Do Cats Know How to Love?

Written by: Mary Shull

Are you a cat owner? If so, you will probably say yes, cats love their owners. If not, you may say, “What! A cat is an animal. They don’t experience love!” But ask any pet owner and you can bet the answer will be “Yes, my pet loves me!”

Momma cat and baby

Momma cat and her baby

Studies have shown that animals know pain and fear. All have the “fight or flight” instinct that is hardwired in the body, similar to humans. But cats also have learned to manipulate their owners through sound or “cries.” Certain cries draw certain responses from the owner. It’s just a matter of the cat learning which one benefits them for their particular need or want. Once learned, that cry is used over and over. Cats not only communicate verbally but also with their body. Ever notice your cat rubbing up against your legs, wagging their tail, or kneading with their paws/claws? How about a cat’s ears? We’ve learned that when they’re flattened back against the head, the cat feels threatened. All of these are bodily signs that owners eventually learn to interpret.

So, does a cat know how to love? Scientific studies cannot prove this, so basically it’s up to humans to determine the answer individually. Maybe we should ask ourselves, “What is love?” Wikipedia defines love as “an emotion of strong affection and personal attachment. Love is a virtue representing all of ‘human’ kindness, compassion, and affection; and the unselfish loyal and benevolent concern for the good of another.” So for instance, when a cat has kittens; does the concern and care she shows for her babies constitute love? When a cat jumps in our lap and curls up for a nap, does the cat just want a comfortable place to lie down? When a cat rubs against our legs or purrs when we pet them, does that mean we’ve been manipulated?

Being a cat owner for many years, I can only answer these questions with what I believe and that is “YES,” cats know love and cats show love. I believe it is definitely different than human love, but it is a form of love as we know it. Cats show affection and cats bond with their owners which is a form of personal attachment. As pet owners, we should be grateful that cats have this capacity and that we are able to share this and enjoy the happiness it brings.

To Be Monogamous or Not?

Written by: Jill Heagerty

I’ve heard both sides: we’re biologically meant to mate with many partners and that monogamy does not work for humans, and that after the lust and falling in love stages there forms an attachment between partners that leaves their brains more satisfied than any previous stage. So which is it? Are we supposed to be with one person forever, or are we meant to have various partners to quench sexual appetites?

The argument for polygamy lies with the two facts concerning our genetic similarities to polygamous apes and the men in our species being taller than women. We are most closely related to chimpanzees and bonobos, naturally promiscuous mammals. Men in these species want to “spread their seed”, something men in our species also desire, so they mate with as many females as they can to produce maximum offspring. If our DNA resembles these primates, are we living by the wrong sexual rules? Are we only monogamous because culture demands it, and we’re actually going against our true nature? The other supporting evidence for polygamy is attributed to the height and weight differences between men and women. In both primate and non-primate species, the more disparity there is in the sizes between the genders, the more promiscuous the species is. On average, men are 10 percent taller and 20 percent heavier than women, suggesting that while humans are not meant to mate as much as chimpanzees or bonobos, we are not meant to be solely monogamous.

Monogamy’s side comes from the pleasure hormones released in the brain when we form deep attachments to one partner and the evolutionary benefit for raising children. There are three stages to long-term mating: lust, falling in love, and attachment. The first stage lust is caused by a general increase in estrogen and testosterone levels. Falling in love releases specific neurotransmitters in the brain associated with pleasure, including pheromones, dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin. These hormones act similarly to amphetamines, giving us intense feelings of excitement. The last stage is attachment, releasing oxytocin and vasopressin in the brain, giving a constant satisfaction that the other pleasure inducing hormones don’t. It’s not possible for humans to be high on love all the time, so the body gives pleasure that can endure. The purpose of oxytocin and vasopressin is to keep families together, an evolutionary benefit to children in today’s society. In the beginning of time it was okay for males to have multiple mates because children were raised in tight knit communities, but with single families there needs to be two partners providing support for children to flourish.

There is no clear cut answer. Whether we are monogamous or polygamous lies in individual needs, as there are arguments to support both sides. The question becomes, do you want the crazy rush of passion associated with having many partners for life or do you want the quiet satisfaction of having one person to drive you crazy?

Taking your time, might be time well spent.

By: Stacy Liberatore

As little girls we are read stories of damsels in distress waiting for their knight in shining armor to ride in and save them on their white horse. We grow up playing dress up and pretending that we are the pretty, pretty princess.

Then we get older and realize that it all happened once upon a time in a land far-far away. Yet, that idea still sits on the back burner of our thoughts. We believe the idea that Mr. Right does exist and he has to be out there somewhere waiting for us to just cross his path or him cross ours.

 Waiting, instead of perusing, might be the road worth traveling. Most of us have had front row seats to the dating game, the place where the saying “on to the next” has become words to live by. Then you reach the point where you just settle for someone who you know isn’t right for you. But he might have a nice smile and he may open the door and pick up the check. Which are all good qualities, but he doesn’t give you that over the park home run feeling.

