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This is how your cat sees you

As a 'larger, non-hostile' fellow feline

Friday 10 January 2014 15:46
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A cat snuggles up to its owner as he waits to be judged at the Governing Council of the Cat Fancy's 'Supreme Championship Cat Show' at the NEC Arena in Birmingham
A cat snuggles up to its owner as he waits to be judged at the Governing Council of the Cat Fancy's 'Supreme Championship Cat Show' at the NEC Arena in Birmingham

For pet owners who see themselves as a maternal or paternal figure to their beloved animals, we have some bad news for you. Your cat perceives you as less of a parental figure and much more as a larger, non-hostile fellow cat, according to research by a leading expert in animal behaviour.

This comes despite the constant care cat owners provide for their feline friends, according to biologist Dr John Bradshaw, author of Cat Sense (Basic Books).

Dr Bradshaw, a specialist in human-animal interactions has already penned a book on the relationship between domestic dogs and their owners, entitled Dog Sense.

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.

The book teaches "much about the biology of cats that you never suspected" a recent review by The New York Times said.

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