by Dish Staff
In response to this post, a reader writes:
Domestic cats are very diffident companions indeed, but they are still the most popular pet in the world. Probably because they require less maintenance than dogs both psychically and physically. This makes them one of the most successful mammalian species on Earth in terms of population. They are thought to be the only animal to self domesticate. As a predator small enough to be prey they scoped the opportunity represented by humans early on and some of the Felis genus threw in their lot with us. Some behaviorists have said that cats hang around humans simply because we have better food and we share it.
Some see total opportunism in all a cat’s actions. Manipulations masked as affection so we give them what they want. It is a highly successful strategy. They probably work and/or sacrifice the least for their standard of living than any other creature on Earth. The best last word on cats was summed up by a refrigerator magnet that said “Dogs have Owners, Cats have Staff”. Cats are wired differently than dogs for sure but, in spite of their obvious temperamental differences, are also known to defend a human when retreat would be the wiser course. Maybe they value us for something more than the obvious food, warmth and safety we offer after all.
To underscore that point, the reader sends the above video of a badass cat confronting a despicable dog. Another cat lover:
Rilke was describing a cat that was also an outside hunter. Those who have indoor cats enjoy a completely different experience. I’ve shared the last 25 years of my life with two separate felines.
Although having completely different personalities (and I consciously do not put quotation marks around that word), they were and have been nothing but completely devoted. It’s been very easy to read their their “emotions”, and it is very clear that most of the time they have been very attuned to mine. My first cat, Charcot, could easily tell when I was displeased and gave me plenty of verbal sass. In fact, it got to the point that a simple gesture on my part would result in back talk. I even thought of trying to get her in commercials, because I could elicit that talk with a simple hand movement.
My current cat, Merlot, is the most affectionate cat I have ever met. Upon my arrival home she greets me with a loud and extensive welcome. When I retire at night, she is quickly up on the bed after verbally announcing her intent to jump up and join me. And then, every night, upon arrival, she pussy-foots up to my face and starts licking the tip of my nose until I start to giggle from the “tough love” from her rough tongue. EVERY night! When she awakens from what I call one of her “night terrors” after a daytime nap, she begins to make crying sounds, and crawls toward me while still half-asleep, then jumps up into my arms for comfort. Where did she learn these behaviors/responses? While they have obviously been reinforced, they had to start on their own from somewhere. (BTW, my ex knew better than to try and take this cat from me when we split.)
Today, people who denounce cats for their “aloofness” have no one to blame but themselves. It’s obvious to cat lovers that these people have taken very little, if any, time and effort in creating a bond. Dogs will bond with their owners in spite of horrendous treatment. They are a species whose behavior very easily demonstrates the Stockholm Syndrome. Blind loyalty, or loyalty earned? While many appreciate the former, I’ll take the latter every time.