‘Answer Your Cats Question Day’ was created by veterinarians to encourage people to bring their cats in for wellness visits. It’s a good reminder to take a close look at your cat’s health once or twice a year so you can be proactive about any issues that may be developing.
The emotional well-being of cats should be considered too. This is often overlooked. People are used to taking their dogs to training classes, socialization and play time at the dog park. We buy books and training devices and enroll in agility classes. We work hard to understand our dogs and their behavior, and ensure we give them everything they need to be happy well-adjusted pets.
But cats… well… their behavior is still a mystery to many people! They can be moody, crazy, quiet, ignore us completely or be ‘in-your-face’ friendly. We’re used to thinking that’s just how they are and it’s impossible to understand them. Often clients will ask me to talk to their dogs then say “maybe someday I’ll have you talk to my cat as well. She’s had some issues for a while…” The emotional life of cats is simply not a priority. I want to assure you they are just as deep emotionally and as interesting to talk to as your dogs. Maybe more so.
In order to understand cats a little better I asked a random group of cats: What questions do you have for people? What have you been wondering about us or the world? Here are their responses, in the cats’ own words.
As you’d expect, many of their questions centered on playtime, spending more time with their people, and their environment:
• “Can we go outside more? And PLAY!”
• “Can the windows be open? We’re not trying to get OUT, we’re trying to let things IN” – breezes & outdoor smells.
• “Why do you always go around cleaning things up? It just gets interesting with little bits of things on the floor to investigate” then it’s ruined by housecleaning.
• “I wonder, why are things the way they are?” He’s most curious about tiny details in his physical surroundings. “I want to tinker with them to discover and learn.”
• “All cats want the universal language of love – to purr! Will you pet me on my face and make me purr?”
Cats are curious about our daily lives:
• “What are you going to do today? Where are you going to go? Can I sit and watch you?”
• “What’s in your mind lately? What have you been thinking since I last saw you?”
• “Where do you go when we’re not together?”
• “Where do all the people in the world go when they go ‘to work’?”
• “When you’re home alone are you scared and lonely? I am sometimes.”
They pay close attention to human interactions and the ways our environment affects us. Their keen observational skills lead to some thoughtful musings:
• “A question cats ponder frequently is…What’s our purpose in life? In the household? What role could we play to help our family the most?”
• “Will you look me in the eye and will you tell me the truth? Be honest, tell me more, know that I want to know more and that I can handle it.”
• This cat notices people often complain about their age, especially at birthdays. He wants to ask people, “How old are you? You seem young to me.”
• “When you make mistakes, why do you get so angry? It’s not like me to complain, but I noticed, so… I thought I’d mention it.”
• “Why is there so much locomotion? Trains, planes… all this movement. It seems redundant.”
• “Why are you moody when the sun goes away (on cloudy days)? It’s all here on earth, everything you need, it’s not gone just because the sun is hiding.”
• “What makes the people of the world happy? What are all the people thinking about now? I want to think of what makes them happy, so maybe I can do those things and make people happy.”
• “Are you all as nutty as you seem?! It’s CRAZY ‘round here!”
Not all their questions are so serious:
• “Why do shoes make noise? They squeak.”
• “Why does raw fish scare you?”
• “How do you hold those hats on your heads?”
• “Where did your accent come from? Did you pick a place to come from or did it pick you? I just KNEW I was going to be born HERE!”
And finally, my favorite cat question:
• “Where do the dolphins go when they swim away from the shore?”
Hearing these cats’ questions reminds us they each have a unique view of the world and their place in it. Through understanding we can deepen our relationship with our animals and enrich their lives as well as our own.