Yes, this is my child. Yes, he is a cat

The calm before the inevitable hairball storm Sarah Nakonechny

Observing the ways my cat chooses to share his affection

One of the best things about owning a pet is when you figure out how they show you love. Of course, there are the usual ways in which most pets will show this: coming to the door or waiting at the window when you come home, wanting to be pet, and just generally wanting to be around you. For those who have a pet, you know that there are specific little things that they do that are outside of the norm to show you how much they specifically care about you.

I get to experience this love from my little cat, Harley. I’ve had him for almost 14 years, and he has been this small little support for me through most major events in my life. To say that he has gotten quirky in his old age is an understatement, but it adds to his charm. The way that he expresses his affection has changed throughout the years as he has grown older, which is something that I have found incredible to watch. To acknowledge that the development of his character shares features to human development regarding personality and expression of affection has been fascinating.

For those who have met my cat, one of the first actions that will be commented on is his fascination with swimming in his water dish. He will sit there for roughly five minutes at a time and proceed to dip his one paw into the water dish over and over. Once he is done, he will proceed to come over to me and set his paw on me as though he wants my help with drying it off. No matter what I’m doing, I will end up with a wet paw on me and his little face looking up at me waiting for assistance.

While I have been unable to win the wet paw war, we have come to a mutual understanding – mostly – about where he can lay when I’m working. Like most pets, my cat wants to be held at the most inconvenient times. Whether I am in class, writing a paper, or attending a meeting, he wants to be there and needs to be held like a baby. As he is so small, oftentimes I must use one of my hands to support him to ensure he doesn’t slide off. After years of moving him so I can use both of my hands on my keyboard he has learned to position himself between my arms on my desk. This way he can use me as a pillow while still allowing me to get work done. Now this might have been learned out of pure annoyance from being kicked off, but I’m choosing to believe he does it out of love.

\Most recently, he has taken to sleeping near my head at night which is the most notable change from when he was a kitten. He has always been very persistent on sleeping in the same room as me, forcing his way through closed doors if he must. However, he has typically stayed near my feet once he has successfully infiltrated my sleep quarters. Within the last year, after he recovered from a surgery to remove a lump from one of his hind legs, he has begun to sleep beside my head or directly on my back. This change in behaviour given the timing of its occurrence feels like a child who wants to sleep in their parent’s bed when they’re sick – wanting to be close to the one who protects you and makes you feel better. I’d like to think that’s what’s happening when he does this.

Being able to see the distinctive ways that my cat has changed his behaviours and the little ways that I interpret his affection bring me such joy. It really is accurate when people describe their pets as being their children, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.


Comments are closed.

More News