Please get off the computer and spend time with me
People say that animals respond to peoples’ body language. However, lately I am have been paying attention to, and trying to figure out what my pet may be trying to tell me.
I’ve always had an inkling that Suzie, my three year old half-Manx, understood more of what I said than just mere body language, as many suggest. I think, just as an infant grows to understand over a few years, at least we should question “why should not animals, to varying degrees?”
The main obstacle to answering that question is that we would not know because Suzie can purr, and there are variations of her meow – the questioning meow, for example, which ends in a high pitched tone.
When I am on the phone to someone, for example my mum who also loves her, Suzie’s ears noticeably prick, even when her name, specifically, is not mentioned, and she is referred to as ‘she’.
Another extremely recent example that prompted the writing of this is, that yesterday, there are two chairs in my flat. I was reading on one, and Suzie was resting on the other. I said to her, not fully sure if she could understand “you can hop on my lap if you like”. She immediately stood up and settled on my knee.
Perhaps it is our body language they pick up on. Perhaps they do have a sixth sense. However, since these things have been happening, I do talk to my cat, and just as she looks at my body language, I look at hers.
For example, if she trots in the house from outside and I ask her what she’d like and she heads toward the food bowls I know that it is what she wants. If she comes to me, I give her a quick pet. I am not sure about other cat owners or cat slaves (!) but when I pat her head she’ll rise up quickly to meet me and then go down again.
When I come home, if she trots toward me, I feel she is telling me to recognise her presence. I smile as I appreciate her unconditional love. However, if I start to pat her, she’ll move away and settle a metre away. This happened when I was reading on the lawn today, and I insisted moving closer each time she moved a bit away after a pat. So, at the moment, I am interpreting my cat’s body language as being “Please be in my presence, but I’m not into all that smoochy stuff.”
I’ve heard of other people attest to their pet’s individual signs and personality. I am writing this article to say, if you are going to be a cat owner, or already are, learn to become attuned to their individual body language. Both of you may become even closer.