The Ways We Love Our Cats

Soda, an orange and white tuxedo cat, shows his love by walking with me outside.Soda — Photo by Christine Krebs

A few weeks ago, I received an anonymous and hurtful email from someone who calls herself nikkin515@aim.com. One of my cats is missing, and she (I’m assuming nikkin515@aim.com is a woman) just had to tell me that if I really loved my cats, I’d keep them inside. 

All of us show love to our cats in different ways. I show love to my cats by thinking of them as equals in our family. I don’t have status above them, and they don’t have status above me. We all make different, but equally valuable, contributions to our household. 

To me, love means letting my family members make their own decisions, even if their decisions are sometimes worrisome to me. After all, they’re adults, and they’re intelligent and a lot more resourceful than I am. So if spending time outside makes them happy and keeps them healthy, I’m willing to respect that decision.

​Of course, we do have an indoor/outdoor schedule and routine because we all need some structure in our lives. And there are some things I know about this world that’s controlled by humans that they don’t. So it’s my responsibility to help them stay safe. But that’s my responsibility indoors, too.

The interesting thing about this is that they also feel responsible for helping me stay safe. That’s Soda’s job. He goes with me when I take out the trash and walks with me when I pet sit in our community to make absolutely certain that I don’t get lost. 

I guess diffeent cats show their love for their people in different ways, too.


How Do You Love Your Cats?

Nikkin515@aim.com said her cat is “well-loved,” and she shows her love by keeping the cat indoors. That wouldn’t be my choice, but decisions about her cat’s lifestyle are between her and her cat.

She also said her cat is well cared for, and I imagine that means the cat gets “annual shots,” has a bottomless bowl of dry food and uses an always-clean covered litter box filled to the brim with perfumed litter. Aside from the clean box, those wouldn’t be my choices either. But who’s to say I’m right and she’s wrong? Again, decisions about the cat’s lifestyle are between her and her cat. And if the cat isn’t happy with the decisions, I’m sure she’ll let her human know.

If I were to judge the lifestyles people choose for their cats, I couldn’t work as a cat sitter. Over the years, I’ve learned to keep my thoughts to myself unless I’m asked. 

How We Should All Love Our Cats

​While the ways I show love for my cats may be different from yours, there are some things we should all do to show our cats how much we love them.

  • Share your space. Remember, it’s your cats’ house, too. Put their litter boxes, scratching posts and food in places that are convenient for them, even if those places are slightly inconvenient for you.
  • Accommodate your cat’s needs. For instance, if your cat wants to go out but you want him to stay in, see if you can work out a compromise. Maybe going out on a harness and leash would work for both of you.
  • Make life interesting. This is especially important if your cats live strictly indoors. Even if you crave complete privacy, leave some blinds and curtains open so they can see outside. Open at least one window daily so they can get some fresh air, invest in a floor-to-ceiling cat tree so they can indulge their natural instinct to climb and be up high, and give them stimulating toys and treat balls to keep them active and engaged in life.

Show Your Love For ‘Stray’ Cats By Helping Them Go Home

My beloved Boccelli is still missing, and with every passing day I become more desperate to find him. I miss him so much, my heart is shattered in a million pieces. I would do anything to get my boy back.

By now, I assume someone (nikkin515@aim.com?) has him inside. She (or he) decided her way of showing love to cats is better than mine, so she’s holding him captive indoors. But showing love to cats also means respecting their wishes, and Boccelli hates being inside. He’ll get out eventually, and when he does I pray he’ll either find his way home or let me know where he is so I can go get him.

Here’s something else to think about: When you show love to cats, also show some love and kindness to other people who love them. If you find a “stray” cat assume s/he’s lost, not abandoned, and help him go home, even if you might not approve of the way he lives. After all, who’s to say that you’re absolutely right and his family is absolutely wrong?

Take him to be scanned for a microchip (Boccelli has one). Post him as a found cat in the Pets and Lost and Found sections on Craig’s List.  Put up some found cat fliers in your neighborhood and adjoining neighborhoods. And look for lost cat fliers, too. Helping a lost cat find his way home is one of the most rewarding things you’ll ever do. It’s even more rewarding than “rescuing” a cat who’s outside and making him or her yours when all he wants to do is go home. 

Boccelli, a black and white tuxedo cat. All of us have different ways of showing love to our cats.

Have you seen Boccelli? Call or text 410-530-6538. Reward!

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