You’re more than your cat’s best friend – you’re another cat! Here’s what research has to say about the relationships and humans.
You share your home with your cat, but have you ever wondered what your furry friend really thinks of you? It turns out that your kitty sees you not as a human, but as a fellow feline.
Cat behavior expert and author, John Bradshaw, came to the conclusion that there is yet another difference between dogs and cats, and it has to do with the way that they view people and understand them. Below is a short summary of what his findings have to say about your pet.
The Research: Observing Cats
Bradshaw’s research involved many hours of closely observing various groups of kitties. For example, he would watch cats in free-ranging colonies, as well as those in animal shelters. His goal was to see how the animals interact with each other, as that would help him figure out the feline social structure. And he has also gone further to study how cats’ behavior changes throughout the day.
The Conclusion: You’re Just a Big Cat
According to Bradshaw, your cat doesn’t view you like a dog would, perhaps because felines haven’t been bred in the same way that dogs have to fulfill specific roles. While experts have found that a dog will perceive you as different from himself, and will change his behavior as a result, cats typically don’t exhibit these tendencies. As an example, a dog will play differently with a fellow canine than he would with a human. But cats continue being themselves, whether they are socializing with their own kind or with their human family.
In other words, cats haven’t changed their social behavior based on whether or not they are interacting with people. So when your cat rubs against your legs, grooms you, snuggles up next to you, or puts his tail into the air, he’s displaying the same behavior that he would display with other felines.
On top of that, your kitty might view you as a mother figure and treat you as such. For example, kittens knead their mothers, and adult cats sometimes knead their owners. They also learn the routine of every human in the house, so if you end up getting up early in the morning and feeding your cat but your spouse stays in bed, your kitty will know to bother you for some food. And they can use various vocalizations to get your attention by learning how you react to different sounds. Smart cats!
Understanding Feline Behavior Better
Bradshaw also noted that humans are sometimes unaware of their cats’ stress levels. As in people, stress could affect your kitty’s physical and mental health. For instance, if you have a multi-cat household and there are conflicts between the cats, that stress may lead to health problems that would require both veterinary attention as well as adjustments to help your cats get along better or avoid each other more easily. As more research is done into the mind of kitties and what makes them tick, pet parents will be able to recognize stress and address it more effectively.
So there you have it: your kitty is not only smart, but he also regards you as part of his family. If you call your pets your furkids, you’ll be happy to know that experts believe that your kitties feel the same way and view you not only as a guardian, but also as a forever friend.
Lisa Selvaggio is a writer who has volunteered in animal rescue, caring for cats of all ages and learning their many quirks. She is certified in clinical pet nutrition, and enjoys helping pet parents give their fur babies the best care possible. Read more of her work online at LSA Writing Services.