, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland & Through the Looking-Glass