Are your cats more affectionate at certain times of the day or are they all-day love sponges? What do they do to elicit your attention? Where do you they like being pet the most?
In my adult life I have had four cats and each one has his or her own “lovey time”. This lovey time is not necessarily tied with feeding time so it’s interesting to note the differences. Each cat has his or her unique preferences too.
Particularly before we got the boys, Boudicca starts off her day by greeting us and asking for a visit. If she thinks she can get away with it, she flops between us, purring away and acting as though she owns the place. She loves long strokes from her head to the end of her tail, scritches on her cheeks, thumb rubs on the top of her head…any form of affection, really.
Garrus lately has demonstrated that he too is a morning cat. Once he realizes that we’re awake, he usually swaggers into the bedroom with his tail high in the hair. Occasionally he’ll jump on the bed and receive a visit before or after breakfast but often he gives us walk-by tail hugs once we get into the kitchen. His favorite visiting spot is the ottoman in the living room. For some reason he seems more comfortable when we sit there, allowing him to approach us if he wants and receive back strokes and neck scritches. He likes it most when we scritch the side of his neck and chest simultaneously. Garrus also gives head bunts, particularly if he is on the bed.
Charlie is a busy, kittenish boy and, like Garrus, is still settling into life in our house. When we wake up and have breakfast, he is usually snoozing in one of his tower spots (either the penthouse kitty condo or the platform directly above it). If we give him pets while he’s up there, he opens his eyes and often flips onto his side or completely upside down to expose his belly, allowing us to give him belly rubs and remind him how handsome he is. But, like a sleepy kid who doesn’t want to get up for school, he generally doesn’t really wake up and want to engage with us until at least an hour later. When he’s up, he’s raring to go–squeaking, trotting around the house, looking for toys to play with, and eagerly greeting Garrus. Sometimes he’ll have a morning scamper session, sometimes not.
Somewhere between ten minutes and over an hour after Aaron has left for work, Charlie tends to trot over to my office for a pit stop visit (frequently squeaking his arrival) and start his morning bird-watching session. (Keep in mind that, according to The Fur Person by May Sarton, a cat sitting on the window sill or seat is doing the feline equivalent of reading the morning newspaper.) When he’s on the window seat in my office, he happily flops over for a belly rub or bunts my hand and squeaks at me. Sometimes Garrus joins him, sometimes not; a few times Charlie has managed to sneak up onto the window seat and share it with Boudicca, apparently without her knowledge. Of course, Charlie is just as likely to receive exactly two pets from me before he darts off to fish his latest favorite toy from under furniture or convince Garrus to join him some shenanigans.
Boudicca is happy to receive adoration at any time of the day. She loves it when she gets brushed and will purr enthusiastically and pirouettes as she walks back and forth so I can brush each side equally. Although she is doing this less as she gets older, Boudicca does like to follow me around the house and complains when I leave her (sleeping) presence without her permission. She is absolutely elated when she gets spontaneous lap time when, say, I decide to read on the couch. (I can’t very well read unaccompanied by my dedicated reading buddy.) Boudicca is a pleasant napping companion and offers purring comfort if I am dealing with a migraine. She’s such a sweetheart.
During the day, Garrus is generally more interested in snoozing, playing with Charlie, and sunbathing in the afternoon. It’s a mixed bag whether another lovey time fits into his schedule during the day. If he’s been able to sunbathe for a while and feels particularly relaxed, he has been known to be amenable to unofficial afternoon lovey time. Charlie divides his time between sleeping and scampering, but he does seem to enjoy brief visits while he lazes in his spot on the cat tower. He is also a fan of pit stop visits in my office, where he announces himself (squeaking), approaches me at my desk, and allows between two and eight pets before moving off. If he has the window seat for himself, he may roll onto his back and enjoy a belly rub, but he’s still fairly wiggly.
