Humans are weird. Well, I guess you already know that, but I’m confused by this one guy in particular. He comes over to visit my human and they hang out in the living room, chatting for hours. He is very polite and does not rudely go chasing after me, trying to grab and pet me before I’m ready like some of her other friends do. This guy just sits there, not looking at me. In fact, he averts his gaze when I’m in the room, showing his respect and deference to me. So of course, I’m inclined to go over and say hello, but when I do, he stands up immediately and says to my human, “Tell your cat to go away!” I don’t get it — first his body language indicates he’s cool, and then he gets all hysterical. What’s wrong with him?
Flummoxed in Fresno
Humans are even weirder than you think! They often do the very opposite of what you expect them to do, and have a very different language from us kitties. This friend of your human’s is a prime example. He gives you all the signals a friendly cat would when entering your turf — but he is totally not friendly. When it comes to humans, looking away is not a gesture of respect at all. It could mean they are shifty and not to be trusted or that they are lying or guilty about something. In this case, it seems that he fears you and wants to avoid eye contact. He is trying to pretend that you are not there, and hoping you will do the same. Why? I have no idea. It could be any number of things. Maybe he is allergic — not so badly that he can’t come visit, but bad enough that if he touches you, he’ll get itchy, watery eyes and break out in a rash. Or maybe he is afraid of cats, someone human psychologists call an ailurophobe. Or perhaps he doesn’t like cats (which makes me wonder what he is doing in your home to begin with!). In any case, he actually does not want anything to do with you — and because he is a clueless human, he is giving off the type of signals that make you want to get to know him better!
Now, if this human were really smart and did not want you around, he would do exactly the same thing your human’s so-called cat loving friends do: go after you and try to pick you up! This is a sure signal to us kitties that someone is not to be trusted, and we stay as far away as possible. That kind of behavior would have me hiding under the bed in no time. But typical human that he is, he behaves just the opposite of the way he should — and gets what he unintentionally asked for.