Do your cats have strong likes and dislikes about things that you do? My cats make it clear when they love certain actions, and they do the same with actions they aren’t so crazy about. Even with several distinctly different cats, I notice patterns and preferences when it comes to their likes and dislikes. Here’s what I mean:

They dislike having no fire at night

It’s been a pretty mild winter so far, and we don’t always need to use the wood stove. But the cats sure miss it when we don’t use it. At night, they congregate around the stove, sprawling on an old blanket, and staring plaintively at the stove windows. They will stay this way for hours, despite another heat source in the basement, with a nice area for them to sprawl. My cats must be romantics — wood stove heat is absolutely the best. We’ve taken pity upon them and started the wood stove, even when it wasn’t really needed, just for the happiness of watching the cats settle in and relax by the fire.

They dislike being shut out of the bedroom

We’ve come to a household compromise and generally let one (sometimes two) cats in the bedroom for the night, depending upon who seems to need it the most. We can’t sleep with six cats in the bedroom. But the cats on the other side of the door really pull at our heartstrings. Norton will cry at the door in a tiny, squeaky little voice. This lasts a few seconds; then he is easily distracted by something else and the bedroom is forgotten.

They dislike not being fed early

This is definitely annoying for the cats. If they haven’t been fed by 7 a.m. or so (and earlier is even better) — they’re restless, peevish, and bothered, and they let me know.

They dislike when I host a friend’s dog

The cats did pretty well when we hosted Ruby the German Shepherd, but they were a bit discombobulated and acted a bit needy. I could definitely sense the relief when the dog left.

That covers the dislikes, and it seems my cats have many more likes. Are cats naturally positive creatures? Maybe so!

They love when I clean their cat beds

Happiness is a warm, snuggly cat bed, especially if it is freshly cleaned and momentarily free of cat hair. Nothing gives me greater pleasure than seeing a cat (or two) snuggled into a fresh cat bed. We don’t yet have a bed for each cat, but cats are pretty inventive about finding other great places to snuggle.

They love having their cat beds by the wood stove

This is ultimate cat happiness. (Obviously, use common sense here — you don’t want to put anything flammable too close to a heat source — especially a heat source like a fireplace where a spark might fly out.)

They love when I take out the treats

Kieran gets a special glucosamine treat in the morning. He is highly trained to know when this bag of treats comes out, and he instantly begins talking. It’s just about the only time he ever talks, so it must be special.

They love when we play music

Music is a great cat attractant in this household. Kieran, of course, loves the piano and the guitar. But all the others gather round, as well, if the humans are singing and playing guitars. Maybe music does transcend all language!

They love when I sing to them (sometimes)

Some of my cats love the focused attention when I am singing to them. Their eyes brighten, their ears go up, and they focus on the music. On the other hand, sometimes I get flipped off.

They love special attention

What cat doesn’t love this? Especially with six, I find myself constantly making sure that someone doesn’t get lost in the shuffle and that each one gets the attention he needs. This can vary. But recently, for example, I just sensed that Chester needed a little more love and attention. So, I gave it, and we’ve fallen into some pretty neat patterns together. Chester comes and sits with me now first thing in the morning, if I am writing or meditating. I love that we’re connecting in a new way. I would love to have more cats, but aside from the financial constraints, I would worry that I couldn’t give them all the attention they need.

What actions do your cats love? Which do they dislike? Let me know in the comments.

More by Catherine Holm:

About Catherine Holm: Told that she is funny but doesn’t know it, accused of being an unintentional con artist by her husband, quiet, with frequent unannounced bursts into dancing liveliness, Cat Holm loves writing about, working for, and living with cats. She is the author of The Great Purr, the cat-themed memoir Driving with Cats: Ours for a Short Time, the creator of Ann Catanzaro cat fantasy story gift books, and the author of two short story collections. She loves to dance, be outside whenever possible, read, play with cats, make music, do and teach yoga, and write. Cat lives in the woods, which she loves as much as really dark chocolate, and gets regular inspiration shots along with her double espresso shots from the city.