Furry Friday: Why we love cats

NICK BARNETT
Last updated 10:00 27/06/2014

Why do we love cats? The indispensable Encyclopedia of New Zealand has some learned, if obvious, answers. But today, I thought I'd offer a set of less mainstream reasons.

I also thought I'd provide illustrations - lots of them. In their own persuasive way, they answer the question I posed.

We love cats because of that look they give us, you know, when we're looking at them. It's a look of grudging patience and edgy indulgence, a look that's a little off to the side. It's well performed here by cover-cat James (of whom we will see more later). 

James

This look is often seen first thing in the morning, when any cat a) wants food, b) wants to love you, and c) wants to be left alone to sleep a while longer. Oh, the unresolvable conflict. This is Bella's morning face. 

Bella

This is Loki; such mystery. 

Loki

We love how ornamental our cats are. And well they know it, going by how often they pose on the most conspicuous platform in the room. This is Luca, alongside the other succulents. 

Luca

We love those faces full of character, such as Miss Minnie's. 

Miss Minnie

There's the special spotless, uncamouflageable beauty of a white cat - like Macie.

Macie

Then there's that most admirable of feline traits, inherent dignity. Boss is all grace and grandeur.

Boss

Chairman Meow is all elegance.

Chairman Meow

Ed possesses effortless charisma. 

Ed

Silky greets the day with the most decorous of yawns. 

Silky

Mac chases flies with athletic artistry.

Mac

We love the way cats sleep - usually contained and concentrated, but sometimes with inhibitions and vanity kicked away. Sandy is a regal sleeper. 

Sandy

Billie appreciates luxury. 

Billie

Here's Sandy again, in possession of the whole couch. 

Sandy

A big part of a cat's magnetism is its air of cool command, even in less-than-elegant settings. You can tell from Sally's expression that she'd never be caught dead in with the socks.

Sally

Riley rules from the fruit bowl. 

Riley

Cats are so discerning about what they'll eat, and so scrupulous about dental care. This is Rasafeh.

Rasafeh

Cats also have excellent reading habits. Here, Einstein stays up to date with important news developments. 

Einstein

Is this Moon Landing's wave hello, or goodbye? Or merely his Paw of Command? Whatever it is, it's another reason to love him. Also, don't you love that cats seem to lend themselves to names like Moon Landing?

Moon Landing

As promised, another view of cover-cat James. This is pretty lovable, though I can't decide on a word for it. Upward Cat?

James

We cat owners love how a cat will seek out the sun, roast itself in it, and become even more worthy of a cuddle as a result. This is Silky again, groggy with heat.

Silky

Cats have lovable quirks. This is Bhutas, and her owner says: "Whenever Bhutas is mad at us being late, we often arrive home to some kind of punishment. Most of the time it is our kitchen mat dragged out of place into the corner or down the hall ... He then lies on the floor expecting pats." Bhutas' eyes are extraordinary too.  

Bhutas

We love the luxuriance of a longhair like Tinsel. 

Tinsel

When two cats are together, the adorableness quotient rockets. This is Miesha and Nellie playing yin and yang. 

Miesha

And when four cats are together, the adorableness quotient is shattered and defibrillators are required. This shelf-full of cute comprises Alicia, Leo, Albert and Stefan.

Alicia

The question shouldn't be "why do we love cats?" but "how couldn't we love cats?" When we see the face of a beautiful, well-loved, peaceful cat, it just makes (most of) us feel good, as though we're programmed to connect with them and they're programmed to raise our spirits. Isabella melts your heart.

Ruby

Mimi lifts your mood. 

Mimi

Phoebe cancels all your regrets. 

Phoebe

Bosley makes you forget your troubles. 

Bosley

Stanley makes you want to give up your job and become an artist. 

Stanley

Finally, 18-year-old Oliver makes you want to smile for the rest of the day. Well, he has that effect on me, anyway.

Oliver

Thanks to all for posting your photos. Please email me your own photos, or go to the Four Legs Good Facebook page and use the Upload Photo button. While you're there, browse through the thousands of photos that readers have posted by clicking the Photos link.

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