Emotional intelligence is about being aware of your own and other people’s feelings and using that information to make better judgments. I am sure it is something that is partly inherited and partly learned. Sometimes the learning process can take the form of a period of mental anguish during which a person is jolted into connecting with his or her feelings and thereby more able to understand the feelings of others.
I am sure that emotional intelligence is also vital to achieving excellence in cat caretaking because it greatly facilitates an empathy with animals who themselves have emotions and feelings.
Please note: this is a discussion page. It is a personal view and I expect some people to disagree and some to agree the basic principles in the argument. Some people will think the idea ludicrous. Fine.
Owning a cat is about high standards of cat caretaking and companionship. It is based on love for the cat supported by a practical approach to life centered on a sensitivity towards the feelings of animals. Sometimes, the sensitivity is born out of the suffering of the human. I’ll explain that.
A person who has suffered some sort of mental anguish for whatever reason is more likely to have an empathy with the domestic cat and animals in general. Although, an empathy with the domestic cat is not dependent on a human going through a period of self examination and anguish but it helps.
It helps because a person who has suffered mentally to whatever degree and for whatever reason will tend to be vulnerable in the human society that we have created. Cats are also vulnerable in the human world and for a while the two are on a par with each other. This leads to a connection.
Conversely people who have undergone very little or no suffering are naturally more likely to be distanced from all animals.
I think it is about the process of sensitisation. When undergoing some sort of mental anguish a person becomes mentally sensitised to the circumstances that caused the anguish. They actually become more human by becoming more vulnerable and more aware of their feelings, shortcomings and humanity.
In becoming more aware of the fragility of the human he loses some of his arrogance. That simple step results in a much better connection with nature. It takes the human off his pedestal, from on high, looking down at animals, and puts him amongst them because all animal are vulnerable to human activity. I guess they live in a permanent state of mental anguish but they don’t see it that way.
Mental anguish may be caused by hard hitting events such as being bullied at school or it may be due to a very sensitive mentality that makes everything hard to deal with. Ultimately, it is about the brain being sensitised to the feelings of animals. People who have suffered are more likely to be more aware of their own feelings – to be more in touch with their own feelings. Perhaps that is what is called “emotional intelligence”. I don’t know.
However, I do know that a lot of people are very blunt in their levels of emotional intelligence. They are unaware of how their actions and behavior affects other people. These are the people who are the least likely to be good cat caretakers.
Finally, it seems that being sensitized in the way I have described can result in emotional damage that leads to animal abuse. There would seem to be a tipping point beyond which the development of sensitivity becomes the destruction of sensitivity.