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Saturday, January 11, 2014

How cats see us

As somebody who shares my home with a cat, I was fascinated and a little bemused by this article in yesterday's Independent. The paper reports on the conclusions of biologist and animal behaviour expert, Dr John Bradshaw, the author of Cat Sense.

He has suggested that domesticated cats perceive their human companions as less of a parental figure and much more as a larger, non-hostile fellow cat:

In Cat Sense, Dr Bradshaw concludes that cats evolved as solitary hunters and still don’t quite 'get us' the way dogs do - and perhaps never will.

In effect, he says, cats are still fundamentally wild animals despite years of domestication. In the book, he explains: "the transformation of the cat from resident exterminator to companion cohabiter is both recent and rapid, and—especially from the cat’s perspective—evidently incomplete."

According to Dr Bradshaw, when cats rub up against their owners or invite them to stroke their head, they are in fact treating them as fellow non-hostile cats.

An upright tale is a greeting sign between cats, he adds, and is also a way of cats demonstrating their affection for their owners.

And when cats bring their prey into their owner's houses, it is a side effect of their hunting strategy - not because they want to bestow a gift upon the household. Once inside the house, cats remember they prefer tinned food which is why the rodent dead is then left on the floor.

I am not sure I really wanted to know all of that actually.
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