The Star-Herald

Your cat needs attention?

My little brown tiger kitty, Willie, seems to be getting more vocal the older he gets.  It’s almost like he is sassing us to get up, sassing to fill his food bowl “quickly,” sassing to go out (he is an indoor kitty) and sassing for no apparent reason. 

When a cat wants attention, they’ll pull out all the stops until they get what they want. And although each has their own personality, they probably exhibit some of the needy cat behavior that resonates with all feline lovers.

And, according to Christine O’Brien at hillspet.com, if that doesn’t work, they have a lot more tricks, such as these classic moves guaranteed to distract you. 

Meow: A cat’s main method of communication is her meow, the pitch and tones of which change depending on what she’s trying to tell you. If you’re home doing something other than focusing on her, for example, she may start with a quiet but persistent meow that sounds similar to a newborn’s cry. Then she’ll move on to a loud screech that’ll have you running to her side, or to the other room, only to find her sitting there with an innocent “Who, me?” look on her face.

Stare at You: Sometimes all your cat needs to do is look up at you with her big, adorable eyes to command your attention. Without words she says, “You will do what I say.” Although an implicit approach to annoy you, you simply can’t ignore the intensity of her gaze. Suddenly you’ve stopped what you’re doing to give her your full attention. What just happened? 

Sit on Your Laptop: Another common yet effective move is sitting on your laptop (or tablet, book, newspaper, magazine, dinner plate, etc.). This is your persistent purrer’s way of saying she is the most important thing in your life. She may have you fooled into thinking she’s on your computer because it’s warm, but she’s really just asserting her dominance over the inanimate object that stands in her way. “Why look at this big metal square when you can look at me?” 

Wait Outside at Your Door:  If you’re new to cat parenthood, you may think you can simply close your bedroom or office door for peace and quiet. But that is just not the case. Your cat will paw, scratch and knock at that door until it opens. And she’ll keep this up for hours, counting on your patience to crack before hers. So …. just open your door.

Knock Things off the Table:  Your furry friend uses this foolproof move only when you’re nearby. If you’re not around, there’s no point. Clever cats will locate the item you most treasure and slowly but deliberately push it to the edge of the table, dresser or shelf, giving you just enough time to run over and catch the heirloom before it falls. If you’re engrossed enough in what you’re doing, however, she’ll send that item crashing to the floor. Either way, she won your attention.

Bring Presents:  Cats want to please their pet parents, and one of the ways they do so is bringing “gifts” to them. This surprise may include catnip toys, stuffed animals, or a dead mouse.  The trick works especially well if a cat wants attention. Once she chooses the item most likely to get you out of your chair and over to her food dish, she’ll drop it at your feet and howl until she receives your praise.

No matter which moves your feline pal chooses, keep in mind a cat’s attention-seeking behavior can last for hours, so you may as well give your fur baby more of what she wants: your love and affection (and maybe some more cat food). After all, you got a cat to share your love with; you might as well show it. 

Please be responsible: spay and neuter your pets.  

Gloria J. Towle is the secretary and a member of the board of directors of the Central Aroostook Humane Society.

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