It’s a question that you’ve maybe never really thought about as an owner. But here in the Republic, we’ve let our imagination run wild with thoughts of cat love stories this week and we started to wonder whether cats can indeed fall in love with their human parents, other cats or maybe even another animal species.
As humans, we grow strong attachments to creatures of all kinds, even personal belongings very quickly, and often hold things so dear that we truly recognise this as love. But whether this can be said for animals is an entirely different story. Most likely, cat love is very different from human love. It’s probably quite apparent to most cat owners that they don’t necessarily love you the way you love them. Don’t get us wrong, we believe it is without doubt reciprocated, but they definitely have a different way of showing it or maybe don’t even show it at all.
Dogs as we all know are pack animals. They thrive in a group environment and often demonstrate their ‘love’ for humans much more obviously than their feline counterparts, as though we are one of their own. Cats on the other hand, don’t require such strong pack bonds, so often come across aloof and independent, not needing to rely on anyone, except maybe for dinner. Though it’s clear to most of us that they are very emotionally intelligent, and do display certain affections or dislikes towards the different humans in their lives, and do make their feelings known. Though they are not reliant on a companion, they most certainly have a softer side and we like to think of this as love for their humans, regardless of what the research might say.
Falling in love may be a bit of an extreme suggestion and a romanticized notion we, the people, have created for our pets. It is more likely our furry friends feel affection, attraction and attachment to us as their owners, and to the other animals in their lives. It’s clear that most cats adore their pet parents, and when you are blessed with a display of such love, the effects can be overwhelming. Though this will vary from cat to cat and their differing personalities, those little purrs and chirps, head nudges and kneadings will never fail to release that much needed serotonin we require to know we’re doing a great job.
So what about cats falling in love with other cats? Most animals in the wild will choose a mate, and some opting to mate for life surely equates to some kind of love? They will feel attraction to other cats if in season, and most definitely feel a family love and attachment to their siblings or offspring, but a romantic love, maybe not. Though we have a story of one of our very own Chief Tasters that may change your mind.
Little Rue was for sure once in love. In one of her many South London abodes, she had a visitor one evening come knocking on the window sill. A large, fluffy black tom cat staring lovingly through the double glazing was met with a cold stare and a rather sassy attack from behind the glass. She was playing hard to get. Their relationship developed over time, at almost the same time every morning ‘Romeo’ would come crawling over the back fence chirping away to find her, and Rue started to brave the garden and answer his calls. She gave him a guided tour of the shed, sat with him in the rain, invited him in to share dinner and eventually gave him the odd nose nuzzle. This continued daily until it was time for us to once again move house and leave Romeo behind. I have never felt more guilty, splitting up this kitty romance before it could truly blossom. She has never developed a bond like that with another cat, animal or human (other than me) and I’m almost certain she still thinks about him to this day. If that isn’t love, I don’t know what is.
The science may say that cats can’t necessarily fall in love, but we definitely beg to differ.
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By Lois Roberts