Cats on Laps

animal wisdom cat cat wisdom cats Feb 07, 2023
Tabby cat with green eyes

Sounds like a song title - or maybe a Dr. Seuss book. "I have a lap and have a cat. My cat loves laps and all of that."

Cats are as individual as humans when it comes to hugs, cuddles and touching - or not. 

We have a tortoiseshell cat named Torbie. She came to us when she was about four months old. Glenn had stopped in at our favorite pet food store for some dog food, and there she was, sitting in the rescue cat armory, staring at him. Glenn is not the type to be taken in by a sweet green-eyed glare, but there was something about her that said, "WHERE have you been? I've been waiting for you, and I'm tired of this cage, even though it's big and spacious and better than anything else I've seen in my short life."

I'm sticking close to the food dishes.

He came home, talked to me, and we added a cat to our family.

As far as we know, Torbie was abandoned as a kitten and spent the first few months of her life under the porch of the house where her original people used to live. Someone saw her, trapped her and the next thing she knew she was spayed and in a very nice enclosure waiting for her forever home (us, it turns out).

Torbie is at least 10 years old and still looks like a kitten. She weighs about six pounds soaking wet. And she's tough. 

Close enough!

When we first brought her home, she wanted nothing to do with humans. She wasn't too fond of dogs, either, or the other cats. Who could blame her? She'd been fending for herself for months. I'm sure she figured this was going to be another disappointment. She wasn't fierce about her opinion, but she kept her distance, and hated being held or fussed over. "Give me my food, and keep those other cats out of the way. I'm good here on my own."

It was literally years before she decided maybe we were okay. At first, she'd let us pet her, and her body would betray how much she wanted to be loved. She'd arch her back. She'd purr. Then she'd look embarrassed and dance away.

One day, after four or five years of running the other direction at a soft look from one of us, she decided to give a lap a try. After all, some of the other cats were lapping it and surviving. Maybe it was okay.

Torbie (up close) and Ellie (on legs) sharing lap space. An unusual occurrence.

Not only was it okay, it was very okay. She has become one of those that will leap into any lap. If we sits, she laps. I have to keep a blanket in my office because even though she's small, she has the claws of a cougar (and there's no way those are getting trimmed). The blanket protects my legs from her kneading. She doesn't even notice when she goes into kitten mode. It's where she goes when she's happy and content, and I'm fine with a blanket on my lap while she lets herself be the baby she could never be when she was living under that porch keeping herself alive.

We have five cats. Three are confirmed lap cats, including our other tortie, Ellie, who apparently had some good lap experiences before becoming part of what was a hoarding situation and then rescued. Lynkx, our elder boy, is another lap lover. Ry, interestingly, would rather lay on the back of the couch, although he is affectionate to the extreme and loves nighttime bed cuddles. And Jackson, who came from another large semi-feral colony of cats, has not yet reached the "you can pick me up" stage, preferring to be petted (a huge step, when he first came to us we could barely touch him) while doing drive bys against your legs. A lap is a long way in his future.

Jackson: "Close enough."

I love that they are so individual, and as our relationship with each of them develops, they trust us enough to show us what they want and need. It doesn't get any better than that.

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