We’re all cat lovers. That’s why we’re here. But have you ever stopped to wonder why we find cats so incredible loveable?
With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, it seemed the perfect time to explore our fascination with our self-domesticated feline friends.
Some of that innate love could be instinct, based on cats’ unique facial features. Konrad Lorenz, who also discovered the concept of imprinting, believed that humans are drawn to baby-like features, such as large eyes. Because cats have relatively large eyes in proportion to their faces, even when grown, we feel an instinctual protectiveness over them.
The answer could also lie in how cats domesticated themselves. Unlike dogs, who were bred from wild wolves to be hunting tools and family companions, cats likely followed humans because that’s where the prey was. Throughout history, wherever humans went, vermin followed, providing an ample food source. Fast forward thousands of years and cats have figured out that humans will provide shelter, safety, and food, without all the effort.
That’s one of the reasons it’s so important to play with your cat. He has strong hunting instincts that need exercising. Even if he seems content to sleep all day, he really needs a chance to show off his skill at pouncing, chasing, and scratching. Even just a few minutes a day with a wand toy, like our Wiggly Wand can keep kitty feeling frisky and engaged.
There’s also evidence cats see us as part of their “litter,” using vocative noises like mews and chittering to attract our attention—a behavior that’s only used between mother cats and their kittens in the wild. Knowing your cat sees you as an equal is certainly reason to dole out the love.
Another piece of the puzzle may lie in a cat's unique purrs, which they use to calm themselves when they’re stressed or to express contentment. Evidence even shows that a cat’s purr can heal both cats and humans alike. And there’s nothing like a contented purring cat in your lap.
It’s also likely that some of us find cats to be a challenge, and that’s why we find them so appealing. Unlike dogs, cats usually only show affection on their terms. So when they do finally show how much they love and depend on us, it seems that much more rewarding.
If you’re a meme lover, you might adore cats because they are “made of liquid” or because “if I fits, I sits” seems to be their mantra. Cats can fit in nearly any container. In tight spaces, whiskers help them determine if the space is big enough for their body. But also, cats love a simple cardboard box or a play tunnel like our own Hide and Sneak.
In all honesty, though, it’s probably the toe beans. Have you seen the tiny cute pads on the bottoms of their feet? How can you not love a creature with such adorable toes?