For some years now, the fur has been flying in intellectual circles as eminent felines hotly debate the subject of true love. How to define it? Where do you find it? Does true feline love even exist?
The romantics claim that not only is true love alive and well, but that love at first sight is also a common and scientifically proven phenomenon. It’s easy to recognize – it feels like being hit by a can of sardines in tuna jelly. The cynics, on the other hand, argue that true love is elusive – as difficult to pinpoint as an invisible rodent. These feline skeptics claim that you can have repeated liaisons with the same tomcat over several mating seasons – and even have litters of kittens with him – but still produce no evidence of true love.
(They may have a point; everyone knows that when we cats are in heat, there’s no time to wait around for your soul-mate!)
But perhaps the nature of feline love cannot be described in black-or-white terms. It’s more likely to be a subtle shade of grey (and possibly tabby). By adopting this more balanced approach, we can see that there are ten reliable indicators of true love amongst cats. But these pointers are intended as a guide only: if it’s mating season, all bets are off.
Ten Signs it’s “The Real Thing”
1. You’re willing to EAT LESS FOOD, sharing the fishy goodness in your dish just so that you can have dinner with him. Of course, this seems like less of a sacrifice in the candlelit alley behind the local sushi restaurant. Especially when he gallantly retrieves the tidbits from the garbage for you. But to let him at your own food dish – especially on Expensive Single Serve Salmon Night – that’s probably true love.
2. You initiate him into your deepest, darkest secrets, taking him on a tour of your favorite sleeping spots. The tour includes that perfect place it took you years to discover; the blissful little nook that protects you from other cats, renders you invisible to humans, and yet captures hours of sunshine. This is a brave step to take, and demonstrates deep trust of your tomcat.
3. You let him know that you’re prepared to share your personal space. By inviting him to spray strategically on your territory, you effectively hand him the key to your place. It’s hard to go back from here. After all, how are you going to ask for your key BACK, when it’s dispersed between a large tree, the fencepost and three flowerbeds?
4. You happily listen to stories about his sporting victories with rodents for hours on end. And even when he describes that apparently mythical rat of gigantic proportions in glorious Technicolor for the sixth or seventh time, you find this endearing rather than intensely annoying.
5. As mating season approaches, you find it hard to sleep all day for worrying about the temptations which await. The thought of him being unfaithful – even at the height of the hedonistic party season – is just devastating. And, even more unusually, you have no intention of straying with other tomcats yourself.
6. It seems normal to spend your weekends watching the local catfight, cheering on one or another of the feline contenders. Before this relationship began, you wouldn’t have been caught dead at such a vulgar event, and considered catfights brutal and animalistic. Oh, and boring.
7. You feel particularly protective of a certain species of bird that lives in the neighborhood. One of these birds was nearby, singing to his mate on your first date with your tomcat, and this avian mating call is now “your song.”
8. In your rare moments of leisure, between your afternoon nap and dinnertime, perhaps you fantasize about how your kittens with him might look: would they have caramel-coloured spots on their underbellies like him? Or maybe his piercing green eyes and delicious catfood breath?
9. The very nature of your dreams has changed. Before you met him, your dreams were filled with adventures involving mice, fish, cooked chickens and large, slow-moving birdlife. But now the tone of your dreams more closely resembles one of those soppy movies your human watches on TV. Dashing romantic heroes with twitching whiskers, lavish catfood wedding cakes, and grandiose declarations of love under a sky exploding with silent fireworks (they’re not so scary without all that noise).
10. Wanting to get to know him as intimately as possible, you ask to see his kitten photos. (You can guarantee a tomcat this attractive has had the various stages of his life meticulously documented by an adoring human.) You now spend highly entertaining afternoons together at his place, dragging down the contents of his human’s bookcase, looking for the relevant photo album.
These are all tell-tale signs that you are experiencing “The Real Thing”. You are living proof of the existence of true feline love.
Diagnosing lust, by the way, is a much simpler proposition. If you’re not interested in seeing him after mating season, can’t remember his name even though some of your kittens are probably his, and would NEVER introduce him to your girlfriends, chances are that this connection belongs to the physical rather than the spiritual plane.