For all you cat lovers...

Alucard

In the name of the Pizza Lord. Charge!
Staff member
#23
Selfish is a human category. It has nothing to do with cats or animals in general. That's an anthropocentric judgement of non-human behavior.
Unfeeling? How do they know? They can't possibly tell. They aren't cats.
Cats were part of the environment before they became pets. When they start threatening the balance it's altogether human fault. Irresponsible pet owners are to blame.

One point of the article says that purring and rubbing against your leg isn't showing affection. Maybe it isn't, but that's only two things cats do. What about licking your hand or your hair trying to "clean you", or coming willingly to cuddle, or winking at you or bumping noses with you or headbutting you. I had my cat for 6 months and he's been doing all those things and more. He is very affectionate.

Look at this. If this isn't affection I don't know what is
 

wakarimasen

Journeyed there and back again
#26
To be fair, I don't mind cats. I prefer dogs but I'm certainly not anti-cat. I do think they show much less affection, but as the link @Boreas put up suggests, that could just be down to the immature nature of their domestication.

Of course. They're still trying to kill you.
 

Boreas

Journeyed there and back again
Staff member
#27
Selfish is a human category. It has nothing to do with cats or animals in general. That's an anthropocentric judgement of non-human behavior.
Unfeeling? How do they know? They can't possibly tell. They aren't cats.
Cats were part of the environment before they became pets. When they start threatening the balance it's altogether human fault. Irresponsible pet owners are to blame.

One point of the article says that purring and rubbing against your leg isn't showing affection. Maybe it isn't, but that's only two things cats do. What about licking your hand or your hair trying to "clean you", or coming willingly to cuddle, or winking at you or bumping noses with you or headbutting you. I had my cat for 6 months and he's been doing all those things and more. He is very affectionate.

Look at this. If this isn't affection I don't know what is
Sure, 'selfish' is an anthropomorphic quality when applied to cats. But then so is 'affectionate' and possibly some of the other things you mentioned. When you say, "how do they know? They can't possibly tell. They aren't cats"...well, yes, but that's exactly what the article is about: some of the details of recent experiments that are being conducted by people to find some of these things out. You can't expect comprehensive investigations exploring all facets of cat behaviour and answers/results thereof immediately. Collecting data from which more conclusive results can be gleamed will take time. All the article is saying is that indications/results of some of the research already done point towards the findings mentioned (some of which are intuitively accepted by humans).

I'll admit the title of the piece has a sensationalist quality which makes it good click-bait.

When cats were only a part of the environment, they were not nearly as numerable as they are now as pets. Because of their independent nature, they have a much greater capacity for preying on species that are not used to such predators. During the migratory periods both in summer and winter, we would always find tons of dead bird bodies in our garden and all around the neighbourhood parks because of cats (most of them living in homes, a very few of them street cats). Some of those birds that flew down from Mongolia and Russia were very beautiful and exotic.

Like wakarimasen, I prefer dogs, but I don't have anything against cats. Dogs, however, seem to be hardwired with those qualities that we would anthropomorphically term 'affectionate' because of their pack nature. Cats are loners. Their wiring for caretaking is limited primarily for their young until they are self-capable. There are always exceptions, but exceptions rarely prove the rule:

 

Boreas

Journeyed there and back again
Staff member
#30
Yeah, the gopher one is brilliant.
 

Alucard

In the name of the Pizza Lord. Charge!
Staff member
#31
Sure, 'selfish' is an anthropomorphic quality when applied to cats. But then so is 'affectionate' and possibly some of the other things you mentioned. When you say, "how do they know? They can't possibly tell. They aren't cats"...well, yes, but that's exactly what the article is about: some of the details of recent experiments that are being conducted by people to find some of these things out. You can't expect comprehensive investigations exploring all facets of cat behaviour and answers/results thereof immediately. Collecting data from which more conclusive results can be gleamed will take time. All the article is saying is that indications/results of some of the research already done point towards the findings mentioned (some of which are intuitively accepted by humans).

I'll admit the title of the piece has a sensationalist quality which makes it good click-bait.

