Another round of 6 Degrees of Cats, where we explore the fascinating world of felines and their connections to history, culture, and more.
In this episode, host Amanda B. explores the fascinating world of feline affection and how cats express love. One common way humans express love is through physical touch, such as hugs and kisses. But do cats enjoy being kissed on the head? Amanda investigates this question and more with the help of two certified cat behaviorists and a reproduction and sexuality educator.
Drawing on the work of marriage counselor Dr. Gary Chapman, who cataloged five love languages for humans, Amanda and her guests consider how these love languages might translate to cats. Feline training and behavior pro Jennifer van de Kieft offers insights into how cats communicate their feelings and preferences, while reproductive and sexual health educator Jade F. Hillery provides context for the five love languages. To round out the conversation, cat cognition researcher Kristyn Vitale weighs in on what the media gets right - and wrong - about cats' affection for humans.
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Jade F. Hillery, MPH, CD (DTI), is a reproductive and sexual health trainer and educator, full spectrum doula, and sensual movement instructor. She works to support other trainers and educators in creating intentional learning spaces; promote healing through sensual movement; and help people tap into their own power. She is also a board member for Aaliyah in Action and a co-host of The Good Black Podcast.
Jennifer van de Kieft is a Certified Advanced Feline Training and Behavior Professional and Pet Nutrition Coach. She is experienced in science driven strategies and solutions to address problem behavior and is the owner of Cat Advocate LLC.
Kristyn Vitale, Ph.D., is the founder of Maueyes and star of Netflix’s hit feature film, “The Mind of a Cat”. Her innovative research on cat behavior and human-animal interaction has been published in multiple peer-reviewed journals and been covered by such international publications as Science, National Geographic, The New York Times, and The Times of London.
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About the experts:
Abigail Levin, Ph.D.,J.D., is an Associate Professor of Philosophy at Niagara University in Buffalo, New York. Her primary research interests are in political philosophy, animal ethics, feminism and philosophy of race and gender. She is currently at work on a book-length project about celebrity animals and the ethical obligations arising from keeping animals in captivity.
Gabe García is a DEI analyst and marketing consultant who leverages their background in philosophy, economics and communication studies to drive diversity, equity, inclusion, belonging in all their spaces. They serve on the board of OkaySo, a free confidential text-based app for LGBTQ+ youth and young people with questions about relationships, sex, identity, mental health and more. Gabe can be followed @gabefgarcia on most social media platforms.
Sterling “TrapKing” Davis is an Atlanta, GA-based trap hip hop musician, community organizer and educator on feline trap-neuter-rescue. Davis and his team consult across the continental U.S. to provide sustainable, humane solutions for feral cat population control from a positive, collaborative and community-centered approach (trapkinghumane.org).