Is Your Meezer a Monkey Cat?
Siamese cats are part monkey, no question. They are skilled climbers, always loving to view the world from way up high, and they can have some serious grabby hands. The immediate answer for why they do this? Curiosity, curiosity, curiosity. Your Siamese wants to know what all is going on in his domain, and the floor is way too limiting. And he doesn’t just want to see, he wants to touch, smell, chew, maybe eat… the full-on sensory experience.
Not Just Curiosity, But Affection Too
But also, it is a sign of affection and closeness. Your cat not only wants to see the world on your level, he wants to communicate on your level. And that means being in your face, literally. This is not as distasteful as it sounds. There are lots of purrs, head bonks, nuzzles, and face touching. He wants to climb on your back, drape over your shoulder, and be carried around. It’s a bonding time, and the only reason to discourage it is if you are trying to manage allergies to cat dander. Otherwise, you will come to develop little routines and signals that make your relationship with your meezer extra-special.
This is How We Do It
Gremlin (who we almost named “Gibbon”) could not jump onto my shoulder when he was a baby, but that didn’t stop him from trying! He learned to maow and reach up for me to pcik him up. It was so endearing; the only down side was if I didn’t notice his cries, he would take matters into his own claws and climb up my leg. Now that he is bigger and stronger he can, for the most part, make a clean jump himself. This is good and bad. Even though his claws are out, I don’t get scratched as often, but it can still be a bit of a shock if I’m not expecting it. Fortunately Gremlin is apprehensive around strangers, so we are not worried that he will “surprise” our guests. But I am still trying to teach him to be more patient for me to understand his signals, and for my part I’m trying to be more observant.
When we are communicating well, it looks more like this: Gremlin races me down the stairs, jumps on top of the dryer, then waits for me to come along and sling him over my shoulder. We take a walk and he looks all around, grabbing for whatever strikes his fancy, until I put him down a few minutes later. Counter surfing is a big no-no, especially during meal prep, so instead Gremlin hops from windowsill, to refrigerator, to the top of the cabinets, where he can look down on me. If I pick him up and he doesn’t want it, I get face-touching that is more claws out and pushing away… But when he is feeling affectionate, he gives a little meow before jumping into my arms. That’s when I get nuzzles and soft face-touching.
Can You Teach Your Cat to Do It Too?
What if your Siamese is not a Monkey Cat, and moreover does not like to be held? You can teach him to enjoy it! Start by picking him up and gently placing his front paws on your shoulder. Don’t take him by surprise; find moments when he is already being affectionate. While he will be nervous, he will also be curious and will be looking at all the things higher up that he may not have noticed before! As soon as he is ready to get down, place him on the floor as smoothly as possible. Repeat until he is relaxed when you sling him over your shoulder. Then you can start walking around with him. Over time, you and your baby will enjoy this bit of bonding.