Talking Cats

Long-time cat owners know that cats are always talking to us, mostly non-verbally. The question is: are we listening?

This is a great read about how understanding a cat means putting your own ideas about communication and intention aside:

The Eliza I brought home was not the same cat. Even after the pain medication wore off, this cat wanted to be petted. This cat loved to be brushed. She paraded around my legs, tail high, head-butting my hand. She tried to love-chew my fingers with her toothless gums, squeezing my skin with what felt like damp Silly Putty. We canceled her appointment with the shelter.

This cat wanted to be my cat. And I realized what I had been missing. This human-cat relationship had been dominated by my feelings and my interpretations of her behavior—what I saw, what I wanted, and what I thought I could control. There had been no cat in it at all. But when dealing with an animal with its own experiences and drives, control is an illusion. All you can really strive for is understanding.

I suspect there are some lessons in here that are relevant to other species as well.

Listen to your cat, cat people.