I was just starting to write a post about something else altogether when Maia came into the office and began pacing and meowing beneath my feet. This sometimes means she wants another meal, often well before mealtime, but this time it meant she wanted me to follow her into the bedroom. She will sit alert at a specific point at the foot of the bed, and then if, and only if, you stand behind her just there, she will jump up onto the bed. This means she wants you then also to get up on the bed and give her an intense session of petting (or stroking, as I believe it's called in Britain).
When Maia was a kitten, she didn't seem quite sure whether she liked being petted or not, but about a year ago - she's 2 1/2 now - she began this bed-jumping habit, though the demanding meows are much newer. (The vet says it means she's more comfortable with us. Don't get too comfortable there, cat.) She'll settle down in a relaxed pose to be petted, interspersed with getting scratched all around the head, then get up for a bit and settle down in a slightly different spot. Repeat frequently. This desire to keep moving around may explain why she doesn't like to be picked up and held: can't move around while that's going on.
The best part comes in the parts in between being settled. She'll walk back and forth rubbing against my head as I lie there on propped-up elbows. She'll also lick my elbows, or even bump noses. It's an intimate close encounter with a cat.
When I'm playing with Maia with the peacock feather it's sometimes hard to tell if she's still interested. After initial activity, she usually tries to chase the feather while lying down, paws waving desultorily in the air as it comes by. But with the petting sessions, there's no question but that she's fully involved. And when she's had enough, after five or ten minutes, she'll just jump off the bed. Though we have done this as many as five times in a one day.