1. Love means different things to different people. Nowhere is the idea of “love languages” more relevant than with a feline companion. For me, love is best expressed through physical affection, good conversation, and quiet time together. For Namine, love means providing interesting objects for each other to hunt, or maniacally supervising each other’s every move, or maybe love is not a thing with cats, actually.
2. Stay in your league. It’s the most basic coupling wisdom in the book: a 10 should date a 10, a 6 will be happiest with a 6. Dating way out of your league may seem appealing at first, but if you’re an average dude dating a supermodel, you’re going to run into some problems, such as the drool of other men, a fridge full of kale, and your girlfriend’s busy lingerie shoot schedule. As a 6.5 who was dazzled by a 10 at the shelter, I learned this the hard way. I love my cat, but I’m spending the next fifteen years of my life with someone recently named Sexiest Cat In The World when I would’ve been perfectly content with a middle-aged, FIV+ couch potato.
3. Don't get complacent. If things are feeling a little dull at home, take a hard look at how much energy you’ve invested lately. Your cat’s coat is immaculate because she bathes six hours a day, but you’re wearing a Voodoo Donut t-shirt and sweatpants. Are you talking about the usual work drama? Cracking open the usual can of gluten-free Surf N Turf? You can’t come home every day, wave the same old feather wand toy, and expect things to be as magical as they were twelve days ago. Take the time to find out what your she’s into lately, and then walk to Bentley’s Corner Barkery and spent $12 you don’t have to get it.
4. Sometimes words aren't enough. To nurture a truly successful relationship, you must master nonverbal communication and body language. Learn to interpret your loved one’s chirps and purrs. Know the difference between a “pet me now!” flop onto the floor, and the identical “pet me now!” flop onto the floor that will end in bleeding. If you don’t look carefully, you’ll miss important signals from your partner, such as arching her back, hopping sideways, and sniffing the wall suggestively.
5. In love, the only constant is change. In Buddhist wisdom, this is called anicca, or impermanence. If you think you’re waking up this morning with the same cat on your feet that you did yesterday, think again. We’re living, breathing creatures whose dreams and aspirations change over time, and a truly dynamic relationship can adapt to these changes. Just because tuna was edible yesterday doesn’t mean it’s edible today. Just because your cat slept on your torso twice doesn’t mean she ever will again. Be flexible and understanding, and you’ll be rewarded with … I have no idea what.
All photos captured and curated by Namine's cat dad, Susan.