Dr. Laurel Davis, WNC’s holistic veterinarinan, offers Stories from a Holistic Veterinarian, the blog of a holistic vet and “animal interpreter.” With a clinic in downtown Asheville, NC. Dr. Laurel also offers animal health, lifestyle and vaccination advice for cats, dogs and their human friends across the country.
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Your Cat-friend Really Knows You (and You Can’t Get Away with Anything)
I’m a crazy cat lady. There, I said it!
I’ve shared my life with several cats and dogs over the years, and I cherish all my four-legged patients equally. However, at the end of the day, my sweet little siamese-mix Bee holds a supremely special place in my heart. She’s my best friend, and she’s taught me so many things about what it means to share my life with a cat. Cat friendship, as anyone who’s had the pleasure of caring for cats and dogs can tell you, is very different from being pals with a canine! The noble felines are their own special sort of beings, and they contrast with dogs in what they need from us as their humans and in how they express themselves.
Your sweetest little purr-bucket is always there for you when you need her. But, if you’re lucky enough to call a cat your best friend, you probably already know this: cats can be drama queens! They will have us listen! Many times their persistent behavior can open our eyes to our own behaviors that perhaps need changing, such as too much TV or computer time. I can’t be the only person who lives with a cat who walks across my computer keypad when I’ve been on there LONG ENOUGH!
Cats demand mutual respect.
In terms of affection, they pretty much treat us like another kitty cat. They don’t alter their behavior for us as dogs do. Since dogs are much more domesticated and pack-oriented than cats, they tend to ‘read’ human behavior better and to change their own reactions to bring about a positive outcome for themselves. Ever wonder why your cat sometimes brings you dead rodents as presents, but your dog is content to cover your face in kisses? This understanding explains it!
It’s easy to consider cats solitary beings since some cats seem perfectly content to sequester themselves in a private area of the house, but that’s a pretty bold generalization to apply to an entire species! The world is full of exceedingly social feline pals who desire companionship with humans or who crave other cats’ company. That being said, I must confess that I have met more cats than dogs who would like to be the only four-legged being in a family. Yes, cats are social beings, but dogs are, by far, more into the same-species collective.
Cats and dogs speak different love languages, and, in turn, what they need from us differs.
So, how do you know what your cat really wants from you?
In my experience, a cat who is well nourished, exercised, played with, and loved on OFTEN, will be a happy cat… That is until he is not! He can be uniquely sensitive to his environment. When his person’s world becomes topsy-turvy, unhappy or unbalanced, he will be there for them up to a point. However, he is not as forgiving as a dog. Pushed too far by his human’s out-of-balance behaviors or emotional state, he will make his displeasure known and demand changes via meowing and meddlesome behaviors.
Cats truly demand we take a good look at how we are handling our lives: Are we grounded? Are we centered and focused? Do we have too many animal companions? Are the people in our household flourishing?
I’ve found that when our friends of the feline persuasion get what they need from us, a new world full of opportunities for connection and relationship opens up to us. How they say it may be different, but what our dogs and cats have to say is essentially the same: “You’re my best friend.” And that’s not a responsibility to be taken lightly.
Is your dog or cat your best friend? I’d love to hear about it in the comments below!
Dr. Laurel Davis is WNC’s holistic veterinarinan, offering phone and Skype consultations for animal lovers everywhere. Call 828-254-2221 or order an Ask Dr. Laurel™ phone or Skype session or bring your dog or cat to her downtown Asheville, NC clinic. Read more patient stories.
Get to know Dr. Laurel by reading her blog.