What do cats think people are?

Cats only meow when they’re communicating with humans, and not to each other. Except when they’re kittens, that is, when they meow to their mother when they want milk. This, I think, gives a clue straight away as to what they actually believe their relationship with their “owners” is. In other words, in the process of domestication, cats have been infantilised. Other evidence for this is that kneeding thing they do with their claws. They do this as kittens to their mother too, when they’re feeding. Not sure about purring, but I suspect it’s similar.

When communicating with each other, they snarl, and this is presumably a more adult sort of behaviour, as their wild ancestors might do. Also catching mice and birds is adult behaviour, so it seems that cats find it very easy to switch from adult to infant depending on context.

This is all in complete contrast to dogs, who inherit the pack instincts of their wolf ancestors, and the pecking order inherent in the pack, where one individual is dominant. Dogs transfer this sense of their place in the pecking order to their “owner” and derive pleasure from being obedient.

I am pretty sure that it is more complicated than that Maia. To start with: the concept of adult << this has no universal definition >> on the one hand we can say that you are an adult when you reach sexual maturity and on the other hand we can say that just because you have reached sexual maturity does not mean that you are ready for sex. This shows one of the many disparities between biology and psychology. This is not a debate that I am willing to enter.

To sum one thing up: “adults” are not the only ones who exhibit aggressive behavior.

I would also suggest that catching mice and birds is survival behavior as opposed to adult behavior.

I think dogs and cats both see their owners as parental figures in their own way.
We are providers and authorities.

It is a matter of perspective though, isn’t it Dan~? I had a cat that did not look at me as a parent and she made that obvious. Do you believe what some people say about cats fantasizing about killing us? Sorry, that was a side question, lol.

I think many dogs and cats do see us as providers - that makes sense but I am not sure cats view us as authorities - it would seem a bunch of dogs do just that - dogs at times like to test that authority but they are mostly happy with us being the authority.

You only have to watch the comments of a youtube video containing animals to witness how stupid people get when it comes to animals. I assume most of these people are not serious about what they are saying though - animals can bring a cute side out in us humans . . .

After reading the Op - which I think was a brilliant observation - my first thought was exactly word for word what you just said. :laughing:

It seems to me that cats see people as resource and authority. People provide and they learn that. People are also bigger and potentially dangerous - so an authority. Other than that, I don’t think that cats think about people at all. :wink:

I think dogs just inherent this dopamine trait tied to getting favorable attention. I don’t think they really care about much else when it comes to people although they still see people are a resource for many things and authority - similar to cats.

Domestication probably requires those things. If an animal doesn’t see it that way, they are not kept as domestic pets.

In my last post, I said: I am not sure cats view us as authorities. Perhaps it would be better to first define authority and match this definition against the internal mental state/s of a cat.

This I believe is where things start to get a little sticky. Dogs, on the other hand, we begin to appreciate the authority relation more.

I only meant that the cat knows - or discovers - that we can toss it out a window at any time = “authority”. Dogs accept that notion more quickly - not as willing to test it. O:)

Hahaha - the best definition I have seen on this forum.

I love it.