I have a theory.
More like hypothesis, really.
It is as follows:
You know how cats have this reputation of being hard to please? Discerning in a way that frequently edges on being stuck up?
I have begun wondering of late if this perhaps may be rooted in a…sensitivity, to put human words on internal feline phenomena.
When Pico was a kitten, people often remarked that he seemed like a dog.
Loved people, loved hanging out with people. He was loving, friendly, and chill.
After things happened and I ended up living in a car with Pico and an ex, and Pico spent more and more time in fear- I noticed a few things.
One was that he was astonishingly happy when I got him a little covered pet bed.
His space. His.
I kept trying to move it, though, to make him more comfortable, and when I did that- he never got the same benefit from it. I tried a few different things to give him his own space again- for example, I cut an opening in a hard shelled suitcase once and made a little hidey-hole for him… which he loved, until I tried to lay down next to him, with my arm in it.
I got the feeling…. that he was too polite, almost. That he would stop viewing something as ‘his’ if he thought it might actually be mine.
Of course, that wasn’t at all what I was trying to communicate to him, but when there are barriers of species added on top of barriers of language to contend with, communication… well, communication can be a bitch!
Sisi doesn’t have these kind of neuroses anymore, and she and I together are making some definite headway in helping Pico be comfortable in his own skin.
But for now, I’m operating under the assumption that cats don’t actually spurn our love automatically, like we think they do.
That maybe – they spurn it when they feel like it’s lacking.
It’s a challenging concept to accept, goes to the love series. But just because we know we feel love for another creature, does not mean that what our actions make them feel is love.
Challenging as it is, though- it’s liberating. To view my relationships with all living creatures in that way- it increases my agency. It means accepting the ways I could have been acting in the past to better communicate my love to others, of any species….
While simultaneously giving me an opening to actually cover ground in trying to make things right.
It’s never going to be as early as it is, RIGHT NOW.
Assume every living creature on this planet wants to feel…love. Mammals and some birds for sure, haven’t had enough direct experiences with other critters.
Assume your friends, all the cats dogs and other humans you meet – assume that YOU…
Want love. Want YOUR love.
And if you don’t think they look like they are feeling loved, you now have more information with which to be
a better you
for ever after that moment that you come up with an idea of why not.
And put it into practice.