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Its interesting that they have the capacity for such affection. My gal is a cuddly lap cat (this week anyway). She's more affectionate than most humans. I wonder, from an evolutionary perspective, why this basically wild animal has this capacity and appreciation for such gentleness and peacefulness?
 

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Yes, I've always wondered about how their need for being petted and scratched evolved. If some guy pawed at me as much as my cats seem to want petting, I'd be shaking him off like an annoying bug.
 

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Every cat is a bit different, my previous cat Meme who the girls where I used to work rescued when the saw her hanging around.
She chose me, She would climb in my lap and press her head against my chest.
This was to let me know she wanted a hug, I'd give her a nice long hug and then she'd either settle down in my lap or right beside me in my chair for some quality time together.
Now Samantha, my recently departed Maine Coon cat, wouldn't sit in your lap but liked to sit or lay on the arm of the easy chair and be petted brushed and combed.
My remaining cat Chiquita who my ex rescued when she was hanging around our home is very vocal and needy, she won't sit in your lap either but demands to be petted and if you get up she'll take a no claw bat at you to show her displeasure.
 

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It's a scam. they've been honing their techniques for millennia. Look at what they get in return if they do it right.

Shelter

Free food

Belly rubs

Toys

You name it. It's a scam, I tell you.
 

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^Awww!!!!

Good question.. Hmm.. Maybe it had something to do with the pharaoh times when dogs and cats were first domesticated.
 

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I've been wondering for a long time too!
 

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Maybe it had something to do with the pharaoh times when dogs and cats were first domesticated.
Well that would work for the cats but I believe dogs were domesticated about 8000-10000 years before the cats and much closer to Asia than Egypt.
 

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I'm no evolutionary biologist, but I think I can take a crack at it.

Cats obviously evolved outdoors. Being outdoors, cats were exposed to the elements. So for survival sake, cats huddled together for warmth. They get that much more warmth by rubbing their fur against one another creating friction.

Perhaps those cats who embraced the cuddle-huddle had a higher chance of survival and passing down their genes/habits to their offspring that we see today. Vice-versa, those cats who didnt embrace the cuddle-huddle had less a chance at survival.

We see cats doing things that were once necessary to survive but no longer, like how they bury their poop to not attract predators. Perhaps what we see as "cuddling" or "affection" were once necessary survival tools.
 

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^I had a semi-serious theory that thats why they're so **** cute: so they couldnt resist cuddling each other for warmth.
 

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I'm no evolutionary biologist, but I think I can take a crack at it.

Cats obviously evolved outdoors. Being outdoors, cats were exposed to the elements. So for survival sake, cats huddled together for warmth. They get that much more warmth by rubbing their fur against one another creating friction.

Perhaps those cats who embraced the cuddle-huddle had a higher chance of survival and passing down their genes/habits to their offspring that we see today. Vice-versa, those cats who didnt embrace the cuddle-huddle had less a chance at survival.

We see cats doing things that were once necessary to survive but no longer, like how they bury their poop to not attract predators. Perhaps what we see as "cuddling" or "affection" were once necessary survival tools.
Yes! There's a lot to that, but then there's all the head butting and sometimes just the desire to be close to their human.

That theory is applied to dogs. A couple of Russians took the theory to foxes. Now sixty years later there are foxes in Russia that are as affectionate and playful as dogs. The two original experimenters went to a Siberian Gulag because, at the time, their theory was not state sanctioned. One died, but the experiment went on. Selective breeding for the two aforementioned traits. So your theory as to how and why cats became and are so affectionate probably has some truth.

Still to be explained is cats befriending other species.

Then there are the people who keep rats. They apparently can most affectionate. Is there a theory to explain that?
 

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I don't want to put a damper on all this, but I think it's possible we humans interpret a lot of things they do as affectionate, when it's really just something they do. Take the cat that rubs around your legs or wants you to pet him. For the cat, isn't that just about mixing smells so they can feel more comfortable in their territory? On last night's My Cat From **** show, the cat behaviorist described the leg-rub as "letting the cat pet you first." Well, not really. The cat was mixing its smells with the newcomer in the house.

Then there's the fact that they follow us around the house, which I'm convinced is about them wanting to be where the action is. I'm no different, though, I still love the affection. :)
 

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A couple of Russians took the theory to foxes. Now sixty years later there are foxes in Russia that are as affectionate and playful as dogs.
I recently watched a documentary on dogs that discussed this experiment. They bred one set of foxes for their friendly outgoing behavior and another set for aggressive behavior for many generations(quite a number of years worth of breeding if I remember correctly) and the results are really amazing.

The temperaments are so different that they seem like two different species. They even said that physical changes took place between them. The friendly foxes became physically more dog like with the way they carried their tail and I think their ears and facial 'features'.
 

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Yes, October, I always thought that them head butting me, and rubbing me and all was affection, only to find out it was their way of putting their scent on you and marking their territory. But I still love it!! :)
 

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two points:

1) Tame cats are very close in demeanor to wild cats, thats why we can tame and crossbreed wild cats in only a couple of generations

2) Sure, they mix their smells when they do that rubbing, but saying thats why they do that is like saying humans have sex with someone they love only to procreate...cats and humans also do these things because they feel good. That theres another biological benefit underlying it is only part of the story. Also, lying in my lap purring for hours is not mixing smells.
 

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Yes, I was about to make the purring point myself. While it makes sense to me that some of the seeming need for affection is just mixing scents, three of my four cats prefer to hop onto me, curl up and go to sleep, wherever I am, if I sit down. And Snowball, who gives me headbutts and nuzzles my ears as her way of marking me, really purrs up a storm as she is doing so. She could just mark silently, but she is showing her contentment as well. Moreover, if I stop petting her, well after I have her scent on me, she will rub her head on my hand to ask for more. Or she will stand up and rub her face on my cheek again. That's about as clear a "desire" to be petted as I have seen. I don't attribute it to emotional attachment, though. I think it just feels so darn good to them, they want more!

I should add that I have read some of the love for petting may come from the fact their mothers licked them when they were kittens, so it is comforting to them. Also probably stimulates their appetite.
 

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I should add that I have read some of the love for petting may come from the fact their mothers licked them when they were kittens, so it is comforting to them. Also probably stimulates their appetite.
Don't you think a welll cared for human baby might also end up as a more loving adult? We are after all, all animals.

(I think there maybe exceptions in both humans and cats.)

By the way, a couple of months ago somebody posted a video of a kitten wahing one of its siblings.
 

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One of my strays rubs on my legs for hours each day. She does it more when there's a dog or frightening cat nearby. This is not scent marking, as judging by Prince's reactions I smell like her enough. This is reassuring physical contact she seeks, remnants of a secure feeling with the mother, but which out of fear she needs to control herself - rubbing on me instead of me petting her. It's only lately that she's started letting me pet her a bit. I have 2 other cats that won't be caught dead letting me pet them, but lately they've started rubbing on my legs, and love it.

Cats are hedonists. They do and favor what feels good. Work little and rest a lot. Petting, gourmet food, fluffy pillows, warm by the fireplace, soft surfaces, anything lavishingly comfy is cats' turf.
 
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