Is your cat "just a roommate" or do you get "unconditional love"?

Me and my cat at dawn in the garden on a deck chair enjoying the sun and smells of summer. Selfie by MikeB. Yes, I know I look a mess.

It is up to us to create a relationship with our cat within which they can express their deep friendship with us. We dictate the terms of the relationship. For example, find out what they particularly like doing and enjoy and give it to them. My cat likes me to hold my hand at the back of his head. I do it all the time for him. He feels better and we are closer.

My cat likes me to place my hand at the back of his head
My cat likes me to place my hand at the back of his head. I do it for him and it strengthens our bond. Image: MikeB.

On the website there is a discussion about the states of the USA and whether they are cat or dog states. And it leads to a difference in the relationship that people have with their dogs and cats. One commenter, Christopher, said "Cats are just roommates" but that dogs give their owners "unconditional love".

I do not recognise this description of the domestic cat in my relationships with cats over the years. I recognise the general tone of discussion about cats and dogs and that cats are said to be independent and dogs are much closer to their owners. I just don't think that it is true. Domestic cats are not independent or stand-offish. 

Just this minute while I am dictating this, he has come up to me and sat down next to my computer on my lap. He said hello in a cute meow. He's just stretched out his left paw to touch the computer. He is settling in. He wants to be near me. He loves me. I love him. The relationship that I have with my cat is not exceptional. Many millions of cat caregivers have exactly the same relationship.

Perhaps cats give the impression that they don't provide unconditional love but if you have a proper relationship with a domestic cat companion you will have as good a relationship as if it is with a dog. I get masses of unconditional love from my cat.

He comes up to me all the time and constantly head butts me, talks to me, wants to jump on my lap and he stays there for a long time. He's constantly lying all over me. We have conversations. and go for walks together outside. For example, when I go and buy the newspaper in the morning, he walks along with me. It's a bit dangerous but he stops a quarter of the way there and hides under a bush until I return. But he wants to be with me. We have a close relationship.

It is up to each individual to generate this close relationship with their cat companion. If you haven't got it, dare I say, you are failing. Or perhaps you don't want a close relationship with your cat. Perhaps you like the fact that you can keep a bit of distance and freedom. But I don't really get that either because if you have a cat, you have them for companionship so why keep a distance from them?

It is my belief that it is the human who runs the relationship. It is the human who dictates the tone of the relationship and it is up to the human to elicit from their cat companion the friendship and unconditional love that they can provide them.

Janet from Brookline agrees with me. She said "Cats have a deep reservoir of affection without the slavish behaviour of dogs". P.S. I like dogs too.


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