When cats were only a part of the environment, they were not nearly as numerable as they are now as pets. Because of their independent nature, they have a much greater capacity for preying on species that are not used to such predators. During the migratory periods both in summer and winter, we would always find tons of dead bird bodies in our garden and all around the neighbourhood parks because of cats (most of them living in homes, a very few of them street cats). Some of those birds that flew down from Mongolia and Russia were very beautiful and exotic.

Like wakarimasen, I prefer dogs, but I don't have anything against cats. Dogs, however, seem to be hardwired with those qualities that we would anthropomorphically term 'affectionate' because of their pack nature. Cats are loners. Their wiring for caretaking is limited primarily for their young until they are self-capable. There are always exceptions, but exceptions rarely prove the rule:

Affection is intuitive to humans only when it's a human affection. Just because cats show affection in different way to "human way" doesn't make them selfish or unfeeling. Just because dogs's way of showing affections fits into parameters that we can recognize as similar to our own doesn't make the dogs more affectionate then cats.
I understand that collecting data takes time, I don't have an issue with that. What I mind is making blank statements. If you set up an experiment that only cats can pass, all dogs will fail and vice versa. How do you measure affection? You have to go about in a human way, looking for behavioral patterns of one species and expecting to find it in another. That will no doubt produce skewed results.

I know cats are big problem in US. Here's it's stray dogs. You get your birds eaten, we get people bitten and attacked. It's quite serious, there isn't a week that goes by without an incident.

I had a dog when I was a kid and I loved that dog very much. Now I have a cat and I love him as well. Nonetheless I prefer cats more precisely because of their independent nature. Dogs can often be like little kids, cats to me are more like companions.
 

Boreas

Journeyed there and back again
Staff member
#32
Instances of 'affection' shown by any higher order animal will be compared to how humans express it. It's all anthropomorphasised. That was the whole point. Even fish display such behaviour that we can recognise. You can't say that calling a creature 'selfish' is categorising the behaviour as human-like and, thus, an unfair anthropomorphic judgement, whilst not considering the 'affection' your cat shows you in the same manner. I feel that pack animals are hardwired to display those tendencies we would call 'affection' and even 'emotional attachment' because they've evolved to survive as a pack, each member depending on the whole. Dogs are also known to display those characteristics that we would consider as 'mourning' for the dead; a sight that leaves little room for doubt that the animal is quite strongly attached to the recently deceased. And I'm talking of adult specimens, not the young. Cats just don't. They aren't built like that.
 

Sneaky Burrito

Crazy Cat Lady
Staff member
#33
Dogs are also known to display those characteristics that we would consider as 'mourning' for the dead; a sight that leaves little room for doubt that the animal is quite strongly attached to the recently deceased. And I'm talking of adult specimens, not the young. Cats just don't. They aren't built like that.
My cats definitely noticed (and behaved differently) when I had to have one of them euthanized a few years back (after a long struggle with a serious illness). They couldn't do anything around the departed cat because that had been taken care of at the vet's office. But they were clingier and more affectionate with respect to me for a few days, anyway. I don't think they understand death in that context, of course, but there was a difference and it upset them and they exhibited a reaction that could (liberally) be interpreted as mourning or attempting to comfort me and/or each other.

But really, you can't even group all cats into the same bunch. My current four all have completely different personalities, in everything from aggression to affection level to hunting ability (we're talking about hunting bugs that get in when I open the back door to take the dog out) to the foods they'll eat to the toys they prefer to the types of spots they choose to sleep in (out in the open, high up, hidden under a piece of furniture) to their reaction to water. One used to play fetch. Unicat seems to like the dog, even.
 

