Monday, 3 March 2014

The Six Human Emotional Needs for Cats

Preamble

     I was going to call this post "The Six Human Emotional Needs of Cats". It seemed to make sense. Cats are, after all, fussy creatures that need so much looking after. Then, as I pondered Pusia lovingly, I realised that she gives me far more back than I ever give her! She is helping me fulfil my Six Human Emotional Needs and here's how she does it.

Certainty

     Pusia is a thing about which I am very certain in my life. I love having her there and most of all I love the certainty that she will be there waiting for me when I get home.

Certainty
     Pusia will always be there to greet me. She either stands guard at the window or she magically appears somewhere nearby as my car door opens. It works two ways, of course.

Pusia gets what she wants.
     In return for Pusia's appearance she almost always receives food, cuddles and a lot of TLC. That's not to say she doesn't hanker after a bit of mystery in her life.

Uncertainty and Variety

     Throughout our brief relationship together Pusia has given me more than the occasional moment of anxiety and uncertainty. In her quest for adventure she almost inevitably goes all kinds of places she shouldn't.

Uncertainty & Variety
     Beyond the safety of the doors of our home Pusia is a totally free agent. This doesn't come without its price. She can hunt and climb into as many of the farm buildings as she likes. I once saw her attack a fox and you can see how shocked I was by the events described in Catty Cat or Foxy Lady.

     For the moment, however, the majority or our uncertainty comes from the other animals in the neighbourhood. This results in a definite amount of uncertainty about who is going to come through the cat flap next! Freddy the feral cat is forever trying his luck and appearing on the threshold of what must seem tantalisingly like paradise to him...

Freddy taking his chances.

Significance

     The fact that I have all these cats vying for my attention makes me feel terribly important. I know it's probably cupboard love but in the end Pusia does keep coming back for more. Surely that must make me a very special person?

Significance
     I'm not soft in the head but I am one of these people who will sit for hours with cramps rather than disturb the cat. I also take great pleasure from the fact that Freddy sits outside my front door in the mornings meowing for food.

Freddy runs for cover!
     The strange thing is that my ongoing struggle to get Freddy to accept me has almost resulted in more significance than the love Pusia shows me. I have to be very careful that Pusia doesn't see me feeding him as this would inevitably result in her feeling a deficit in the 'significance' stakes.

Connection and Love

     Whilst both cats get my love Pusia is the one with whom I really connect. I know that she wants my attention when she follows me around upstairs meowing madly as if the world is about to end. All I need to do is collapse on the bed for her to recreate the charge of the Light Brigade and dive for the relative comfort of my ample belly. For her, however, this doesn't seem to be enough.

Connection and Love
     Pusia has a habit of seeking out feminine energy. The moment a female enters my house and takes a seat Pusia hangs around hopefully and almost always gets her way - even with my cat disliking neighbour! She will sit on my neighbour's window sill for hours and stare idly in at her whilst she goes about her business! Yes, connection does seem very important to a cat.

Growth

     I always said I would never have a cat. It's not that I don't like them. I positively love (make that LOVE) them and always have. It's just that I'd never had the opportunity to care for one and had always enjoyed being with other people who had animals. 

     I was happy being an occasional or foster pet owner. Then one day Beata called me and told me that there was a cat that needed a home. To cut a long story short (a story I told in Cats: The Year in Remew if you're curious), I ended up meeting Pusia and falling very much in love with her.

     Since living with Pusia she has given me so much pleasure but, in addition, she has given me a certain amount of unexpected heartache. Fairly early on Pusia had a strange health issue that I described in Love Manipulation and Hunger Strikes and it was very nearly the end of her.

     I don't mind telling you that I was in bits. She hadn't had me long and I thought she wasn't going to have me much longer! But through that experience I found out how precious she is to me. I had to give her my full attention and boy did she need my love. I nursed her to recovery and the sight of her suffering literally brought a tear to my eyes.

Growth
     As I picked her up from the vets they told me that she was a fighter! She'd struggled so much against them putting in a drip that they'd ended up shaving three of her legs and her throat wasn't faring much better with a strip of exposed skin where they'd taken bloods. My heart nearly melted. It's a strange thing to feel that love for something else so much more than you love yourself.

     It's something I can't really explain or put into words efficiently. I love my partner Beata more than the world but there's something different about a relationship with animals. I'm sure she'd agree and she does, after all, have a very special relationship with her animals.

     In the end I've discovered that I am not the most important person in the world, it's not all about me and I've discovered a new range of caring emotions I never knew I had. That includes donning Wellingtons and a waterproof so that Pusia will go out in the rain to do her business because she hates the litter tray.

Contribution

     And that kind of ties in with 'contribution' I guess. Whatever I do for Pusia I feel like I'm giving her a better quality of life. She desperately needed a home in a hurry and I stepped in. I give her cuddles, food, water, attention, warmth and anything else I fancy she needs but in the end she gives me so much more back.

Contribution
     My home has become a cat palace dedicated to Pusia's every need. Any desk has platforms on which she can sit and any cupboard may just 'accidentally' be left open for her to explore. In addition there may be 'chance' piles of little biscuits for her to find in exciting little corners and I'm sure that when I'm away she has fun exploring the house. The evidence certainly seems to suggest that. And when I'm at home then she's never far from my side.

Addicted to Love

     Never mind how fussy and fickle cats are. The simple fact is that if you're a person who likes cats then you're going to get so much from them that helps you grow as a person.

     NLP dictates that if three emotional needs or more are fulfilled by any one activity then it becomes an addiction. That seems to make sense. It's hard not to see how all six needs aren't met by cats and, we might as well face it, it's a fact that I'm addicted to cats!