I’d just moved from my university halls into an independent room at a French family’s home in London. As I was greeting the family, I caught a blur of black and white sliding behind my back and running into the dining room. The gorgeous little kitty sat by her bowl of food, eating silently. In that very instant, I knew I’d be very happy in their home. But when my landlady Annick picked Poppy up and tried to introduce her to me, the fur ball pounced off her arms and disappeared in a flash.
Being a cat lover, I was heartbroken. But I wasn’t deterred. I simply let Poppy take her time to warm up to me. The first few days, she scooted off in the other direction every time I tried to get near her. I watched a few videos on cat behaviour and soon, I had found a sure shot way to befriend Poppy. One day, when she was having her dinner late at night, I decided to sit at the table and wait for her to finish. The moment she was done, I crouched down about five feet away from her, meeting her eyes at her height. Once she locked gaze with me, I blinked slowly, lovingly and then looked away. I did this twice and the next thing I knew, Poppy was right in front of me, letting me pet her!
All I’d done was say, “Hi! Can we be friends?” to the cat in her own language. It’s all anybody needs to do to befriend a reluctant cat. It’s what cat behaviourist Jackson Galaxy writes in his book Total Cat Mojo: The Ultimate Guide To Life With Your Cat: “Between the two worlds of humans and cats, the two languages, there is a fence. We must meet at that fence. Dogs will gladly jump the fence and run to our side in order to communicate; cats simply won’t, because that has never, until this point in our relationship, been part of our arrangement.”
When cats are excited, they don’t jump around you like dogs do. Instead, they show their excitement with their twitching tails and dilated pupils.
I know of many people who doubt cats ever have any feelings for their owners. They seem to think cats are too detached, and that they only ever come for cuddles when they want treats.