Wednesday, February 11, 2009
Puppy Love Vs. Kitty Love
Last night while I sat on the couch, one of my dogs curled up on the floor and rested his head on my foot. It seemed like a nice, warm gesture of affection.
This morning, I spotted an article online: "Do Our Pets Really Love Us?"
Oh, dear. Now I have to wonder whether my animals are sincere?
Fortunately, the article has good news. Experts believe that dogs and cats are capable of true affection, and not just because we feed them. The author points out, for example, that the presence or touch of a loved one has been shown to reduce pets' heart rates, a sign of bonding. It goes on to cite the story of a dog who mourned for an owner who passed away, waiting by his master's grave year after year.
Here at home, on a less dramatic note, I often come out of the bathroom to find one or two dogs waiting for me in the hallway. If that's not love, at least it's a sincere desire for companionship.
But I'm getting more dubious about my cat.
The article suggests that, as signs of affection, a cat may "become slightly depressed when you leave, and greet you enthusiastically upon your return." What? And get up from her nap? She may also "send subtle cat signals of affection to you throughout the day ... staring at you adoringly, then squinting or slowly closing her eyes." Uh ... can't say I remember seeing her do that.
One thing I'll say for Tallulah: She's a lap cat. With a vengeance. The day we brought her home, she followed me around constantly, meowing. At first I thought she was just confused about her new surroundings. But whenever I sat down, she'd promptly settle on my lap. Then she was happy.
Well, it never stopped. When Tallulah wants a lap, she wants it NOW, and in no uncertain terms. She also loves to nap with me ... but she won't lie closer to my face than waist-level. Personal space issues? Fear of intimacy? Frankly, I'm beginning to suspect that for Tallulah, it's less about companionship and more about comfort. With a little bit of body heat thrown in.
Or, as my husband put it, "If you keeled over and died, she'd come over and lie on you until your body cooled."
Now, THAT's love ... kitty style.