Where there’s a will, there’s a way!

A recent study published by the New York Times shows that cats are more social animals than we think. While dogs are known to be social animals, cats are seen as aloof. Their relationship with their owners was thought to be more of food dependence.
The study measured bonds formed between cats and their owners in an experiment usually used on dogs and primates. Surprisingly, 65 per cent of the cats showed an attachment similar to that of dogs and human children.
The study also showed that cats recognize their names and are sensitive to human emotions. Well, to us cat owners this is old news. When it comes to name recognition, my old fat cat Mansoor responds to different names given to him by different individuals at home. And so do the outdoor cats, who recognize their names and responds specifically to it.
As for attachment, few cats go beyond that and develop a funny obsession with the owner like that of my two stray cats Duja and Naeemo. Both are outdoor cats who decided to become indoor ones, just because they liked me too much.
Duja was a few weeks old kitten when he started following me everywhere, jumping on my lap as I sat on the ground to give away food to the rest. Whenever the door opened, Duja would run inside looking for me and meowing in an annoying manner that sounded like: “Mamaaaaa!”.
At home we thought it was funny while my visiting cousins found it spooky, why would a cat call me Mama? As he became older the obsession intensified.
While having workers painting our house, Duja used to climb the scaffolds to the balcony of my room to get in. His Romeo-like devotion finally paid off, when he fell one day and broke his leg. We had to keep him indoors for six weeks and by then everyone was tired of kicking him out. We gave in and now Duja is always found lying on my bed, kicking the rest of the cats out of “his room.’’
Naeemo’s case is no different than Duja’s. Her obsession developed after having her first litter. Being young and unexperienced, Naeemo left the kittens exposed which I found extremely risky. I decided to build them a shelter out of two plastic chairs and a blanket. She was forever grateful and started stalking me around the house. Each morning, Naeemo would climb the tree and meow outside my window. Then she made a hole in the window’s net and found an access indoors where food heaven was.
When her kittens were old enough, they started following suit and you’d hear alarming cries as some of them got stuck half way on a branch. When her third and last litter were old enough, Naeemo decided to focus on a new life-time goal: becoming an indoor cat. She discovered that the shortest way was to befriend my brother, who’s unimmune to cats’ charms.
Whenever my brother came home from work, Naeemo would welcome him, walk him right to his room and stay by his side purring happily. The indoor cats — led by Mansoor — understood clearly her invasion plan and decided to stop her. She fought hard and had an extra trick up her sleeve: to trap her rivals in the balcony and send them flying off like a good old sky diving instructor. Thanks to their nine lives, the cats survived her surprise manoeuvre — suffering from shock only. Naeemo still thrives and reigns my brother’s room from every cat’s dais: the bed. When there is a will, there is a way!
Rasha al Raisi is a certified skills trainer and the author of: The World According to Bahja. rashabooks@yahoo.com