Does Your Cat Think You’re Another Cat? The Truth

If there’s a cat in your life, chances are you’ve wondered how they see you. Do they think of you as a parent? Another cat? Do they know you’re a different species? In spite of a lot of expert opinions, from cat behaviorists to anthrozoologists, there’s actually no consensus on how cats see humans, especially the humans they live with. Why is this? Simple. It’s because nobody thought to ask the cats.

Of course, most people don’t know how to ask cats anything. But it’s simpler than you think. You just have to understand a little bit about how cats perceive the world around them, and then add humans into that view.

How Cats View Humans, and the Rest of the World

We cats use different senses to perceive the world than humans do. Humans are very visual creatures, while we rely more on our sense of smell and hearing. We’re actually nearsighted, and a large form such as a human is pretty blurry! We do perceive that you’re bigger than us, and we recognize (or don’t recognize) you by your scent, the sound of your voice, and how you feel and respond to us.

We also have a strong sense of territory. This comes from our undomesticated past, when resources were often scarce. The addition of more creatures meant less resources. When someone (human or animal) encroaches on our territory, our instincts perceive it as a threat. And since we are both predator and prey, that adds an extra element of fear and aggression.

So Where Does That Leave You in a Cat’s World?

It depends on many different factors. Are you a known entity to the cat? What’s your relationship with them? Are you seen as a provider of resources or a potential taker? Could you be a predator or another threat of some sort?

Notice that in none of this has the cat wondered if you are a cat. Because the truth is that’s not as important as you think! There are a lot of other priorities a cat will think of first before they care whether you are a member of their species.

So really, your cat does not care whether you are another cat. Every living being a cat comes into contact with will fall into one of these categories:

Friend or foe
Family member or not family

That’s it. Cats don’t think in terms of species, like, “Oh, here’s another cat. We are alike and that means something.” Your cat just wants to know if they are friend or foe, and if the other being will take resources they once were able to have freely. If two cats live together for a period of time and adjust to each other, chances are they will learn to consider each other family members, along with the humans in their lives. If they don’t, it means there is always a part of them that considers the other cat a threat to their resources, whether that means food, affection, or shelter.

But Does My Cat Know They’re a Cat?

Kind of, in the same way you know you’re a human. But unlike humans, we don’t put a label on it. Our minds don’t work that way. And it’s probably way less important to your cat than it is to you. If your cat had thumbs and a phone, they probably wouldn’t have clicked on this post. But you did.

Here’s the best way to simplify things. When you see other people, do you immediately consider them part of your extended family? Of course not! At best, you may sense a kindred spirit. At worst, their presence just rubs you the wrong way. Mostly, you’re indifferent. They’re just somebody you saw at the store, nodded to in line at the DMV, or passed by on the street. You didn’t even give a second thought to the fact they’re a human.

But what if it’s someone you ran into in a dark alley? Or someone in front of you in line at the coffee shop who paid for your drink? Then your response is more personal. But you still didn’t think, “Here’s a human threatening/being kind to me.” You just thought of what they did or might do. So why wouldn’t a cat be the same way?

So does your cat think you’re a cat? Of course not, any more than you think your cat is another human. And really, do you care that your cat’s not a human? You may even prefer that they’re not!

The Real Question to Ask

What you should want to know is, does your cat consider you a family member, and vice versa? Because that is more important than your species. If your cat considers you family, they don’t care what kind of creature you are. You provide for them, take them into consideration when making big life decisions, and spend quality time with them every day. That’s where the real bond is. As you already know, love transcends species. And love is not a cat thing, or a human thing. Love is love, and that’s what matters.

The post Does Your Cat Think You’re Another Cat? The Truth appeared first on Summer’s Fabulous Cat Life.

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