Monday, August 17, 2009

King Cat Receives His Kiss

Over the last few days our orange male in-door-out-door cat Curdoroy has taken to sleeping on top of the piano. He had been sleeping mostly on a towel or blanket on the living room couch. I am thinking that the surface of the piano is cooler. He sleeps in between the lamp and the metronome. The latter is as light as a feather and close to the edge of the pianotop, but Corduroy hasn't knocked it over yet. That has always amazed me about cats. Can you imagine a small dog on top of the piano? There would nothing left up there.

In the picture above Corduroy is sleeping on the carpet by the back door in winter. I just wanted you to have an image of Curduroy in your mind.

Corduroy makes many interesting vocalizations that I have learned to understand. There is "I want out," "I plan to jump in your lap," and "come overt here and rub my ears" etc.

I like rubbing his ears and head and talking to him. I think my voice is soothing. This morning he did manage to kick over the stand that holds the piano music. It is very light and is on a delicate pivot. He must have stretched and bumped it and it pivoted and fell flat with quite a bang. It startled me, and when I looked over at Corduroy he was sitting up wild eyed, like, "what was THAT!" So I started talking to him in the soothing "good boy" voice I reserve for animals, and it seemed to settle him down.

When I got up a few minutes later I walked over to pet him, and I noticed something kind of cool. The usual routine involves rubbing his head and scratching under his chin. Sometimes he rolls over, the command to rub his tummy. Anyway, I usually talk to him in that voice reserved for animals, and pretty much always give him a kiss on top of the head before I leave.

I noticed something today. As I was bending over to give him the kiss on the head he slightly lowered his head and extended his neck giving me a clear target. I thought that interesting and ten or fifteen minutes later before I left the house I went through the same routine, and again he made that slight motion with his head. Clearly he understands that there is a routine.

I wonder why he does that? Is it to make the whole thing less annoying? Is he trying to make sure I don't contaminate his head except right on the very top? Does his cat brain have some sense of this as a gesture of something - does it mimic an action in the cat world or in cat families? I have noticed on occasion our other male cat Socks licking the top of Corduroy's head. Now Corduroy is the numero-uno cat in our cat world. He is the boss. Is receiving a lick (from another cat) or a kiss (from a person) on the top of the head a way of acknowledging his role as head cat? As King? From his standpoint is my kiss on the head an act of subservience on my part?

Animal behavior never ceases to amaze me.


Tawnya said...

Cats do have certain behaviors that are common among the species. What he is doing is the notorious "head butt." It's a way that cats greet other cats and humans as well. If he sees you coming toward him with your head, he is just reciprocating and meeting you halfway. It's a form of affection, especially between mom and kitten. If you get that gesture... you are special in his eyes. Sometimes they will head butt other parts of your body to get your attention, too. They are pretty smart creatures.

amba said...

If you kiss your cats on the (front of their) lips, pretty soon they'll start raising their lips up for a kiss. That's not cat behavior.

In exchange for that, I've taken up head-butting.

Becca said...

I get the head butt every time I feed my girl. Food goes down and she butts my hand before digging in. Yes, it's adorable.

Joel said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Joel said...

Corduroy and I do often "nuzzle" heads, so that makes sense. As far as cat lips, way too much weird bacteria for this bacteria phobe!

I posted and removed this before because of 17 spelling mistakes in sixteen words.

amba said...

Aw c'mon, it's great for the immune system.