Everyone wants that fairytale romance and the sooner is always better.  But instead of using all your energy on finding a man, use this time to find yourself.  Do what you enjoy the most; Take up a new hobby or spend more time with friends.

The more you learn about yourself before taking the leap into a committed relationship, the more successful that relationship will be in the future. The less time you spend on” operation find the right man”, the more you might just find out about yourself and life.  In reality no one was ever been upset that they took their time when it came to finding Mr. Right. Only do we get upset and frustrated with lovers and ourselves is when you rush into things.

Sometimes we are so anxious to find Mr. Right that we lose ourselves in the process.  He is out there and he will always be out there, however you need to find yourself before you find him.  Going from man to man hoping this one might be different will only leave you more and more disappointed.

Try avoiding those who you think are the one for you and go with your heart; wait for the one who you know is the one right for you. This is the time when you need to tell your brain to take the bench and let your heart take the lead.

Sexercise Your Way to Love and Happiness

Written by: Kathleen Mulvihill

Let’s face it, many of us don’t place enough value on the importance of healthy and loving sex. Sure we try to keep our love relationships sex-intensive early on, but as time progresses, love and sex too often become out-of-shape, second-class citizens in the bedroom.

Libido tips from the lips of Sigmund Freud, Masters and Johnson and Dr. Ruth have been shared throughout the decades, but if you’re looking for a truly practical and sex-sational way to take your love life from fizzle to sizzle, check out one of the newest trends in the world of fitness – sexercise classes. The classes are largely for women, but the guys certainly benefit from these sexy workouts. Gentlemen: think trickle-down sensuality.

Sexercise classes, now offered in many locations throughout the United States, are a healthy way for women to connect with their pelvis (their sexual core), through a series of fun bump-and-grind kind of movements. The proposed end result is a happier love life through improved sexual stimulation for yourself as well as your partner.

If you’re not quite the super-toned exhibitionist you see in those classes, but you madly want that loving feeling back, take heart. You can practice your own form of sexercise in the privacy of your bedroom. Those adages, use or lose it, and practice makes perfect, couldn’t be more true here. In plain language, here are some tips from a variety of experts in love and sexuality:

  • Just do it.  Even if you’re not up to hamster speed, sometimes you just need to get back on the old treadmill and give it a whirl. Slow and steady wins the race.
  • Initiate. Ladies, this goes for you especially. Too often, the guys have to play Tarzan while Jane goes out on a limb to stay aloof. Take him by surprise, tickle his fancy and watch that caveman drop his remote and evolve.
  • Sex toys. Sometimes it takes a good energizer battery to spice things up. Work it, girls!
  • Burn it up. The more vigorous the sex, the more calories you burn. On average, a half-hour of lovemaking burns a minimum of 85 calories. That may not sound like much, but it beats vacuuming and adds up during the intercourse of a week. Fun too. Check out Dr. Robert S. Wieder’s study of calories burned during sexual activity published in the American Journal of Exercise Calorimetry in August 2006.

So get in touch with your inner muscles, get that thump back in your heart and reinvigorate your fitness workouts by adding a regular routine of sex. That loving feeling is great for happiness.

How to Improve your Relationship

Written by Lisa Pearson

With the advent of a new year rapidly approaching, many people are thinking about making resolutions for the new year. If you are single, maybe you have decided that you no longer want to casually date and want to be in a relationship. If you are in a relationship, perhaps you would like to make some changes to improve your relationship. Whatever the situation, the following tips can help you to make some improvements in your current status.

If you are single:

Girl on a bad date with guyLooking for love in the wrong places?

Relationship expert Marcia Brandwynne states that “Many single people spend a lot of time and energy searching for Mr. or Ms. Right … but don’t have a clue about the type of person they should really be looking for.” Passionately seeking someone without knowing who to look for makes the search for a partner that much more difficult. Surely you have some ideal traits and characteristics in mind; you just have to think about it.

Brandwynne suggests that the secret to finding a compatible partner is to meet someone who holds similar ideals and morals as yourself. The first step towards finding a mate is to think about and write down your own ideals and morals. Think about what is important to you, what interests you, and what kind of life you want. Get to know yourself better to get a better idea of what type of person would suit you best. After you do some soul searching and taking inventory of your life, you are ready to search for your ideal mate.

If you are in a relationship:

Do you find your relationship to be full of arguments and you feel the love is gone? Did you know that fighting the right way can actually help and improve your relationship? Brandwynne suggests that couples who complain and explain to turn ugly fights into constructive conversations. Expressing your problem with your partner and then explaining how it affects you will allow them to see things from your perspective. Yelling and attacking your partner gets you nowhere fast; the other person can shut down or it can turn into a long shouting match with nothing getting resolved.

Couple talking out an argument

Complain and explain

Brandwynne also recommends that you be aware of your body language while you’re having these conversations as well. If you are crossing your arms or rolling your eyes, your partner will likely get defensive and offended by these actions. Remember to complain and explain and improve your relationship.