The Look of Love – It’s Blinking Obvious if you’re a Cat
What’s in a look? Quite a lot if you want to show how much you love your cat, according to Cats Protection.
This Love Your Pet Day (20 February), the UK’s leading cat charity is encouraging owners to blink at their feline friends to show them affection.
Eye contact is one way that cats to communicate to humans, as well as to other cats. For example, a strong, unblinking stare would be interpreted by a cat as threatening, while a slow blink is a much friendlier, non-aggressive gesture.
“When your cat slow blinks at you, it’s their way of saying they trust you and are comfortable in your presence.” explains Cats Protection’s Behaviour Manager, Nicky Trevorrow. “If you return the gesture, you’ll be letting them know that the feeling is mutual. You can also try initiating the interaction by slowly blinking at your cat and then gently turning your head to the side. If you’re lucky, your cat will slow blink back at you.”
Here are some other ways to show your cat you care:
- Have a grooming session
Although cats are very good at grooming themselves, most moggies will appreciate a little help from time to time, particularly if they have long fur. Gentle brushing or even stroking in those hard to reach areas, such as under the chin and behind the ears, is sure to generate a lot of purrs in return.
- Get them a cardboard box
Cats love boxes because they help them to feel safe and secure. As they are solitary creatures by nature, having somewhere to hide and snooze in peace is important and even better if it’s up high as it means they can easily see their surroundings. Try filling a box with a blanket to make it even more cosy and place it in a quiet corner of the house.
- Have play time
Cats are natural hunters, but their love of stalking and pouncing is driven by the thrill of the chase, not hunger. Playing with your cat will cause their brain to release feel-good hormones called endorphins and help them to burn off all that excess energy. Just 10 minutes of play a day is enough to keep them happy, healthy and your best friend.
- Get them chipped and snipped
A trip to the vet might not sound like something your cat will love you for, but they will appreciate these two simple procedures eventually. Neutering will make your cat less likely to roam, get into fights and get diseases, not to mention save them from having to look after litters of kittens. Microchipping will help them get home much quicker if they get lost, and also means you can get a cat flap that only opens for them, stopping any moggy intruders from invading their territory.
In addition to these simple gestures, it’s also important that you meet your cat’s five welfare needs to ensure they can live a happy and healthy life, safe in the knowledge that you’re looking out for them.
- Provide them with suitable food and fresh water
- Give them a suitable place to live with everything they need
- Protect them from pain, suffering, injury and disease
- Make sure they can express normal behaviour
- Give them the choice to be apart from other cats
For more information on how to care for your cat, visit the Help & Advice section on the Cats Protection website: www.cats.org.uk/cat-care/help-and-advice
Unsure whether your cat loves you back? This adorable video will help you recognise the signs: www.youtube.com/watch?v=OXl5FToQDPA