As fans and Carers of cats, we regularly catch ourselves thinking about what’s going on in their furry heads. Are there cat philosophers who wonder about the point of human’s life? Or maybe cat psychologists who analyze our every move and try to understand the human’s body language? And do cats even see us as people, or maybe in their eyes, we are giant, two-legged, distant cousins of felines? Today on the blog, with the help of cats from #myKottyCats team, we’ll be trying to resolve some doubts and check how cats see us - their Carers. Enjoy!
People as seen by a psychologist cat
Cats are great at reading human emotions. Our agitation, worry, anger, but also happiness and positive attitude are, for cats, a clear sign of how to react to a certain situation and if, from the cat’s perspective, it’s safe to stay in it or not. As it often happens, when we’re angry, cats keep their distance from us, but when we’re sad or sick, they come over to comfort us and keep us company. And though cats don’t necessarily need to express such emotions of their own towards other cats, they’ve learned to live among people in purrfect harmony. Maybe in their previous lives they were actually psychologists or cats of psychologists? Teddy, Kitku Yoda, Tosia and Luna from the myKotty team didn’t want to confirm or deny :)
What does this mean for us, cat Carers? Here, we can already see that cats probably don’t see people as a distant relative to cats - they’ve learned to react to our emotions, but they probably don’t understand most of them and don’t feel the need to repeat them. They also know that if we were to be cats, we’d definitely be better at reading the signals that cats send our way :) Those are just small hiccups that can be forgiven though, because when our relationship with our cats is strong, we can count on their purring support in the toughest of situations and vice versa.
How did cats manage to adapt to communicating with people who are far away from being as gracious in their body language as cats are? The answer is simple - they built their knowledge on years of experience! The ancestors to our modern-day domestic cats saw that being around people brought them a safe place to be, a constant food supply and, with time, a helpful hand in tough situations, e.g. illness. In order to communicate better with the newly domesticated species, cats worked on their ability to use body language (like their tail, ear and whiskers position or direct interactions with people) as well as meowing in different tones, trying to convey particular things to us. Are they actually trying to replicate our speech patterns, seeing as people mostly communicate between each other with their voice? Maybe! After all, besides the first few weeks of a kitten’s life, cats hardly ever meow at each other.
And what did cats from the #myKottyCats team come up with in terms of communication? Teddy, for example, always follows his people around and meows when he wants our attention, in the most loud and obnoxious way, of course. Kitku Yoda, on the other hand, always responds to us looking at him or talking to him with something that resembles squawking, similarly to Tosia, who always communicates with her hoomans by squawking and chirping.
What’s interesting, the effectiveness of communication between cats and people relies hugely on the bond between a particular cat and their Carer. And this one strengthens the theory that cats know that we’re a totally different species and have not much in common with their wild ancestors, actually. Through their own body language, cats can convey a certain emotion to any other cat and they will understand each other, but when it comes to communicating with people, without having a common baggage of experiences and time spent together with the Carer, trying to communicate with a stranger can resemble trying to teach them a foreign, never heard language without a dictionary!
For cats, we’re just… humans
The theory where cats think that people are big cats has been repeated here and there throughout the years, among cat Carers and fans and that’s no surprise - cats are like a family for us and we’d love to think that they see us the same. Most cat behavior analyses show, however, that cats are perfectly aware of the fact that people are not cats - after all, no meowing friend would take it upon themselves to serve another cat in the kitchen, tend to all their needs and wants or, cat forbid, clean up the litter box! Also, people walk on two feet, aren’t furry, spend hours in the kitchen instead of just catching a mouse and they can’t wash themselves without using water. That’s totally not cat-like for them.
Coming back to the question we asked at the start, we’re wondering once again: how do cats see their Carers? Well… depending on their needs, our furry friends can treat us as living food dispensers and clean-up service. They can also appreciate us and love us in their own, unique and fluffy way. What we can be sure of is that if we build a solid relationship with our cats, one based on mutual trust, love and care, in the cats’ eyes, we’ll definitely be their family members, even if we’re far from finding cat ancestors in our family trees.
And did you, dear fabCats, ever wonder about what your cats may think about you? Maybe you have your own ideas which have been telepathically told to you by your cats and you’d like to share? The comments section waits for you!