Paying attention to what your cat is telling you through his body language can be the difference between good and bad cat ownership (caretaking or guardianship). The words could have been mine but come from the manager of animal welfare at the British Columbia Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (BCSPCA), Kim Monteith.
She says, “it’s important to respect his wishes”. That is so correct and is part of ‘respecting the cat’ for what he is. It is reminding ourselves that we are not interacting with a child but a different species of animal.
We love to snuggle our cat and pick him up for instance. Whether the cat wants to reciprocate depends on the cat’s personality, mood or activity at that time. A good cat caretaker will be aware of this and even though she wants to pick up her cat she won’t if she feels that it is disrespectful of her cat’s desires at that time.
I am sure a lot of little scratches and contretemps with cats arise out doing what we want rather than what the cat wants.
The video below provides a nice and easily understood introduction to illustrate the point:
Kim makes a good point about thrusting our face towards our cat. Depending on the cat, they don’t really like this. It is a little intimidating even for cats who know us well and are close companions.
There is an innate defensive measure in a cat which comes out if our actions trigger it. I have felt that we should always be more gentle than we naturally are when interacting with a cat. This applies more so to men. We are much larger and that can intimate so we have to offset that with gentleness.
Other than picking up a cat another major area where respecting the wishes of our cat is often required is in petting. There are many ways to do it and your cat will tell you the ways he likes. This is a much discussed topic and by know people should be aware of what cats like by way of petting.
Source for idea.
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