Pet Notes
By CANIDAE

A Blog For Pets & Their People

At CANIDAE®, we’re committed to pets. Our company was founded out of our love for animals and our desire to provide proper nutrition and care for the beloved pets that enrich our lives in every way. So we’re happy to share our blog about pets with the people who love and care for them–you! We’ve collected a variety of articles that cover topics including nutrition, training, exercise, vet care, and more. And we’re adding to it every day.

 

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What Does Your Cat Really Think of You?

By Julia Williams

What cat owner hasn't gazed lovingly into their feline friend's eyes and wondered what they thought of you? I'll admit I have. I even go so far as to ask, all too often, "You love your Momma, Bella?" She gives me a look that says something like "Of course I do, you silly human. You put the CANIDAE® noms in my food bowl, don't you?" Ha.

No…we know our cats love us, and we also know it goes much deeper than that we keep the food flowing. We have a special relationship, see. It's one that humans have cherished since cats were domesticated some 5,000 to 10,000 years ago. (The fact that no one knows the exact date of feline domestication comes as no surprise to any cat lover, right?).

By Julia Williams

What cat owner hasn’t gazed lovingly into their feline friend’s eyes and wondered what they thought of you? I’ll admit I have. I even go so far as to ask, all too often, “You love your Momma, Bella?” She gives me a look that says something like “Of course I do, you silly human. You put the CANIDAE® noms in my food bowl, don’t you?” Ha.

No…we know our cats love us, and we also know it goes much deeper than that we keep the food flowing. We have a special relationship, see. It’s one that humans have cherished since cats were domesticated some 5,000 to 10,000 years ago. (The fact that no one knows the exact date of feline domestication comes as no surprise to any cat lover, right?).

With an estimated 74-96 million pet cats in the U.S., you’d think we’d now know a lot more about feline behavior than we actually do. Dog behavior has been studied ad naseum for decades, to the point that scientists and owners alike believe they have a pretty good grasp of what canines think. Cat studies are few and far between, so felines are still somewhat of a mystery.

There is one man, however, who has studied cat behavior extensively, and he believes he knows how cats perceive their world and more importantly, what they think of us. John Bradshaw is a renowned anthrozoologist from the United Kingdom. (Anthrozoology is the science of human-animal interactions). Now retired, Bradshaw says his current professional focus is on making the science of anthrozoology accessible to pet owners. To that end, he’s written several books including Dog Sense and Cat Sense. The books aim to show how science can make you a better friend to your pet.

Bradshaw says that cats are sociable animals to a point, but not to the extent that dogs are. After decades of observing cats and studying the way they interact with one another and with their humans, he concluded that cats don’t really understand us in the same way that dogs do. Moreover, they probably think of humans as being just another cat, albeit a much bigger one.

The reason for this conclusion has to do with how our cats greet us – they put their tails up and rub around our legs. Bradshaw says this greeting ritual is a sign of affection, and it’s similar to how cats greet other cats, especially smaller cats toward a larger one, such as a kitten to its mom, or a female to a male. Bradshaw thinks the behavior is likely a way that smaller cats indicate to larger ones that they want to remain friends. When cats started becoming friendly towards humans, they just adapted this behavior to demonstrate that they like us, too.

Bradshaw believes studies have clearly shown that dogs perceive humans as being different from themselves. For example, as soon as a dog sees a human they change their behavior, and the way a dog plays with a person is much different than the way he plays with other dogs.

With cats, though, scientists have yet to discover any behavior that suggests they have a separate category they put us in when they’re socializing with us. They know we are bigger than they are, but haven’t adapted their social behavior much. The way they interact with us is largely the same as with other cats.

To be perfectly honest, I don’t know how I feel about all of this. Beyond knowing that my cats do indeed love me and enjoy my companionship, I have no idea if they see me as a bigger cat, or whether they have a broader concept of our differences. The one thing I do agree with Bradshaw on is that more research needs to be done.

Then again, it just might be that we could research cat behavior to the moon and back, and still not understand what they think about us or anything else. That’s part of the cat allure!

What do you think?

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