DEAR JOAN — Seven years ago, I lost my two cats a few weeks apart. I took it very hard. They had been my constant companions for a number of years, and I just didn’t think I could open my heart again.
But I missed having cats, and when a friend found herself with two cats she couldn’t take in, I decided maybe my heart had healed enough. I’m so glad I decided to take the risk, even though I know I’ll open myself up to heartbreak later.
Cats are such a joy to me. They’re not quite kittens and not yet adults, and they’re so fun and playful. They both like to snuggle, one in my lap and one next to me in my chair. Having cats again also reminded me of some questions I have about their behaviors. People often rub their heads against me, and I don’t know what that means. They both like to get into boxes and it made me wonder because my other cats did too, and I’ve seen lots of videos with cats trying to squeeze into boxes or vases that can’t seem to be able to hold them.
— Lois G. in Oakland, CA
DEAR LAWS: First of all, my condolences for the loss of your two four-legged friends. It’s an absolute crime that our pets don’t live as long as we want them to, but then again, eternity would seem too short. And congratulations on finding the strength to love again. I’m sure your new cats are already mending your broken heart.
When it comes to feline behaviors, your cat rubbing her head against you isn’t just a sign of affection, it’s a way of branding you as her person. It’s called bunting, and when it does, it releases pheromones, marking you as its own.
Now, that might sound a bit scary, but in this case, he’s just letting other cats know that you hold a special place in his life.
When it comes to cats trying to squeeze through tiny spaces, it may seem like the cat has no awareness of its own dimensions, but there’s actually a very good explanation for this. Cats don’t like large, open spaces, and they feel much safer when they’re in a more confined space, or at least a space with defined boundaries and boundaries.
This dates back to when cats lived in the wild. They had to be constantly on guard against predators and larger dangers, so dozing in the middle of an open field was not something they would do. Instead, they would hide, and if they could find a safe place on all sides, that was gold.
Cats also like to nest in places where they can quietly observe their prey and pounce on it. Small spaces are great for this too.