Although cats and their Guardians do not speak the same oral language, we are often able to communicate our intentions to one another non-verbally. In fact, the very first connection I ever made with the Guardians came when I saw one of them look out the window at Me and do the slow blink that I call “Kitty Kissy Eyes”.
I was wandering alone in the wilderness at the time. As the son of two feral cats, I thought humans were frightening creatures to be avoided. But when I saw a human looking out the window directly at Me, and then slowly blinking her eyes and opening them again, it stopped Me in My tracks. Thinking that I must be seeing things, I walked right up to the window, sat down and stared up at her. She did it again and I felt compelled to do it back! A momentary sense of calm washed over Me, but then I became uneasy at the strangeness of the interaction and slowly retreated. Over the course of the following five months, both of those who would become the Guardians of Otis exchanged Kitty Kissy Eyes with Me, and in the end, this small gesture played a huge role in gaining My trust.
You too can help instill a sense of calmness and trust in kitties through the use of Kitty Kissy Eyes. Limbo kitty Domino will demonstrate how it is done. First, you look directly at the kitty, letting a sense of calm and relaxation wash over you. You have to let all your tension go or the kitty will sense it and feel uneasy.
Second, slowly move your eyelids together until they are about 95% closed. Breath deeply and continue to project a sense of calmness and relaxation.
Finally, slowly open your eyelids until you are once again making eye contact with the kitty.
Throughout the interaction, keep your eyes as soft, and non-threatening as possible. You will know you have successfully delivered your message of peace and calm if kitty does the Kitty Kissy Eyes back at you.
Give it a try, both with your own cats and with those you don’t know. You’ll be surprised at how strongly some of us will respond to this familiar gesture!
So Sayeth Otis