The question asked by every cat owner at some point: “I wonder what my cat thinks of me?” Well, according to cat-behavior expert John Bradshaw from the University of Bristol, featured in a post last year from National Geographic, he claims that unlike dogs, our feline friends treat us like other cats.
He states that “dogs perceive us as being different than themselves and as soon as they see a human, they change their behavior.” The way a dog plays with a human is completely different from the way it plays with another dog.
The author of the National Geographic article (Christine Dell’Amore) summarized that cat behavior studies suggest that cats have a separate box they put us in when they’re socializing with us. She states that “Cats obviously know we’re bigger than them, but they don’t seem to have adapted their social behavior much. Putting their tails up in the air, rubbing around our legs, and sitting beside us and grooming us are exactly what cats do to each other.”
The findings seem to indicate that cats behave toward us in a way that’s indistinguishable from the way they would act towards any other cat. Bradshaw goes on to say that “cats think you’re just a a slightly big, dumb non-hostile cat”. Quite specifically, he says that “they treat humans as if they were their Mama Cat.”
This clever video from BuzzFeed takes a fun look at this ever perplexing question:
Unlike dogs who’ve been domesticated for over 12,000 years, cats and humans have shared their lives for only about the last 9,000 years. More research still needs to be done on cat behavior, but perhaps after another 3,000 years of co-habitation, we’ll finally have figured out how our feline friends think!
As any pet owner knows: “Dogs have owners, cats have staff.” ~ anon.