You may be familiar with the slow blink kitty kiss. A calm and trusting cat shows their love or approval of humans by slowly closing their eyes in a slow blink. We can return the ‘kitty kiss” by slowly blinking back. If you wear glasses remove them first so the cat can clearly see your eyes. As a life long cat lover I’d noticed this behavior but never thought to give it a name but Anitra Frazier did. Over thirty years ago she wrote about the slow blink in her book The Natural Cat. Her updated book is The Natural Cat: The Comprehensive Guide to Optimum Care
Then along came Jackson Galaxy and his show My Cat From Hell which popularized the slow blink. Less famous cat behaviorists like myself would love to see the whole world slow blinking with their cats. It’s a great way to deepen the human/cat bond. Cats with trust issues will not return a slow blink and often avert their gaze. Scientifically speaking, the slow blink isn’t actually a mechanism for trust but is associated with feeling relaxed and happy. It’s a huge breakthrough when a cat finally blossoms with love and trust to feel at ease.
When our former feral Domino (seen above) began returning my slow blink, it was a milestone. When our fearful semi-feral Angel Gris Gris slow blinked me back it was like winning the love lottery. Scientists say the blinking isn’t necessarily love but non-aggression. Cats slow blink other cats they live with and cats outdoors who aren’t threats. When cats feel aggressive or threatened they will display a hard unbllnking stare. You can gaze all goo goo eyed at your lover but if you get into a staring contest with a cat without blinking they will perceive you as a threat.
Whether a cat is motivated by non-aggression or love, the slow blink cat kiss is a winner. If you’re already a fan of slow blinking you can go beyond to the next level of a cat kiss. I’m sure you’ll see copycat versions down the road but you saw it here first.
A couple of years ago I began to experiment with combining the slow blink with a visualization I call the love cloud. I’ve used visualization as a tool for stress for over twenty years. I touched on it in this article at PetFinder.com last year and feel visualization it has many useful applications with pets.
With Valentine’s Day around the corner, I can’t think of a better gift for you and your cat but my love cloud cat kiss. Enjoy it with a cat you love!
The Love Cloud Cat Kiss
by Layla Morgan Wilde
Like all things in life, practice make purrfect. This will take time to master but you and your cat are worth it.
Choose a time when you’re feeling relaxed and not rushed. Unplug from digital devices. Only 5 minutes. You can do it!
Go to the room where your cat is hanging out. After meal time is good. The cat doesn’t have to be next to you. A few feet away is fine. The bed, sofa or carpeted floor are all good places.
Sit or lie down comfortably. Close your eyes and take a deep breath into your belly. If you’re not used to belly breathing, place your hand on your belly and when inhaling the belly will rise and not the chest. Take another belly breath and slowly exhale. After a few more slow deep breathes you will begin to feel more relaxed. Notice if and where you’re feeling tension. There might be a twinge in your neck or tightness in your back. Just notice and breathe into the tension and exhale with an open-mouthed cleansing release. Let it go. Let the day and any concerns float way with every breath.
It’s amazing how even two or three minutes of this practice with reduce stress. Cats are constantly picking up on our energy and will mirror our feelings or internalize them. If you’re super stressed cats will notice. They may appear stressed or develop a stress reaction or behavior like excess grooming or peeing out of the litter box. Anything we can do to reduce our stress levels will benefit our cats.
Once you’re feeling relaxed, imagine a small pink cloud of pure love in the center of your heart. With your eyes still closed, imagine or visualize in your mind’s eye, the pink cloud growing and floating until you can feel the love cloud all around you. Feel the safe, cozy warmth. Sense the texture. This is your creation and you can make your love cloud to look, feel, smell and even sound anyway you want.
Send the love cloud over to the cat. Imagine the pink love cloud floating from your heart into theirs and surrounding their body in a cocoon of love. Open you eyes and softly call your cat by name. Notice their reaction. Some cats will already be attracted to the energy and ready snuggle up near you.
Once you make eye contact, slowly close your eyes in a slow blink and verbally or silently say, I love you. Open your eyes and repeat a few times until the love blink is returned.
Chances are the cat will slow blink you back but they may not especially if they are fearful or stressed. In this case, stop and try again another day.
Some cats may come over to you with a real kiss, headbonk (bunting) wanting a snuggle or petting. Some cats may feel so dreamy they’ll have a snooze. Others will feel playful and will want you to play with them. Follow your cat’s lead.
With practice, you’ll be able to do the love cloud cat kiss anywhere, anytime. Try it on the street with feral cats, with your friend’s cats or even the big cats at the zoo. It also works with dogs. Well, truth be told, it works on any living thing. All we need is love.
Happy Valentine’s Day!