Ask most people about cats and the words they’ll likely use are aloof, independent and stand-offish. As an avowed dog person for most of my life, I too believed this “propaganda” – that is until I adopted my first cat. I quickly learned that cats are affectionate, playful and entertaining, and that they can even be obedient.
Anyone who has owned a cat will tell you that cats build strong bonds with those around them. This applies not only to humans, but to other cats, and even dogs. The canine / feline rivalry is vastly overplayed by the way, cats and dogs that have been raised together often become best buddies. Often, a cat will pick out a particular person to bond with. They’ll follow that person around, rub against them, curl up in their lap when they can, and speak to them in meows, purrs and trills.
Why they form this fixation is a mystery. Perhaps the person in question pays the cat special attention, although just as often, the object of the cats affection is someone who claims not to like cats. Who knows, maybe cats are able to read a person’s aura, as new age thinkers sometimes suggest.
But cats often share their affections with more than one person. Our three cats for example are all absolutely gaga about our little terrier mix. The love to curl up with him and give him a good grooming, despite his half-hearted complaints.
They also love our Labrador Retriever and are affectionate to us as well. One of our cats is deaf and perhaps because of it, very vocal. He’ll engage you in long conversations and is also very obedient, responding to a number of hand signals.
Affection in cats is often down to breed. Siamese, Abyssinians and Persians are just some of the breeds known to be particularly loving. They are almost dog-like in their devotion and some are even known to suffer separation anxiety if left alone for too long.
If you want to build up a bond with your cat, all you have to do is fulfill your obligations as a guardian. This means taking care of all your cat’s needs and treating him fairly. Never physically punish a cat or you’ll destroy any bond you may have built up. Cats don’t forgive easily.
Cats love affection and attention and unlike dogs are not blindly obedient. Someone once said that you “may own a dog, but a cat owns you”, and that is not far from the truth. Be good to your cat and you’ll be rewarded with a loving, affectionate companion.