The cat has lived with us for a year and a half now. Over that time, I went from a dog lover who got a cat out of convenience (and because my maternal instincts drove me to adopt something so adorable) to actually understanding a bit more how cats think.
The longer he’s lived with us, the more I’ve realized something: the cat and I have more in common than I ever thought.
The world is filled with wonder.
Everything is the most amazing thing to him. The movement of the string as it loops around a crochet hook. Fingers drumming on the floor. The fringe on a shawl. It’s amazing how easily mesmerized he is and how everything is a bit magical. If he were a person, we’d probably be some of the last people you’d want to take anywhere. Like to Disney.
There are tiny details to observe everywhere.
He notices the slightest movements, and he loves to stare out windows. There are so many things to see. Unless he’s napping, his eyes are always wide, watching everything.
Alone time is required.
He’s a fellow introvert. Even though I know he likes me, he prefers to sit at a distance or sometimes even in the other room. He’ll play for a while, but it’s easy to get on his nerves. Fortunately, I’m learning how to back off when he’s ready to be left alone before he gets angry. After all, when he does get mad, he somehow seems to double in size and he gets the most terrifying expression in his eyes. I don’t even know how to describe it, but even before I understood, I feared that look!
The love language of choice is quality time.
I’ve spent most of my life well-acquainted with the of the Five Languages of Love (outlined in a book by Gary Chapman). The basic idea is that there are five main ways to express and experience love, and one (or maybe two) of the ways typically stand above the rest for each person. For me, it’s quality time. I would rather spend the day with someone than be given a gift, complimented, get help with something practical, or be touched (though touch does rank a close second). I’m happy just sitting in the same room as my husband, family, and friends. The cat’s the same way. He doesn’t come snuggle up to me very often, but he usually sits in the same room, follows me around the house, or watches me from his Tirith. He likes to be close, even when he wants some space.
So there it is. After years of only knowing the rambunctiousness of dogs, I find that I’m actually more like my unusually playful, part-Bengal cat. Who knew?