Cats Don’t See Us As Cats

It has always interested me: how do cats see us? Do they see us as a large mother cat or as another species providing for them?

I have always tended to believe that the domestic cat saw us as a cat. I think I am wrong. I stress the word, “think”.

How do cats see us?

How do cats see us? Photo by IndyDina with Mr. Wonderful.

We are never going to really know, for sure, how our cat sees us. We are large, way too large to be a domestic cat and we don’t have hair anymore except on our head and in other places were we don’t like it ;). Hair is a big deal for us. For a cat it is “just there” and accepted.

Commentators on my article about how cats only meow at humans seem to generally agree with what I have said. I will take the sum total of the comments as meaning, “Yes, we agree that cats meow at us but not other cats”.

The most recent commentator described an interesting observation while working at the Vancouver Orphan Kitten Rescue Organisation (VOKRA) as a volunteer – well done by the way. You are one of us.

This is what Shaz says:

I sometimes volunteer for a cat rescue organisation called the Vancouver Orphan Kitten Rescue Organisation (VOKRA) and one of the ways we can tell if a cat is not feral is if it meows at us – feral cats don’t meow.

So feral cats don’t meow at us while domestic cats do. It is a test as to whether the cat is feral or not. It is that regular and certain.

The domestic cat must see us not as a cat but some other creature because they meow at us. They appear to have got used to us as another species, who provides all they need and with whom they can have a relationship. There are lots of examples of cats making friends with other species of animal.

Whereas the feral cat does not meow at us. I take this to mean true feral cats. This might indicate that the feral cat sees us as another cat or as a hostile creature in a hostile environment – the cat shelter – which renders them mute.

If the feral cat sees us as a cat it would be because they are only used to associating with other cats whereas the domestic cat has become habituated to dealing with a large creature, but not a cat, who provides all they need to survive.

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Click this to see a nice picture of a cat and person supporting each other.

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Comments

Cats Don’t See Us As Cats — 7 Comments

  1. We will never know how our cats see us but I imagine they see the people they love as friendly giants.
    I often get down on the floor to remind myself just how big we and the world look to cats. It must be quite frightening to a cat to see a person looming over them and we are honoured with the trust our cats show us by coming to us when we are upright.
    When doing TNR we always tried to keep the cats in the trap cage up a height to lessen their stress until we got the cover over the cage, I think we must look like unfriendly giants to ferals if we loom over them.

  2. It is a puzzle how our cats see us but I bet they think we are peculiar looking things having to wear clothes because we have no fur.Sometimes one of my cats comes in the bathroom and stares at me sitting in the bath and I think is she wondering why we people don’t use our tongues to wash ourselves like they do lol

    • Yes, they think we are strange but cats do have an ability to get on with other species. There are many examples. The deer is a good one. I think domestication has made the cat very adaptable and accepting of species provided they are gentle and nonthreatening.

  3. I didn’t know that about ferals not meowing. Sealy didn’t meow at us the first 9-10 months he was with us. We were told he was a feral. He even had a wild odor that is still noticed.

    Our cats consider us a massage therapists and chefs.

    • They probably see you wearing a large white chef’s hat and think they are permanently in a nice restaurant.

      I found the feral cat “test” interesting.

  4. Sealy is our loudest meower. He’ll sit on top of Laura in bed and meow for breakfast. And our rescue Coral has never ever meowed. She has hissed a few times when snuck up on but that’s it.

    • Feral cats learn to talk to humans with the meow. It makes me wonder if they actually learn to talk by listening to us. Their meow is as near to our way of communicating as they can achieve.

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