Is Your Kitty A Shoulder Cat?

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(Picture: WayofCats.com)

Some felines are born to be shoulder cats. They don’t always need your approval or an invitation. One “anonymous” cat owner wrote a blog post recently about her shoulder cat: “I have one cat that likes to ride on my shoulders occasionally. I didn’t train her. She, as many kittens do, liked to climb up there. I just didn’t discourage her. She’s ten now and still likes a shoulder ride once in a while. She solicits it. She meows and gets into a pre-jump position. If I’m agreeable, I bend over and she jumps up. If I’m not I walk away.”

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(Picture: Miyoko Ihara)

Shoulder cats tend to have distinctive, big personalities, like Bob the Cat, who felt himself right at home on the shoulders of author James Bowen. They attract attention. Japanese grandmother Misao and her cat Fukumaru are famous around the world for their special bond. Then there was the stray cat who got lots of attention when he climbed up on the shoulders of HLN reporter Nicole Didonato while she was doing a live report on the street.

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(Picture: Reuters)

Some prefer to drape themselves on your shoulders, while others like to stand. Some even ride on their owners’ shoulders while they walk down the street or ride a bike.

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And photos like this one, in which a wild cat drapes itself on the shoulders of his companion, an unidentified Aboriginal woman of Western Australia, suggests there’s something innate about this particular bonding behavior.

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(Picture: Kate Crossing/Invasive Animals CRC)

Shoulder cats tend to be outgoing and confident. They like a ride, and they may sometimes use you as a convenient perch to get a better look at the world. Most are profoundly affectionate. They love intimacy and can’t get enough of you; kitty Mary Jane is one of those. She likes to ride on Rudi Saldia’s shoulders while he works as a bike courier.

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(Picture Caters News Agency)

If you have a shoulder cat, consider yourself lucky. If your cat acts like it has shoulder cat tendencies and you want to encourage her, there are many sites that offer how-to tips for living with or training a shoulder cat. Most recommend you start when your cat is a kitten. But cats have a way of training we humans, so just go with the flow. Here’s what the anonymous blogger says about her relationship with her shoulder cat. “I never pick her up and put her on m;y shoulder. And I never show her off to visitors. I admit I tried once and she promptly jumped down and moved away. Except when it’s time for a vet visit for rabies and distemper shots, I don’t force my cats…it really doesn’t work and is a recipe for clawed hands. I invite them to sit on my lap or cuddle by patting my lap or the place near me where I’d like them to land. Sometimes, quite often they come, but sometimes they look away. In that case I don’t push it.”

If you have a photo of you and your shoulder cat, please share. We’d love to see it.

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10 thoughts on “Is Your Kitty A Shoulder Cat?

  1. Invasive Animals CRC should be a tip-off that the cat on the Australian Aborigine woman’s shoulders is not a pet…

    1. haha yeah that cat is definitely dead. Genuinely interested in shoulder cat training, but this picture out of context made me lol

      Feral cats are a massive problem in rural and outback areas. There is a decent economic incentive for people to hunt them, and (particularly) for indigenous women it is often a good use of their existing skills and free time- hunting any game larger than goannas is typically restricted to men.

      1. Shoulder cat training: have you thought maybe using a device that would help to keep the cat on your shoulders? Like a backpack of sorts for support?

        I have a new shoulder cat by the name of Bronco. He’s great! I use the device that helps to keep him stable on my shoulders.

  2. Love those pics! For some reason a few months ago our 2 year old Russian Siberian, who btw is 15 pounds and super long started climbing up our shoulders and doing this! Its kinda weird cause all he does is just hang in there. Sometimes he does a scarf wrap around but most of the time he lays over our shoulder, half his body facing our back and then his little legs dangling over our chest, funniest thing ever!

  3. I recently adopted two kittens and discovered they were both shoulder cats. It gets hard a times since they both perfer my left shoulder and like to race to it. Most of the time it’s cute, though!

  4. Our kitten Tiddles loves nothing more than to fall asleep on my shoulder, he spends most of the day there! Too cute ???

  5. My kitten first did it at the vet when she was scared. Now she just likes to chill there a few times a day especially when im doing my biz on the toilet. TMI sorry but it’s relevant. Her routine is to headbunt my pants for a few and then leap up and take a nap. Only downside is there have been times she jumped up when I didnt have a shirt on and wasn’t expecting her. Painful to say the least but I find it nearly impossible to get angry at her.

  6. Please take down the pic of the dead cat draped across the Aboriginal woman. It’s obvious that the cat was killed by her and is a trophy. Nothing wrong with hunting but the pic doesn’t belong

  7. I have a kitten who is about 2 months old now. He still doesn’t have a name but we got him from a person who was giving away kittens for free. When we got him, he seemed so scared and wanted nothing to do with us. When my mother or my siblings walked up to him, they were always rough because, I mean, who would ‘t want a kitten smothered onto their face. I always approached him calmly and gave him time to climb on my lap and sniff around. Now, whenever i’m around him, he will start purring even before i’ve touched him and climb onto my lap for cuddles or rubs. Now, everytime he does that, he climbs onto my shoulders. He’s still weary of it because he is always clinging for his life while I walk around the house for what I need to do, but when i’m on my phone or in bed, he usually falls asleep. Me and him have a special bond and my other kitten does too. Only, I spent more time with our boy than the others. He is still cast out by my mom and siblings most often so i’m usuallu his only company. I love our bond❤️

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