This photo I took of Irina just spoke to me recently. Her coppery eyes are alluring, and she is quite sweet. However, Irina the cat is not like a dog that will wag his tail following you everywhere you go, or even like more docile cats I had growing up. We adopted her when she was about a year old, so even though she is affectionate, she does this on her own terms. I will sit next to her, and I will let her rub her head against my palms. When she is in the mood I will scratch her head and back, but I am also attuned with the signals she gives me that will let me know she is not interested in being petted.
Some people are upset when their cats swat them with a paw, and take it as an insult. I think people need to relax and realize cats are not humans, and will interact differently. In the past I had cats that were more dog like, especially my parents manx cats Bobby and Annie, but I am able to prevent Irina from scratching me because I pet her in a non-confrontational way. Cats detest being cornered, and cats that are abandoned will not always become lap cats. This does not mean Irina is not affectionate, because she actually is quite so. She will come up to me and purr and rub against my legs when I am typing away on the computer. She is quite well-behaved, and even walks back in the house when I call her name.
However, she is not a lap cat for me, although she does sit in my sister’s lap. I only pick Irina up when necessary because she does not enjoy this. My sister picks her up more often, but I have just learned from experience Irina prefers to come to me. Some people might not like this aspect of certain cats, but it has never bothered me at all. It just depends on what you want out of a pet. Adopting a stray cat means you will have to make certain concessions, and from experience I have learned how certain cats enjoy being petted. Also, do not take it personally when cats scratch because they are like little lions sharing about 95% of the same DNA with their wild cousins, and think differently than humans. Just watch two cats interact with each other, and you will see what I mean.
When I raised cats from kitten-hood I did have ones I could walk around with on my shoulder like a parrot, but I would never be able to do this with Irina. However, I actually adore her because she is different from those type of cats, and this feline has taught me how to adapt to a new personality. It does not mean she is any less affectionate than a lap cat.