Lots of people know that it’s cool to be kind nowadays, and I do my best to perform random acts of kindness whenever I can — without getting overly sappy, of course. I recently realized that my cat, Tulip, pays it forward pretty often herself. Here are five random acts of cat kindness and pictures that illustrate them:
1. Follow the leader
One of my favorites is an act of cat kindness I like to call “follow the leader.” This is more noticeable during an extended period of time at home, such as a day off. You’re cooking in the kitchen and feel little cat eyes boring into the back of your head. You turn around and there she is, eyes like saucers, waiting patiently for your next move. You smile and realize you forgot the oregano in the pantry and go to grab it.
As you turn to exit the pantry, you hear a high-pitched squeal and the oregano bounces to the floor. Oops, you almost landed face first in fur! Your cat thought it was imperative to follow you that mere 10 feet, since you certainly wouldn’t be right back. Five minutes later, you run to use the bathroom and nearly close the door on your cat’s tail. There she is again!
If anyone else was following me all over the house and analyzing my every move, it could get a little annoying. Or just plain creepy. But for some reason when Tulip does it, I take it as a compliment. Yes, I guess my life is that interesting, that she will make it her mission to follow me everywhere I go, all day long.
2. Marco Polo
We all played that game in the pool or lake as kids, when one person with eyes closed yells “Marco” and then the other “Polo” and you try to find each other. On those rare occasions when I’m not about to trip over Tulip and I actually need to check on her whereabouts, this random act of cat kindness comes into play. “Tu-lip,” I call sweetly. “Tu-LIP,” I call again. I won’t pretend I don’t have to do it several times (remember she IS still a cat) but after a few attempts, she’ll saunter in the room, make eye contact with me expectantly, and answer with an adorable chirp, which says, “Right here!”
This is an especially appreciated random act of cat kindness because on multiple occasions, I’ve called Tulip’s name incessantly with no response. This causes a brief panic where I think she surely either escaped or disappeared. Fifteen minutes later, I find her wedged far underneath the claw foot bathtub, shooting me an agitated look of boredom.
3. The super-close cuddle
Every cat performs this random act of cat kindness a little differently. But it always seems to take place on the days when we really could use a little love. Maybe you had a bad day at work, you’re battling a nasty cold, or you want to murder your significant other/friend/mother. In any case, your cat will find the perfect nook to cuddle up as close to you as physically possible and make you feel like maybe, just maybe, life will get better soon.
Tulip likes to nuzzle her soft face right into my neck, stretching her arms across my chest. She also enjoys doing the “chicken sit” (front paws curled under) on my stomach or back. Other cats prefer to nuzzle into the spot behind your knees while you lie on your side, or they wedge themselves under your armpit. No matter what type of super-close cuddle your cat does or how rare it may be, it’s definitely one of the most treasured random acts of cat kindness.
4. Playing fetch
Before I adopted Tulip, I never thought that a cat was even capable of soliciting a person to play. I realized I was dead wrong the first time Tulip stood in front of me in my bedroom, a black shoelace dangling from her mouth, meowing pleadingly.
She doesn’t do this frequently, but when she does, I absolutely drop everything to drag that ridiculous string around and play with her! It is beyond endearing that she wants to play so badly, and without fail I give in. How is it kind? I think it’s simply the smile I can’t keep off my face when it happens.
This is a random act of cat kindness enacted by Tulip’s catmate, Jack. Whenever he does it, I laugh hysterically and the soft spot for pets in my heart gets just a little mushier.
On the special occasions when I treat Tulip and Jack to tuna juice or a can of wet food, Jack demonstrates this kindness. I know it’s probably instinctual, but I never see Tulip do it, so it fascinates me. He sneaks over to Tulip’s bowl and performs an imaginary burial of the food. He scrapes the air with his paw over and around the bowl, ensuring that it’s entirely “covered.”
He takes this job extremely seriously, often continuing the burial process for several minutes and coming back to check on it a few minutes later. He’ll bury his own bowl as well, but I think it’s so sweet that he makes it his mission to conserve Tulip’s.
Does your cat practice random acts of cat kindness? Let’s talk in the comments below!
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About the author: Kate E. Lyle is a teacher by day, fitness enthusiast by night, and is forever trying to catch up on the ever-growing stack of books on her nightstand. Her precious cat, Tulip, can be found curled up next to her as she sips Pinot and scours the internet for the next travel adventure she can’t afford. A New England native, Kate is a proud cat connoisseur of Connecticut.