Boreas

Journeyed there and back again
Staff member
#34
But really, you can't even group all cats into the same bunch. My current four all have completely different personalities, in everything from aggression to affection level to hunting ability (we're talking about hunting bugs that get in when I open the back door to take the dog out) to the foods they'll eat to the toys they prefer to the types of spots they choose to sleep in (out in the open, high up, hidden under a piece of furniture) to their reaction to water. One used to play fetch. Unicat seems to like the dog, even.
I wouldn't even group all dogs (or other mammalian pets) into the same bunch, personality-wise. Also, why do you not let your cats out? Or take them on walks also on a leash if you're worried about them? I had a neighbour that would only take her cat out on a leash, but at least the cat got out.
One used to play fetch.
I saw a video of a cat on youtube that thought it was a dog. Fetched and even had its tongue constantly hanging out. Very funny.
They couldn't do anything around the departed cat because that had been taken care of at the vet's office. But they were clingier and more affectionate with respect to me for a few days, anyway.
When my grandfather passed away (after a long illness whereby he was hospitalised for some months), one of his dogs spent a substantial chunk of each day (for nearly two months) both inside and by the door of his room, whined and mewled a lot, stopped eating regularly and had to be force-fed for some time (when she didn't eat for the first few days at all - somehow, even though the dogs hadn't seen my grandfather for months, they still knew he passed away when he did - likely through our vibes). I could hear the dog mewling at night when I was there. The other dog also 'grieved' and kept the first bitch company quite often by his room, but she was made of sterner stuff and quite stoic. My grandmother tells me that now, nearly two years after his passing, the grieving bitch still goes up and lies by the door on a semi-regular basis, even though she doesn't whine and mewl anymore. I think this is a pretty strong indication of attachment.

I've seen strong instances of such mourning on other occasions when we also had to euthanise one of our dogs and the other two were depressed for a godawful long time.
 

Sneaky Burrito

Crazy Cat Lady
Staff member
#35
Also, why do you not let your cats out?
I am 100% against letting cats outside.

1) It's against city ordinances to let them roam (and have you ever seen a cat walk willingly on a leash)?
2) There are coyotes in the area
3) My front door opens to a parking lot and people are not always careful about where they're driving
4) There are some diseases for which there are not effective vaccinations (feline leukemia, which is a viral disease, and FIV -- there are vaccines, but they're not good; these are incurable diseases and they lead to seriously shortened life spans, plus they are easily transmitted to other cats in a household)
5) One cat can't get vaccinated due to an being on immunosuppressants (and unfortunately, Georgia is a high rabies state) and another has allergic asthma in the spring
6) Fleas, roundworms, ticks, tapeworms, lungworms, heartworms (yeah, cats can get them, and you can't really treat it like you can with dogs), etc.
7) You don't notice things like bloody diarrhea, abnormal vomiting, bladder infections, etc., as soon as possible when they're not kept inside and monitored all the time (gross, yes, but these are medical issues I have encountered)
8) Outside cats are much more likely to have toxoplasmosis than indoor cats
9) You have no control over what they eat (bugs, rodents, birds, fast food trash, etc.) so if they get sick you can't pinpoint a cause
10) Although I don't have proof of this, I've heard stories of people stealing outdoor cats and selling them to medical research labs (and there were verified cases in the news a few years ago of some kid in Florida stealing cats, torturing them, killing them, dismembering and skinning them, etc.)
11) I know a woman who let her cat outside one day; she'd been doing it for some time with no trouble. But that one day, he just never came back. That was almost two years ago and she still has no idea what happened to him.

I don't remember the exact statistic, but indoor cats have a significantly increased lifespan/life expectancy as opposed to cats that are partially or fully outdoor cats. It was a matter of a difference greater than 10 years. (I don't mention the possibility of kittens in my list because all of mine are sterilized. But that is something to add to the list, as well, in some cases.)
 
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TomTB

Super Moderator
Staff member
#36
I am 100% against letting cats outside.

1) It's against city ordinances to let them roam (and have you ever seen a cat walk willingly on a leash)?
2) There are coyotes in the area
3) My front door opens to a parking lot and people are not always careful about where they're driving
4) There are some diseases for which there are not effective vaccinations (feline leukemia, which is a viral disease, and FIV -- there are vaccines, but they're not good; these are incurable diseases and they lead to seriously shortened life spans, plus they are easily transmitted to other cats in a household)
5) One cat can't get vaccinated due to an being on immunosuppressants (and unfortunately, Georgia is a high rabies state) and another has allergic asthma in the spring
6) Fleas, roundworms, ticks, tapeworms, lungworms, heartworms (yeah, cats can get them, and you can't really treat it like you can with dogs), etc.
7) You don't notice things like bloody diarrhea, abnormal vomiting, bladder infections, etc., as soon as possible when they're not kept inside and monitored all the time (gross, yes, but these are medical issues I have encountered)
8) Outside cats are much more likely to have toxoplasmosis than indoor cats
9) You have no control over what they eat (bugs, rodents, birds, fast food trash, etc.) so if they get sick you can't pinpoint a cause
10) Although I don't have proof of this, I've heard stories of people stealing outdoor cats and selling them to medical research labs (and there were verified cases in the news a few years ago of some kid in Florida stealing cats, torturing them, killing them, dismembering and skinning them, etc.)
11) I know a woman who let her cat outside one day; she'd been doing it for some time with no trouble. But that one day, he just never came back. That was almost two years ago and she still has no idea what happened to him.

