a well-snibbled cat
And what is snibbling, you ask? Well okay, it was Johnny who asked, and as I’ve been asked before I thought I would post about snibbling here . . .
It all started when I took Azar in from the street to live with me. The first night I had him at home he was locked in one room while I gave him a good sponge bath and let him get used to the idea of being indoors before introducing him to the other cats, Sunny and Lua. And basically that was the last time he let me touch him for about three months. As soon as I let him out of the room he went into hiding, eventually coming out to eat and use the litter box. And also to make friends with Sunny. It was so sweet to see them always together with ‘big brother’ Sunny looking so protective of the little guy (Azar was about 5 months old when I took him in and still quite small). But if I ever approached them Azar would take off like a shot and hide somewhere.
After awhile I started trying to get Azar interested in me, so when I saw him I would get just close enough so that if I extended one arm and my index finger he would be able to sniff the finger. Little by little this turned into letting me give him a quick chuck under the chin before he’d run away. Finally I got so frustrated with not being able to cuddle the little thing that one day I just grabbed him and half-lay on top of him (we were either on the sofa or the bed, can’t remember now) and I gave him the cuddling of his life. I wouldn’t say it was ‘rough’ exactly, more like giving someone a brisk towelling down, only without the towel. As well as giving him quite a few kisses on top of his head. At first he struggled but after a very short while I felt his body go limp in defeat (well, I did outweigh him by … never mind) and then as I continued to massage him I felt his body starting to respond. Mind you, as soon as I loosened my grip on him he took off to hide under the bed. But I kept on with these ‘enforced vigorous cuddles’ and after awhile when he’d see me coming towards him he’d ‘get into position’ so I could grab him and ‘rough him up’ a little. 🙂
I don’t remember how this came to be called ‘snibbling’, probably just something that evolved from all the silly names I have for my cats. But I’ve since recommended it to other people who have skittish cats and they have said it worked for them too. You see, if you try being too gentle and cautious with a skittish cat it seems to make them even more nervous. But if you just grab them and very firmly give them some lurve whether they want it or not, it’s as if this somehow makes them feel safe.
These days Peter is in charge of the evening snibble, which also includes a brushing (heaven!). And if Peter is doing anything else at around 8-9 pm Azar will come up and mieow his head off until he follows him into the bedroom. It’s really adorable, kind of a bonding thing they have going.
Sunny, being a dog, also prefers rougher handling to gentle petting. In fact, if he is stroked too softly he’ll sometimes turn around and nip at whoever is stroking him. So I’d say he probably gets semi-snibbled as he doesn’t go in for some of the more acrobatic stuff I do with Azar. But both of them adore being massaged and especially having their bellies rubbed, which usually happens several times a day.
I dunno, reckon they might be just the eensiest bit spoilt?