People have (sometimes) ulterior motives–when I “forget” to tell my sister I really want her to come visit because I am out of pie crusts, for example. Instead, I tell her some of the many other reasons why I want her to come visit (because I love her!). But really, it’s about the pie crusts, because eventually I will begin to think that she does not love me so much because there are no pie crusts in my freezer and if she really really loved me, there would be a whole bunch of them ready and waiting for peaches or blackberries, or both.
It has recently occurred to me, as I play with and watch my cat in action (a rare thing, action), that cats have ulterior motives too. Caterior motives are sometimes evident when the cat is purring loudly and shin rubbing and head bumping–all actions that she means to have me think, oh yes, I love you dearly. However. If I then happen to glance at the food bowl and note that it is empty (in cat terms, anyway), I do have to wonder if her caterior motive was to get the food bowl filled. Or, as happened this morning, she strolls over and lays her paw on my arm with a sweet little meow. And it just so happens that I am sitting on the floor (you don’t need to know why) fairly close to her brush.
In these cases, while I do understand that there are caterior motives in play, I admit that I really don’t care. All of those little love pats, purrs, rubs and stuff really just mean what I want them to mean–the cat loves me. Just as my sister knows I love her, even though there may indeed be something ulterior in there sometimes (oh, so rarely).