I don't remember the exact statistic, but indoor cats have a significantly increased lifespan/life expectancy as opposed to cats that are partially or fully outdoor cats. It was a matter of a difference greater than 10 years. (I don't mention the possibility of kittens in my list because all of mine are sterilized. But that is something to add to the list, as well, in some cases.)
Things are VERY different over here in the UK! Suppose I do live in a fairly rural location, but I wouldn't dream of keeping a cat entirely indoors. We have always put our cats out at night.
 

Alucard

In the name of the Pizza Lord. Charge!
Staff member
#37
Instances of 'affection' shown by any higher order animal will be compared to how humans express it. It's all anthropomorphasised. That was the whole point. Even fish display such behaviour that we can recognise. You can't say that calling a creature 'selfish' is categorising the behaviour as human-like and, thus, an unfair anthropomorphic judgement, whilst not considering the 'affection' your cat shows you in the same manner. I feel that pack animals are hardwired to display those tendencies we would call 'affection' and even 'emotional attachment' because they've evolved to survive as a pack, each member depending on the whole. Dogs are also known to display those characteristics that we would consider as 'mourning' for the dead; a sight that leaves little room for doubt that the animal is quite strongly attached to the recently deceased. And I'm talking of adult specimens, not the young. Cats just don't. They aren't built like that.
All I am saying is that the way we judge things is biased. I consider my cat affectionate, but I also know that is how I interpret his behavior. I don't claim that my cat is more affectionate then a dog would be. If I could sit down and talk to him I could find out how he's feeling. But we can't do that. Communication is a complicated matter even between humans.
These scientist have to justify their claim that all cats are less affectionate, selfish and unfeeling than dogs for example. And how are they doing it? They are trying to fit animal behavior patterns within human expectation of what affectionate is. And sure dogs are doing better, because dogs are similar to us. Just because cats have evolved differently doesn't make them less of anything. It just makes them different from us. That's partly the beauty of them. They are almost like little aliens with a mind of their own.
As far as the pack animals go, there's no doubt that there's a bigger cooperation in a group. There's also no doubt of hierarchy within the members and tight connection. That's why you get all those behaviors like mourning or depression. But I strongly believe that we are directly influencing the evolution of cats. Sure evolution is a lengthily process but today's cats are becoming more and more social because of us, living in multi pet households, living with more cats, more dogs, even birds. Just look at Sneaky's situation. That's very far from the wild cat they have come from.
 

Alucard

In the name of the Pizza Lord. Charge!
Staff member
#38
Things are VERY different over here in the UK! Suppose I do live in a fairly rural location, but I wouldn't dream of keeping a cat entirely indoors. We have always put our cats out at night.
My cat is entirely indoors cat as well. Partly because of those stray dogs I mentioned. I would be afraid to even take him out on a leash, because they would attack us for sure. They move in packs of 8-12, and I wouldn't stand a chance of defending us.
 

Hand of Fear

Journeyed there and back again
#39
I have always thought that when cats rub up against your legs it was because they were marking you as being their property by leaving their scent on you, and this would also let other cats know.

About the affection thing I think a animals have different ways of showing it, the same with us humans some people don't like giving hugs or kisses or saying to someone they care or love them but just because they don't do it doesn't mean they don't care for them.
 

J P Ashman

Stood on the wall with Druss
#40
Those names are great! Love cats but can't have one anymore (rented house and we're not allowed). The polecats are outside so they're ok, and the snake...well, she doesn't shed fur or have fleas or scratch things heh...