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The 5 Stages of My Cat Welcoming My Visiting Friends

Cosmo knows a friend from a stranger. He'll lick his butt for friends -- and then ignore them.

Angie Bailey  |  May 2nd 2016


Cosmo’s a pretty friendly guy, but definitely knows the difference between visitors he knows and flat-out strangers who stop by our place. If he senses the person is unfamiliar, he spends the entire visit under my bed. If he recognizes the voice and energy of a friend, he proceeds to the five stages of “Cosmo and the friendly visitor” routine. Here’s how it usually plays out:

1. He hides

I know he's not hiding under the bed, but this pic is way cuter and who wants to see a photo of the area beneath my bed? Nobody.

I know he’s not hiding under the bed, but this pic is way cuter, and who wants to see a photo of the area beneath my bed? Nobody.

The moment anyone opens the front door (including me), his go-to move is to dash into my bedroom and dive under the bed. He wants to make sure he’s well concealed, just in case the “intruder” is the maintenance guy or a mystery neighbor. Stranger danger!

I totally get it. I can be a bit of an an introvert and would love to hide under the bed when I feel antisocial. Well, maybe not under the bed — that sounds highly uncomfortable. Maybe under the covers on top of the bed.

Many years ago, we had a food delivery guy who would regularly stop by our home, hoping we’d give him an order. We ordered a few times, but weren’t all that impressed with the offerings — plus, it was expensive. Even though we stopped ordering, he’d continue to stop by for a weekly visit. I’ll just admit I’m not great at saying no to salespeople, and was terrible at it back then. So, for a couple of months, we’d duck into the dark hallway and pretend we weren’t home when he’d knock at the door. Silly. All our lights were on and my car was in the driveway. Poor guy just wanted to sell us some frozen peas. If you’re a food delivery person and are reading this, please accept my sincere apology to your collective community.

2. He cautiously emerges

In the words of Adam Ant, "Friend or Foe?"

In the words of Adam Ant, “Friend or Foe?”

Once he’s identified the person as one of the usual suspects, he guardedly makes his way out of the bedroom and walks cautiously around the corner, making sure the coast is clear. Seriously: The cat walks in slow motion. You never know — the visitor could be a shapeshifter who’s turned into a pizza delivery driver. This stage must be handled with delicacy and deliberation. He’s nailed that part.

3. He investigates

Cosmo and Jodi spend some time reconnecting. Cosmo hopes that includes treats. It does.

After he’s certain he is well familiar with the person in his space, he takes the next step of smelling them and making some sort of connection … just to be sure. Sometimes he settles right in and curls up next to the friend. Sometimes the friend gives him treats. This works extraordinarily well in the friend’s favor and ensures a Velcro Cat experience for most of the stay.

4. He relaxes

"This is the part where I lick my backside. Ready, set ..."

“This is the part where I lick my backside. Ready, set …”

At some point, Cosmo resumes his regular, cool-guy routine, which includes bathing himself in open areas and chasing his favorite crinkle ball across the floor. Showing off a little? Of course. So his antics are always followed by a series of compliments like “good boy!” and “look at you go!” He’s so proud when he hears those calls of admiration directed at him. Who wouldn’t love that kind of attention? Every once in a while I like to be on the receiving end of a “look at you go!”

5. He ignores

"Unless you have more  treats, kindly move along."

“Unless you have more treats, kindly move along.”

Once he’s completely confident of the visitor’s non-threatening nature, he fully sinks into his feline swagger. That includes ignoring every human’s attempt at trying to engage him in a good time. It’s like when we first meet someone and are cautious and on our best behavior. Then, after we’ve become close, we (usually) have no trouble burping around them or hanging out in our pajama pants and ripped T-shirts. Not that I do any of that. No, I totally do. Don’t lie — you do it, too.