Sunday, December 05, 2004

Who's Grooming Who?

I really wish I had a picture of this to show you, but we didn't have the camera out nor could I convince my fiancee Liz to run and get one. Oh well, it's something that happens all the time. We'll snap a picture someday.

Arthur is a big licker. If I stick my hand near his face and scratch his chin or rub his cheeks, we'll start licking me. In fact, last night, I held him with my arm and he started licking the hairs on my arm as if he was grooming me.

So what does it mean when a cat licks you? Do they like the taste of your skin? Is this their version of a kiss? Or are they grooming you like they groom each other? I'm still curious as to how my cats see me. Do they understand the concept of a human? Or do they think I'm just a bigger cat? If I'm a cat to them, am I a caretaking cat like their mother was? Or am I a peer who they groom and play with like they do to each other?

Whatever the case, it certainly seems like an expression of affection to me and has since he started doing it on day one.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

What Arthur is saying is: "You silly man, if you're going to wash my face and chin, you have to lick your hand first." That said, I know Callie licks me a lot, especially after a hot flash when I'm sure I'm extra salty from perspiration. I think it is also a bonding thing, the way cats lick each other to relish the smell and taste of you. Of course this is only my guess, but Callie is very close to me and constantly licks me, and the others not as much. She also doesn't lick my husband at all, and although she loves him, she really just tolerates him.

Let Liz rest assured that our family is set up the same way, and although I'm the medicine giver, nail trimmer, etc., and hubby is the food and play provider, etc., the cats seem to realize that anything I do to them is for their own good and forgives me (eventually). We once had a kitten with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy who required much medication and frequent testing, and although I was always the bad guy, he ran to me for comfort during thunderstorms and fireworks. Dad is the fun guy, but Mom is Mom. Sorry. My husband accepts this (usually) and realizes it's the nature of an animal (no matter how many legs they have). But that's not to say that they will love Liz more than you, or even that the bonding will be mostly hers, I'm just saying that Mother Nature is, well, a mother. But bonding is a highly individual matter and we have had cats who loved my husband more than me. So... good luck.