To celebrate my birthday and Bud’s adoptaversary, the little guy commissioned a portrait of us together. As many of you know, cats think of us as big, slow cats, which is reflected in the resulting painting. I present to you “Buddies: Airbrush on canvas”:
There is a slight inaccuracy, of course: I have gray eyes, not green. If I’m portrayed as a cat, I should probably be an orange tabby as well. And finally, little Buddy should be much more muscular. Perhaps he’s meant to be a kitten in this painting as he was more of a shoulder cat when he was tiny. Other than that, seems pretty accurate!
In truth we don’t really know exactly how cats view us.
We know there’s a parental element, that house cats retain kitten-like qualities for life as they remain in our care. The meow is probably the best example of that, since it mirrors the vocalizations kittens make to their mothers.
We know house cats depend on us physically, psychologically and emotionally. In recent years behavioral scientists have taken studies originally designed for children and modified them for cats, yielding interesting results: House cats who are bonded to their humans behave in ways startlingly similar to humans children.
When we form bonds with them, they draw comfort from our presence and look to us for behavioral cues to determine how they should respond to situations and objects that are new and potentially frightening. Just like kids, cats look to us, and just like kids, they stay calm if we do.
When you treat a cat well, kitty returns that love, trying to comfort you when you’re sick, refusing to leave your side, alerting you to potential trouble.
Bud is super friendly, but he isn’t the cuddliest cat out there. He doesn’t like being hugged or picked up, but he knows that when he pads up to me while purring and sits on my chest or in my lap, I’m never going to force him to stay or subject him to pets he doesn’t want. That’s why he approaches me often and why he feels so relaxed.
It’s probably also why he often wakes me up, purring like an engine, looking for a chin scratch and affirmation that he is indeed a good boy.
Perhaps the biggest complements are Bud grooming my hair and beard, and sleeping on me.
There’s no greater expression of trust between a feline and human than when a cat falls sleep in your lap. Cats are never more vulnerable than when they’re asleep, and sleeping in your lap means your four legged friend feels safe with you and trusts you completely.