This is a test to find out how generous your cat is. This is a first on the internet. However it is experimental and not entirely serious. Generosity is a human concept. The dictionary definition of generous is: “willing and liberal in giving away one’s money, time, etc.” (Free Dictionary).
For people, generosity is provided in the form of money and/or time.
We know that domestic cats form friendships. These can be close and cats that are friends will lie next to each other and groom each other.
Cats don’t have money. They have plenty of time. One classic and obvious way that a cat can give something of value to another cat is to groom that cat. It is giving away a cat’s time to another cat without regard to a reward. Or is their a self-interest motivation in doing this? That is important because if a cat grooms another in self-interest it is not an act of generosity.
Our cats see us as friendly cats – more than that – probably as a relative (mother) and close friend. They will lie down next to us all night sometimes. Charlie just did this. I am very slightly allergic to him so my nose is slightly bunged up in the morning! That isn’t the point.
In the morning when be wakes up he does his bathroom stuff – conscientious self-grooming. When I am near him when he is grooming I put my hand over an area where he has over-groomed to stop hum grooming that spot.
Charlie will then groom my hand. He will lick it about 2-5 times. Not much. But it is a modestly generous act by a fellow cat (he thinks I am a cat). It feels like a gift from him to me.
That is the test. Does your cat lick your hand (or face) if you put it near him especially when he or she is self-grooming? And if so how much grooming does he do? At least when a cat is grooming himself he is in the mood to lick and be generous and lick either another cat or his human companion.
I would argue that if a cat licks you voluntarily it is an act of generosity and a gift. It is one of only a few ways a cat can give to us directly . How generous is your little furry companion?
Original photo on Flickr