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CG’s & Ellie’s Love Languages

May 6, 2013

The other day I brought up the question: Do cats have love languages?

CG & Ellie 2

Ellie and CG.

Even if you think it’s a bunch of bunk, I think there’s something to be said for showing your cat love in a variety of ways, regardless of the theory behind it. But I do think there’s something to it. And let me explain why.

All of our cats have different personalities, obviously. I think this also means that they appreciate certain types of love and affection more than others (which ties in with the love languages idea). By showing our cats love and attention in the ways they appreciate most, we’ll likely build strong relationships with them. If we don’t show them love, at all or the ways they like, odds are our bond won’t be as strong.

I think the love languages idea gives us a starting point to better understand our cats. Think about times when your cat was especially happy or motivated. Was it because you just played together? Perhaps you had just given him a treat, or scratched him under his chin.

While some actions may yield seemingly universal responses (scratches under the chin and treats are thought of as things all cats love), paying close attention to your cat should reveal what they like and appreciate most.

For example, as much as cats love treats, most of the time Ellie could care less about them.

We have a ritual – treats before bed – and every night CG sits by me as I brush my teeth, patiently waiting for his treat. Meanwhile, there are nights when I have to go find Ellie to give her a treat, and the times she is around, I think it’s only because CG is. Obviously, treats (and possibly the attention that comes when they’re given out) are significantly more important to CG, since he’s made it a habit to make sure he gets one every night. On the other end of the spectrum we have Ellie, who clearly doesn’t care about them since she doesn’t make them a priority.

It’s little differences in behavior like this that have helped me consider and determine our cats’ love languages, that is, how they feel love.

Ellie 17

Ellie as a kitten.

When it comes to Ellie, her love language is definitely physical touch. She’s a cat that absolutely NEEDS to be held, petted, snuggled, head-butted, and whatever else she comes up with. She’s thrilled just to sit on a lap or cuddle close in bed. Nothing gets her purr box going more. Sometimes in bed she’ll even just reach out an arm and place a paw on one of us.

That said, I think quality time does play a role here, but most of the time she just wants to be on or near me. Simple as that. As easy as it was to determine Ellie’s love language, determining CG’s was a bit more difficult.

CG’s  love language only really occurred to me the other day, and after I put two and two together, I think it’s helped our relationship considerably.

CG LOVES quality time. He has been spoiled and beyond loved since day one, which should have been a major clue. While adopting Ellie was definitely the right choice for us all, it has meant that he receives less quality time with me specifically. This was especially true when Ellie was very little and needed so much more attention and assistance than CG.

As time has gone on, CG gravitated more toward Matt, and I thought it was just a guy thing. He’s always been fond of Matt, and I thought it was natural for his love for Matt to grow. It didn’t dawn on me until recently that one of the factors may have been because CG was feeling loved from Matt since he got quality time with him, something he wasn’t getting from me. For months, Matt had been telling me this, but it didn’t click. I was taking care of CG and loving him, but not in the way he needed it from me – one-on-one quality time.

You can’t imagine how awful and convicted I felt when I realized it. So now, I make a daily effort to spend more time with him. Every day we have a just-me-and-CG play time. I also try to give him more snuggles, especially when we’re alone, comb him more often, and do other fun things, like go to the basement with him. I intentionally speak to him more often, and I try to approach him first when we get home.

CG 20

CG likes to be a part of everything!

At first I was afraid that shifting my attention slightly would impact Ellie, but she hasn’t skipped a beat. She doesn’t care who I say hi to first, so long as I say hi to her with a kiss and a snuggle. However, I think the priority I try to give to CG does help him and his confidence.

While we’re still working on this, I’ve seen slight changes in his behavior already. He now sleeps next to my chair when I work from home, he approaches me more often for play time, and he even sometimes sleeps near me in bed now.

I’m not seeing drastic differences, but that’s OK. I’m not trying to become  CG’s favorite. I just don’t want him to question the love I have for him.

So there we have it! I’ll continue to update you if there are any more developments or progress.

In the meantime, please share with me: Do you know what your cat’s love language may be? Are you loving your cat in that way, or are there other things you can do to show him or her extra love? Please share in the comments!

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One Comment leave one →
  1. May 6, 2013 10:42 am

    Our cat Truffle is definitely into quality time! She’s ambivalent about petting, and doesn’t really like to be picked up, but she perks up so much and purrs and purrs if we’ll just hang out near her and talk to her, and hold a hand out so she can pet herself on it when she wants to. We’ve had a similar experience of accidentally neglecting her because our other kitten, now ten months old, is very outgoing, and will always seek us out for attention, whereas Truffle will just wait quietly for us to approach her. I didn’t think I needed to make an effort to give her attention she wasn’t asking for, but then she started subtly acting out and I changed my tune! We’re learning how to balance our cats’ needs better these days.

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