Boudicca used to habitually race to the bedroom and jump on the bed when Aaron returned from work, talking all the while until he flopped on the bed to visit her. (If someone babbles at her during a visit, she would feel obligated to contribute to the conversation.) Post-work visits have occurred less consistently since the boys fully transitioned out of Aaron’s office and have free reign of the house, but if the bed is unoccupied by the boys, she purrs contentedly as Aaron talks to and pets her. Boudicca also enjoys receiving a post-dinner visit on the bed, especially if the boys do not get on the bed and thus interrupt her visit. If I pick her up to love on her, she generally purrs, goes limp, and halfheartedly makes air biscuits (periodically spreading and curling her toes). It’s pretty cute.
The other highlight of Boudicca’s day is her regularly scheduled lap time in the evening as we sit on the couch and watch a TV show or play video games. Keep in mind, when Boudicca gets into my lap, she can sprawl from nearly my knees to my chest. Lap time means a partially or totally liquid and boneless cat with a throaty purr immobilizes my legs until she decides to get up and try to steal the boys’ food. (About five minutes later, after we’ve prevented her from eating Garrus’ food, she comes back and asks to be invited up or placed into my lap.) Throughout lap time Boudicca expects pets and occasional smooches right between her ears. (She’s not spoiled at all.)
In the evening, the Downton Tabbies seem to be more interested in playing than having a visit, but they will occasionally pause for scritches. Lately we have been working on introducing the boys to lap time and encouraging them to engage with us through shameless bribery with treats. With and without the enticement of treats, Charlie has sporadically jumped up onto our laps, much to our joy. Garrus has ventured onto the back or the arm of the couch but not our laps…yet.
Nala also had morning and evening lovey times. She didn’t want to get onto the bed with us, or did so rarely, but for several years we’d find her sitting patiently next to the cabinet by the fridge. Aaron stands there to grind coffee and Nala felt it was her duty to (A) greet him enthusiastically with her bratty-sounding meow, (B) sit nearly on top of his feet as he ground coffee, and (C) wait for Aaron (her Chosen Person/boyfriend) to give her the adoration she wanted. This was one of the cutest habits she did.
During her morning lovey time Nala felt obligated to polish everyone’s ankles thoroughly by rubbing on them and then tickling us with tail hugs. She was also insistent that Aaron give her a second visit before he left for work. Whenever Aaron gave her attention Nala habitually purred and snuffled as a way to express her joy. (When I say snuffle, imagine a combination of a raspy purr, a tiger’s chuff, and loud exhalations. She primarily made this noise in Aaron’s presence and it was both odd and adorable.)
While Nala enjoyed getting pets and belly rubs from me as well, she was clearly less excited about my visits after she totally defected to Aaron. When Aaron came home from work, she was quite assertive about how eager she was in receiving a visit on our bed or at one of her favorite spots (her bed, a box, etc.). She also liked to sit on or between his feet as he washed dishes or loaded/unloaded the dishwasher. She was quite effective at getting in the way while simultaneously being really cute about it!
In the evening Nala generally hung around in her latest favorite spot in the living room and waited for additional visits from Aaron or, oh joy, lap time with her Chosen Person. (Sometimes the girls competed for available laps. Boudicca and Nala generally did not like to be on our laps at the same time but would sometimes tolerate it if they were facing different directions and had adequate space between them.) During lap time Nala typically became exuberantly content and snuffled loudly as she kneaded on the crocheted blanket or towel on our laps. When Nala kneaded, 85% of the time her face resembled that of a stoned Yoda and then she drooled in slow motion. It was gross but also amusing and incredibly endearing at the same time.
On the weekends, Nala liked to lounge in whatever box Aaron had in his office and periodically pester him for affection as he played video games. Occasionally she convinced him to let her up into his lap, upon which she would snuffle rather raspily along the lines of “My human is paying attention to me! I love my Chosen Person so much! He’s mine, mine, mine!”. I’m fairly certain that in Nala’s mind, she was Aaron’s girlfriend and I was demoted to their pet!