We can play Cat Poker anytime. If we want the cat to be affectionate, we should.

A terrible thing can happen to cats when they are no longer cute. Like cut flowers or lemon meringue pies, kittens have expiration dates. Sadly, this is when many people lose interest.

Just as it starts getting really interesting.

Kitten have high energies and short attention spans. It's part of what makes them the adorable assets they are, but they are babies, and not capable of the deep relationships that are the crown jewel in the cat's Pet Crown. They are kittens for no more than a year, but they are cats for the rest of their lives.

People want to keep the relationship going, but often falter here. They are baffled and hurt by the growing kitten's display of independence, not understanding that this signals a next step in the relationship. Kittens are a parent/child relationship, as are dogs throughout their lives. But cats grow up and expect a different kind of dynamic. They want the relationship to become friend/friend.

Friends are equal players in the relationship. One person is not expected to do all the work. When the kitten turns pensive, observes us from a distance, or isn't as much of a visible presence as they used to be, some people shrug, put it down to the independence of cats, and move on.

That's not what is happening. The kitten is hoping we will miss them. They want to know if we care about them so much that we will seek them out.

So that is what we must do.

If we miss the cat, go ahead and miss the cat. Start calling them. Wonder aloud where they might be, while checking what we know are their favorite places. This shows caring, familiarity, and importance. What cat can resist that?

When we and the cat are reunited, let there be joy. We are glad to see them. They will be glad to see us.

They will, be assured they will.

Because we have just seen them and raised them. Now they have to make an extravagant gesture towards us.

They will, be assured they will.

If one thinks cats are not affectionate, one has not played who-loves-more with a cat. It's a tough game, because we have to keep raising as long as they do. But we must see them and raise them. They can't, and keep their self-respect, keep pressing their attentions on someone who seems not to return it.

At some point, the kitten will play the game less and less, and then fold. We will feel sad.

And they will, too.

Author's Bio: 

Pamela Merrit runs the blog, The Way of Cats, and has just published the first in a series of eBooks, Cat 911, designed to help with cat care problems.