Sunday, January 8, 2012

Cat Communication

I had to sneak out of the house today. I slipped on my rubber boots, and trudged through our long grass on the back side of our fence to avoid our cat, Solomon. Well, I didn’t actually have to sneak out but Solomon has developed the habit of following us on our walks to the headlands. I’ve seen enough signs of missing cats in our neighborhood to know I’d rather have him stay safely within our fenced yard. He started this new habit over the holidays when our family took a long walk near the ocean. At the time, he was enjoying all the togetherness and didn’t want to miss out. At first he followed some distance behind but soon he was leading the way. Take a look:

And here he is stopping to enjoy the view:

Our cat is approaching 15 years, so he’s rather old for a cat. He’s never been too excited about exercise and he was panting like a dog before we got home. (We tried to carry him back but he would have none of that.) This made me think of how important relationships are to all creatures. Solomon was making a sacrifice to keep the family together. He can’t communicate using words, but he communicated through his actions. And when you think of it, we humans also communicate volumes to the people around us through our actions. Research has long shown that the majority of our communication is nonverbal. That includes body language, facial expressions, tone of voice, gestures, eye contact, posture, and proximity to others. Some children, especially those on the autism spectrum, need help with this area of communication so they can develop and grow in their relationships with others. Many adults, as well, need reminders about to use nonverbal cues effectively.

And that brings me back to my excursions through the long grass behind our home.  I wonder what my body language was communicating to the neighbors when they saw me sneaking around the back fence?


  1. I love your blog! Thank you for stopping by my blog and voting. You are so right...thank you for your thoughtful words.

  2. And thank you, Debra, for your kind words.