My Aunt, who is trying to turn me into a cat lady, and her daughter, my cousin were visiting my house with my cousin's young son, Max, who Is Awesome. I had adopted one cat from them, and they were bringing me another to keep her company. They live on adjoining farms, and beautiful, well behaved long haired kittens continue to show up on their doorsteps.
Max had recently turned 8 and thus is in a period of great learning. I love watching children learn things because typically there is a message there for us all. And that day was no exception.
Max was petting the older cat and at first they were getting along quite well but then she pulled back a bit. He did what most of us tend to naturally do when something or someone shrinks away from us; he redoubled his efforts and moved toward her, petting her a bit harder.
At this point, Aunt and Cousin, in perfect complement to one another began teaching Max something I wish I had learned in such explicit language at the age 8 (or ever, prior to that day). "See how she's pulling away from you Max? You have to watch her body language. That means she's had enough, and she needs you to back off a bit. She can't talk, so she is telling you by the way she moves. People do that too, Max. We have to respect someone when they tell us they need their space, even when they aren't using words to say it. She will come back if you let her be now."
Though this is a simple key to success in personal relationships, I've got nearly 30 years on Max and had never heard anyone express it so clearly. Aunt and Cousin are pretty awesome, too.