Thursday, November 3, 2011

Do your cats groom you? What does it mean?

Lucy the cat is sleeping in her bed
Lucy is tuckered out after a long grooming session.
While I don't make a habit of crawling around on the floor, there are times when I need to stretch, do exercises, pick up a sock or otherwise get a bit low to the ground. Lately, I've had to do a few shoulder stretches on the floor, so I am lying there for a few minutes at a time, several times per day. Lucy has decided that I need grooming when I am doing these exercises, so she'll run up to my head and start cleaning away at my hair.

Turns out, many cats will groom the heads of their owners. It apparently doesn't have much significance, except the cat is demonstrating an overwhelming amount of affection through the process. Cats who groom you take you as part of the pack, so you get the same treatment they'd give another cat.

I can't say that I like it much, however. Cat spit doesn't make a great styling product, and the idea of a cat standing on my hair while I'm trying to stretch doesn't increase my comfort level. So for now, I have to shoo away this affection. Perhaps she'll find a different way to show her love in the future.

If your cat tries to groom you and you dislike it, you can try redirecting the affection. Break up the love fest with a quick game of play with a feather toy or a laser. If that doesn't work, try giving kitty a treat to snack on. Even a nibble of catnip would work. That way, your cat has something to do with her mouth, and you have a chance to escape.

But if kitty is persistent, there is a nuclear option. Lucy will redirect love from me to anything else that's alive. If she licks me like crazy, I can put her in a bed with the pug or with her cat siblings. They don't mind the love as I do.

Good luck!