Each of my cats has its own idiosyncrasies. All cats do. Each has its preference when it comes to attention, and where they enjoy being petted or stroked. Josie used to trouble me because she wasn’t a lap-cat, nor did she lie beside me while I read or watched a movie. To give her the attention she deserved, I had to dedicate a specific time and place. As you may imagine, this was not always easy when opportunities are limited. I sometimes felt that she was being cheated.
But since moving into the apartment, the Great White has developed a new way of enjoying moments with me. It’s the chin-rub. She’s always been partial to them, but now they are her main source of physical pleasure. Frequently, all it takes is for me to walk into a room for Josie to fall over on her side, inviting me to give her scratches under her little head.
These usually comprise just the minimal movement of my index finger back and forth against her fur. I can feel her purr even before I start. She will periodically stand, turn in a circle or walk away, only to return to where she had been and drop down again. Thereupon, I resume my rubbing of her chin.
The advantage of this action is that I can work at my computer and attend to Josie, lying on the bed next to it, at the same time. I can type swiftly with one hand (actually with one finger and a thumb) so, though design work suffers, actual composition continues adequately. I am never at my computer for long, but if Josie is enjoying herself, I will find something to do on it.
Eventually, the rubs leave my finger and hand sore, but I don’t worry. After ten or fifteen minutes of chin-rubbing, my Chubs appreciates simply lying on my hand. Her purring continues, and she closes her eyes. At last, like most cats, she decides that she has had enough for the moment, and moves, usually to another spot on the bed. My duty is done, her quota is filled.
It never seems to take much to give pleasure to an animal. A kind word, preferably in a funny voice; a few minutes of petting; some play: these can make a cat or dog happier than a hoard of gold will a human. And, unless you’re the sort who wouldn’t bother to stroke a cat’s head in the first place, such gladness in an animal will create similar gladness in you.