How do cats think about their owners?
Cat domestication is about 9,500 years ago. Since then these four-legged creatures have developed a very special bond with humans. Today, only in the United States the number of domestic cats exceeds 80 million, and it is estimated that the proportion between them and dogs across the globe is three cats per dog, writes Christine Dell’Amore at National Geographic. Nowadays people still do not know much about cats, for example how do cats think for them.
According to John Bradshaw’s cat behavior specialist from Bristol University, and author of the book “Cat Sense,” cats do not understand humans like dogs. In his research, he has observed many groups of cats in order to find out how they interact with each other and how they shape their social structure. For example, how do stray cats behave, but also how those cats in animal shelters behave, where many of them share common places. “It is very interesting to observe the development when a new member joins the team,” he said.
In addition, he has studied the way cats play with their toys and how they behave at different times during the day. He also observed the relationship they have developed with their owners, asking from them to fill in questionnaires to find out how they perceive their relationship with their pet.
After many years of study, John Bradshaw has come to a very interesting conclusion: that cats do not understand humans, such as a dog. “There has been a lot of research on how people interact with dogs and it is understood that dogs perceive people as something different from themselves. By confronting a person, their behavior changes. In addition, the way a dog plays with humans is totally different than when playing with another dog, ” he added.
Bradshaw argues that scientists have not yet discovered anything suggesting that cats put people in a “different box” when they interact with them. “They certainly realize that we are bigger than they are in size, but they do not seem to have adapted their social behavior accordingly. They raise their tail high, rub to our feet, sit next to us and care for us… and that’s what they do with each other, “he told to a National Geographic journalist.
He also points out that the most exciting thing emerged from his research was that many domestic cats may feel very stressed without their owners understanding, which affects the quality of their mental and physical health.
“Cats often do not live well with other cats, something that people may not realize, and as a result cats are stressed. Many cats have completely mysterious dermatitis or cystitis, and it is becoming increasingly clear that these medical problems are exacerbated by the psychological stress they are experiencing. ”
Bradshaw still believes, contrary to the prevailing view, that cats can be trained. “If your cat has acquired, for example, the bad habit of going up to the kitchen table, there are a few ways to prevent it. You could use a spring toy, so that whenever the cat jumps onto something, the toy bounces in the air. Cats will not like this and you will see that they will go down. Another most insidious strategy that we dont suggest is to use a children’s water gun. But make sure your cat does not understand that you are holding it. Cats do not forgive and as soon as they realize that someone is causing them anxiety or pain, they leave away. ”
In conclusion what we understand according the scientist, is that the cats are social animals, but up to a limit.