Animals seem to have a sixth sense when it comes to knowing which humans are worthy of their trust.
While cats are known to be aloof with people they don’t know, the felines in a Tacoma, Washington, neighborhood have made an exception for one man. In fact, locals have started calling Chris Watson “the cat whisperer.”
At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, Chris got into the habit of taking a 2-mile walk around his neighborhood. As he strolls, he takes note of the cats who live nearby, coming up with cute nicknames for each one. Sometimes he even gets to know their humans, but usually he forms a friendship directly with the normally-picky felines.
When Chris began taking videos of his daily encounters and sharing them on TikTok, he was only slightly surprised when they went viral. After all, the internet loves cats! But when his account really took off with millions of daily views, he couldn’t believe it.
“Before we knew it one of the videos got 100,000 views, which was kind of shocking,” Chris said. “I thought it might kind of go viral but I didn’t think it would be that big.”
It only takes a few seconds to understand the appeal of Chris’ videos. He is soft-spoken and unfailingly kind, and he takes interest in every cat he sees on the street, from pampered house cats to hardened strays. He never chases them, instead letting them come over to him to give him “the sniff test” and decide whether he’s worthy of their attention. Nine out of 10 times, he’s deemed worthy!
In his videos, cats of all sizes, breeds, and colors go out of their way to interact with him. Many flop onto their backs for belly rubs, which Chris takes as a sign that they trust him.
“These cats are just exceptionally friendly because a lot of people say cats run from them,” Chris explained. “We looked it up and it said that it meant a cat feels comfortable in your presence so they kind of expose their underbelly.”
There’s something infectious about Chris’ kindness! Many people tell him that watching his video offerings every other day on TikTok and Instagram makes them happier. For Chris, it’s a way to connect with his community, both animal and human, while also fulfilling his larger personal mission to bond with his neighbors.
“Sometimes we just have to love each other unconditionally and not be so afraid of each other and actually communicate with each other,” Chris said.
Very true! Oh, and in case you were wondering… dogs love Chris, too!
We can see why Chris has earned his “cat whisperer” nickname — and why he’s gained so many followers! Animals recognize a gentle soul when they see one.
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