Continuing from Part 1, where I explained how we came to keep Stiles, and his relationships with our other cats…
Kiki loves elephants and whales, and especially loves watching them if David Attenborough is narrating. She taught Stiles this love of whales, elephants, and David Attenborough from an early age.
He’s particularly fond of baby elephants. He hops up on my desk to watch the You Tube videos (I made a playlist for him), and he has one favorite that is a minute long, and he makes this urgent fussy noise when it ends, and makes me start it over, and over, and over…
He plays fetch and catch, and has since he was big enough to fit a toy in his mouth. And he’s also learning to fly.
He loves all sorts of games, and his intelligence never fails to impress. But even more astounding is his capacity for empathy. Just like his mother seemed to know how to get along with each one of our cats, as well as how to win over humans, Stiles has shown those abilities and more.
If anyone in the house is upset, Stiles must investigate. Whether it’s a human-cat interaction, a cat-cat interaction, or someone is just upset, he wants to make it better.
Kagetora is terrified of men. If my brother is coming over, I try to remember to put Kagetora in my room so that he doesn’t get upset. It doesn’t matter that my brother is a cat lover, and wouldn’t even raise his voice to a cat. Kagetora’s fear was learned during those years he spent as a stray.
Once, I didn’t put Kagetora in my room before my bro stopped by. I went into the kitchen to get something and heard a hiss. I looked over, and Stiles was already there. Stiles saw that Kagetora was upset, but also understands that my brother is a good human, so he simply put himself between Kagetora and my brother so that Kagetora wouldn’t feel so threatened. It worked.
But he doesn’t just understand cat behavior and emotions, he has shown an amazing understanding of human emotion as well.
If I cry, he comes running, jumps in my lap, licks my face, and then, depending on if they are happy tears, sad tears, in pain tears, angry tears, frustrated tears, or fake tears, he will respond in different ways.
He’s the most amazing cat I’ve ever known. Here’s how he reacts depending on my mood:
- Pain: He’ll start purring really loudly and lay on my abdomen (I have chronic pain due to abdominal adhesions, and the warmth and vibration of his purring is better at relieving my pain than any drug).
- Sad: He’ll make these little consoling noises, and then he’ll cuddle up on my chest, purring. He’ll watch me very closely. As soon as I calm down, he’ll tuck his head under my chin and stay there for as long as I need him.
- Frustrated: After licking my face, he’ll lean back and look at me, then he’ll hop down and go get one of his toys, then drag it into the room and place it at my feet so I will play with him. It really does make me forget about my frustrations.
- Angry: He does the lean back, then he starts chattering at me, hops down, and starts acting like a total goofball, doing flips, jumping, and just being hilarious. It always works.
- Fake: I have tried doing fake crying to see what he’ll do. Once he licks my face, he sighs, hops down, and goes back to whatever he was doing before.
All that had been going on since he was about 6 months old. When he was about 15 months old, I was binge watching one of my shows, and I got all emotional during a particularly poignant scene. Next thing I know, Stiles had jumped in my lap, did the tear sniff, the face lick, but then he did something new.
Sitting in my lap, he tilted his head, raised a paw, pressed it against me just above my clavicle (collar bone) and slowly let it rub against me as it lowered about 3 inches, then he lifted his paw and pressed it against me just above the clavicle again, let it slide down, then he did it again. And again. He watched me very carefully as he did this. At first, I just smiled.
It took me a minute to figure out that he was petting me.
It was so amazing! I started laughing and telling him what a good boy he is. He has since worked the petting into his routine for when I’m sad or in pain. Every time he does it, I feel like I’ve just seen a dancing unicorn or had a conversation with a dragon.
He is so insanely smart and empathetic. He isn’t just highly empathetic with me. He’s like this with my daughter and our other cats as well. We’ll get into more specifics about feline empathy later. For now, just enjoy the AWW!
Here he is petting me:
That’s all for this week!