“Cats only feel cupboard love”

Some people might believe that cats only feel cupboard love. I wonder whether it is an extension of the old adage that “the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach”. They are similar, aren’t they?

'Cats only feel cupboard love'.
‘Cats only feel cupboard love’. This is untrue and I am sure that 99% of cat caregivers agree with me.
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I wonder, also, whether this adage originates in the feelings of women without in any way being sexist. Because women are more likely to look after domestic cats, and certainly regarding the man, the phrase must come from women.

Sometimes it can feel like the way to a cat’s heart is through their stomach. But it’s entirely incorrect on both counts.

Many elements to a good relationship

Of course, the food that you give your husband or male partner or the food that you give your domestic cat companion is important as it helps to keep them happy and certainly it helps to keep the relationship stable and strong but there are many other elements to these relationships.

Love your cat

I have always said that if you want to know how to look after a domestic cat you start by loving him or her with real commitment. From that simple starting point everything you need to know about cat caregiving flows because you will learn about it through observing your cat and reading up on it, and you will learn that they need a lot more than good food! Plenty of play, kisses and cuddles. Close contact. They like their warmth. You like their attention and their warmth as well, both emotional and physical.

Symbiotic relationship – cats

It is true that humans are in a symbiotic relationship with the domestic cat. The human provides them with security, warmth, companionship and, yes, good food (hopefully). In return, the cat provides them with companionship, entertainment, emotional support sometimes or often, and the occasional mousing duties. The last benefit for humans was the original reason why the wildcat was first domesticated. It still applies sometimes (barn cats) but most often the domestic cat’s skill at mousing is unwanted because caregivers don’t want to see them bring mice into the home.

Symbiotic relationship – humans

I’ve mentioned the symbiotic relationship between domestic cats and humans in the last paragraph but the same applies to the marriage between husband-and-wife or between same-sex partners. It is a symbiotic relationship at its heart with each supporting the other. That’s its purpose.

Dry foods

You could argue that the old adage that cats only feel cupboard love can’t be true because far too many owners give their cats inadequate food! That sounds cruel and unfair but I suspect that the great success of dry cat food supports what I just said.

Too many people just give their cats dry cat food and it isn’t always of the best quality. Cats will like it as it can be slightly addictive because of the flavourings they add to a flavourless base product but there are many good arguments which support the fact that a dry cat food diet and nothing else is not good enough.

It’s too unnatural essentially because it is dry and the classic prey animal of the domestic cat is the mouse which is 70% water. That statement pretty well sums up the problem.


Food will always be an important part of the relationship. The phrase does point to perhaps the unwelcome fact that it is the woman who still provides food to the man when there should be greater equality in the 21st century. And it probably points to the fact that in single people households with cats it’s normally a woman-to-cat relationship although that doesn’t apply to me. But I’m probably exceptional.

My thanks to Sarah Hartwell for providing me with the title.

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