Rose Webster on Paw Mane Fin / All rights reservedIf you've ever been owned by a cat, you probably have wondered what they are thinking when they look at you.
I've had cats around me all my life (and fostered them). One thing I am sure of - you can't stereotype cats. They are choosy and (like us) they don't like or love everyone. I firmly believe cats are more intuitive than we give them credit for.
Last year, National Geographic's Christine Dell'Amore interviewed Dr. John Bradshaw, author of Cat Sense: How the New Feline Science Can Make You a Better Friend to Your Pet. Dr. Bradshaw has studied animal behaviour for over 30 years. His research efforts are focused on the behaviour and welfare of domestic cats and dogs, and their relationships with people.
Eran Finkle (finklez on flickr) / Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 GenericI read numerous reviews about Dr. Bradshaw's book that drew completely different conclusions. And I suppose there's always been cat vs. dog comparisons. Some authors jumped on the 'cats are better than dogs' bandwagon (or vice versa).
Yet a closer look at what Dr. Bradshaw has written and said, tells me that cats and dogs are just different species. They have both become domesticated via different means and for different purposes.
Up next, the best short video I could find that explains how dogs and cats became domesticated (which also partially explains their outward emotional response to us - or lack thereof). Cat lovers: have no fear, I have evidence that points to a different conclusion.
Your Cat Doesn't Care About You by Anthony Carboni
Published on December 11th, 2013 by DNews
The Science is Possibly Flawed
Paw Mane Fin's own Emily Heeb detailed that same study that Anthony Carboni referenced. But here's a crucial point: cats have evolved to be far less demonstrative and with good reason. For one, they are generally smaller than most dog breeds.
Andrey (akras on flickr) / Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 GenericDNews author Jennifer Viegas wrote Cats Don't Actually Ignore Us. She quoted Atsuko Saito, who co-authored the study:
Cats, for example, hide illness because "in the wild, no one can rescue them and predators pay attention to such weak individuals."
As Viegas surmised, the feline's gut reaction is to remain stoic and avoid any possible threat at a time of vulnerability.
So How Does This Fact Fit In?
Well, I think the cats (in the study) were being careful not to be overly reactive to their owner's voices. They may have sensed they were being watched by "strange" researchers and decided it's better to lay low. Plus, it's possible the cats could tell the voices didn't come from a human - but from a speaker.
Up next, check out proof of a cat that longs for his owner (captured on hidden camera). Shorty, Kodi and their guardian give their perspective in this study/BBC mockumentary by The Shoko Show.
How Attached are Cats to Their Owners?
Published on January 14th, 2014 by Sho Ko
My Own Experiences
Bryan Alexander (bryanalexander on flickr) / Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 GenericAbout a decade ago, I lived in an apartment building on a busy city street. I had two cats that always made a dash for the door when I came home. They would wander leisurely down the apartment hallway. I'd just walk a few steps towards them and they'd return.
I didn't have to try very hard to coax them back inside, thankfully.
But one day, my apartment was broken into and the thief left the door wide open. When I discovered what happened, I feared my cats escaped. All I cared about was finding them (and getting them microchipped).
Well, it turned out that both were huddled behind the TV. I was so happy they hid there, I could care less about whatever the thief wanted (I didn't have much back then).
My point? Intention. I think cats sense a person's intention. Perhaps not all cats, but I've also found my cats were able to tell a bad date from a good date. One of my cats would sit atop her Lotus Cat Tower (instead of approaching someone) she didn't like.
Speaking of Intention
And More Proof That Cats Choose Who They Care About
Rose Webster on Paw Mane Fin / All rights reservedLast month, I wrote Do Cats Sense Human Emotions? In it, I detailed a brave cat named Smudge who fearlessly pounced on a bully who taunted and pushed a 5-year old child. And get this: there were three older boys in this group of bullies and the cat actually pounced on the tallest one.
And what about cats that have saved their owners' lives? My most popular article on Paw Mane Fin is Do Cats Sense Human Illness? I present the stories and facts about five feline heroes (including one in the New England Journal of Medicine). I also mention my latest rescue cat, Kady, who massages my head when I have a migraine.
Another cat, Jordan (aka Library Cat), made me realize how choosy cats can be. And I don't think they can be bribed with food (as easily as dogs). Just because you feed them, doesn't mean a cat will want to hang out with you. For Jordan, the hip students are his 'cup of tuna' over the chaplaincy where he returns for food.
