Saturday 5 May 2012

Should We Kiss Our Cat?

Yes, of course but...This is a controversial subject or a non-subject. It depends on your point of view. Nearly all of us kiss our cat. I do all the time and recommend it. We have an urge to do it. I am making the presumption that we are cat lovers and that we like cats; not everyone does.

The usual place to kiss your cat is probably on the forehead. I can remember a visitor to one of my Flickr photographs of a black cat annotating the photo "kiss". The spot was bang in the middle of the forehead.

But she would not have been able kiss that cat in my opinion because the cat was a fourth generation from the wild Savannah cat who had little contact with people. If you could get close to her and lean forward to kiss her on the forehead she would have backed off well before you got close. There would have been a risk of defensive action by her.

We kiss a cat for our benefit. Cats don't kiss each other. They greet in various ways but the nearest they get to a kiss is to touch noses. It is a greeting and they are probably smelling each other.

Cats are much smaller than us and our heads are a large object. Cats in general don't like large objects approaching them. They might become a bit anxious. It depends very much on the individual cat. Certainly if the kiss is placed on the forehead and the person approaches from the front, a cat might back off even if she knows you. Also some cats don't like to have the whole body of a person leaning and towering over them. Leaning forward to kiss a cat can mean that you tower over a cat. It depends on your positioning.

There is a slight risk of getting scratched on the face if you place your head quickly in front of a cat; especially if the cat is not familiar with you.

So, one possible downside is a scratch. What about ringworm? Ringworm is one of the most common diseases in cats. It is easily transmitted between cats and I am told that it is one of the most common diseases in rescue cats. I suppose this is because they are close together.

Ringworm can be transmitted from a cat to a person. It is conceivable that you could get ringworm from your cat if you kiss her. Ringworm normally develops at the site of contact. A cat with ringworm rubbing against your leg might result in ringworm on your leg. I have a seen a picture of man with ringworm all over his neck having cuddled his rescue cat.

Don't get me wrong. This is not a criticism of cats. I love cats. But I also like a bit of realism. We should respect our cat fully but also respect his or her behavior as a domesticated small wildcat and observe common sense in relation to possible downsides from what is an essentially a very pleasurable experience: kissing your cat.

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