A 2013 Study Concluded "Cats Hate Being Petted"
I wondered how the researchers arrived at this conclusion. All of my cats (except one) love being petted. And the one that doesn't, enjoys being massaged behind her ears. During evening walks, my man-servant and I were greeted by a neighbour's cat named Orchid who insisted we spend about 20 minutes petting her.
Melissa Wiese (42dreams on flickr) / Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 GenericAn October 22nd, 2014 article by Rafi Letzter in Popular Science called Sorry, Cat Haters, Science Isn't on Your Side shed some light on this study. I was relieved to read Dr. Bradshaw's observations:
The research was conducted in Brazil, a country where house cats are far less common than small dogs. Dr. Bradshaw felt pet owners there might not be "prepared to handle cats in ways they enjoy." In part, the cats used for this study had a "long history of unpleasant interactions, not simple human touch."
Again, you can't stereotype cats.
How did the researchers conclude that cats hate being petted?
Joshua/Yoon Hernandez on flickr / Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 GenericThey found that the cats released more stress hormones into their bloodstream when they were petted excessively.
All I could imagine were cats being pet by strangers (who must have hooked up a needle to draw blood from them). Sort of like when a nurse that draws your blood holds your arm. It's really not the same comforting feeling as when a loved one holds your arm.
My thoughts? Of course these cats are going to hate being petted, they don't know what type of painful poke or untrustworthy stroke is coming next.
Cat Wants To Be Petted (only 49 seconds)
Published on May 27th, 2014 by AllWorldNews
Cat Cafes are Becoming Wildly Popular Around the World
MsSaraKelly on flickr / Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 GenericSure, not everyone knows how to pet a cat. But most people can be taught in a matter of seconds. Even children can learn how to handle a pet cat fairly quickly.
I'm quite certain that if most cats hated to be pet, the cat cafes of Japan (and other places worldwide) wouldn't turn a profit. Customers wouldn't be able to interact with these cats (they would hide). Or worse - people would be getting scratched or bitten (not good for any business).
The most recent article I read astounded me, though. On January 13th, 2015, News.Mic author Becca Stanek wrote Science Reveals What Cats Really Think of Us.
D.Meutia on flickr / Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 GenericSome of her main points were:
- Your cat doesn't love you back
- Your cat poops on the carpet because it thinks you're a loser
- Your cat doesn't care whether you stay or you go
- Your cat has ulterior motives behind those displays of affection
- Cats actually hate it when you touch them
- Your cat thinks you're too damned stupid to feed yourself
I was aghast to read her intro statement:
"While cats may look all fuzzy and adorable on the outside, research shows that they really are the cold, unfeeling monsters the world thinks they are."
Take a Deep Breath and Consider Who is Judging Who
While I mulled over that last article, I started to realize that for every bad thing said (or semi-proven) about cats, the exact same can be said about us humans.
Zuerichs Strassen on flickr / Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 GenericI mean, I know people that would say their partner:
- doesn't love them back
- doesn't care whether you stay or go
- has ulterior motives behind those displays of affection
- hates it when you touch them
- is too damned stupid to feed themself
The only thing that (one hopes) doesn't apply is "poops on the carpet because it thinks you're a loser" but one never knows what goes on behind closed doors.
Up next, Jackson Galaxy, cat behaviorist and host of the TV show My Cat from Hell shares some basic cat body language that people (ah-hem perhaps even researchers) get wrong.
6 Things Your Cat is Saying to You
Published on September 15th, 2014 by Jackson Galaxy
Crazy Cat Lady?
Rose Webster on Paw Mane Fin / All rights reservedI love dogs as well as cats. But I realize it takes genuine effort to have a cat love you back. Perhaps that is why the women (in my social circle) feel that men owned by cats are hot.
Every cat has a writer. Here are some quotes about cats by famous authors:
"What greater gift than the love of a cat." ~ Charles Dickens (1812 - 1870)
"If animals could speak, the dog would be a blundering outspoken fellow; but the cat would have the rare grace of never saying a word too much." ~ Mark Twain (1835 - 1910)
"A cat has absolute emotional honesty: human beings, for one reason or another, may hide their feelings, but a cat does not." ~ Ernest Hemingway (1899 - 1961)
If you ever wonder what your cat thinks of you, remember how much you put into that relationship. You'll get out what you put into it. Some are more challenging than others (like we humans). Not too keen on cats? Chances are, they'll somehow sense this and will be less affectionate towards you too.
Up next is a short video about a study that showed cat people are "smarter" than dog people. I disagree, though. I know plenty of highly intelligent people who love dogs more than cats, but I thought this was an interesting finding.