Cat Saves Boy Video Sheds Light on Cat Emotions

Yesterday I posted a video which has gone viral of an ordinary family domestic cat charging at a dog that was mauling a boy. Having thought about the video I felt it necessary to write a bit more about it but not just about what we can see in the video (which is impressive) but what must have been in the mind of the domestic cat at the time. I believe that this video sheds some light on the emotional connection between domestic cat and human caretaker. It may go further than that because this was a boy being attacked by a dog and you wonder whether the cat would have done the same thing for the boy’s father if he was being attacked by a dog.

This happened in Bakersfield, CA. The father of the boy says this:

“My cat defends my son during a vicious dog attack and runs the dog off before he can do additional damage. Thankfully, my son is fine.”

It is almost as if the cat and boy had a particularly strong friendship and the cat perceived the boy as being vulnerable, requiring protection as if the boy was her sibling (or son, dare I say it). There is such a huge amount of commitment in the cat’s determination to stop the dog. You can sense the emotional motivation behind the cat’s actions.

The cat behaves exactly as a person would have behaved. In fact, as mentioned previously, the cat behaves like the boy’s father or mother. He is taking on a protective, fatherly or motherly role — I have a feeling the cat is female and taking on a mother in defence of offspring role. I’m not sure that, if the boy had a brother of a similar age, that he would have done what this cat did.


Update: Please see an extended version of the mother/kitten theory – the boy’s father has said there is a close bond between cat and son which developed from the beginning of the son’s life. The cat is tabby and white female. Here name is Tara.

I would like to know a bit more about the relationship between the boy and the cat. Judging by what the father has said it appears that there was no special relationship between cat and boy or it was not apparent to anybody that there was a special relationship.

It is hard not to come to the conclusion that this brave, courageous and committed cat perceived the boy as her child, her offspring! That might sound ridiculous to some people but perhaps the cat was part of the family when the boy was born. We have seen quite a few videos of cats becoming very connected to babies. This is something that might have happened in this instance.

I’m just speculating. I feel that the content of the video needs to be discussed in the light of cat behaviour and cat mentality rather than simply about the raw actions of the cat. It is not often that we are able to shed clear light upon the mentality of a cat in respect of his or her relationship with human family members.

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Cat Saves Boy Video Sheds Light on Cat Emotions — 22 Comments

  1. Amazing story was on the news tonite great to see a cat save his human brought happy tears to my eyes. Great story how the cat came into their lives after she followed the couple home after dating she said if he follows this far we can keep him. So i reckon that cat knew they were good people 🙂 i reckon that cat knew what was happening when the dog attacked amazing story i believe the story has gone worldwide what a great story 🙂

  2. I’m hearing now the dog will be euthanized. Too. Tired to track that one down. Let me know if you hear anything.

    • I didn’t know that. Not all cats would do that, I believe. I wonder what differentiates the cats who will defend their human caretaker or a member of the family from those that wouldn’t?

  3. Yes I’d say that cat’s emotions were like a mothers who would do anything to protect her child.
    I think a person seeing someone he/she loves in danger doesn’t think of their own safety, we just feel the need to rescue the victim. I think the cat felt like that, she could have been badly hurt if the dog had turned on her but she didn’t think of herself. She looked so fierce that the dog just ran. What an amazingly brave cat.
    I’m glad cats are getting some good press for a change, people say their claws can cause damage but they certainly don’t cause as much damage as an out of control dog can!

    • I am pleased that you think along the same lines as me. I think the emotional aspect of this video is important because it shows the domestic cat in a very good light, which helps to counteract the detractors who like to criticise the cat. I am always wagging war on the cat detractors anyway I can! 😉

  4. Truly, a shame for all concerned. It could have been worse. That little cat is just an amazement. I love her.

    Once again though, it is the humans involved that should be punished, not the dog. Dogs can be trained. If you don’t want to train, and exercise your dog, you shouldn’t have one. The home of the dog was not a good one. Re-homing would be more humane that euthanizing. The lazy way out.

  5. I have just seen the BBC news and they confirmed the cat bonded with the boy when he was born supporting my thoughts that the cat sees the boy as her offspring.

  6. What a hero that kitty was!
    Pretty obvious there is a huge bond between cat and child.
    Probably a parenting thing as you say.

    I’m sorry for the dog. As Dw says, it’s not the dog’s fault.

  7. I just watched the video again. How do you suppose they got all those perfect video shots from different directions, out of windows, over fences etc, in perfect timing of the attack? Seems a bit odd.

    But no cat will do anything it doesn’t want to do. Such an amazing animal. Warms my heart to see the effects of bonding between a small child and a cat.

    • Yes, DW, I thought about that too. My answer (perhaps a generous one) was that the house had more than one security camera (at various positions) so they copied the relevant raw video material from each camera and spliced it together which is pretty easy to do. It is definitely “real” however it was done and the father confirmed on British TV (BBC) that the cat bonded with son after his birth.

  8. Did anyone else notice that the cat had more “motherly” instinct than the kids’s mom? The cat, without regard for it’s own safety, ran at the dog to protect the child. Then, after she helped the kid up, the mom LEAVES THE KID AND TAKES OFF RUNNING!! WHAT THE?!? I’m a mom and, trust me, if I’m running from danger, I’m taking my child WITH me!
    Jmo…

    • You are so right, Lisa!
      I saw that mother leave the child too.
      What bothers me too is that we don’t see the face of that child when the injuries are shown.
      Plus, it was so fast that I have doubt that those injuries were inflicted in those 2 seconds. Too many injuries in too short a time.

  9. I read that the cat is indeed a female whose name is Tara. I think since male as well as female dogs protect their people, that a male cat that was bonded with the boy would have done the same thing. Who knows how many times a cat has protected his or her human, but there were no cameras rolling. This time it happened to be a female, that’s how I see it.

    The video is survellaince video from home security cameras. It has to be real considering the dog is being euthanized.

    Sad for the dog but it could just be a one in a million dogs that has a bad character. My cousins when I was growing up had several German Shepherd dogs and all of them were raised the same way; one of them was just a mean dog that would bite anybody except the people that lived in the house. She bit neighbors and relatives. Her son on the other hand was the most loving dog ever. We all thought there was something wrong in the mother dog’s head. Eventually she died by hanging herself jumping over the fence when her collar got caught on the fence. She was obviously trying to chase after someone or some other animal that had walked by. It happens rarely only, thankfully.

  10. This video really has been making the rounds. My friend Bob saw it, and he’s not one to spend much time on the Internet or really get into social media. He was really impressed that the cat did that. Bob’s not a cat person, so it’s amazing he actually told me about this video, after I’d seen it on PoC. That’s the second time since I’ve known Bob that I’ve seen him really impressed by a cat. Bob fixes our cars, and the other time was when he and I were at a junk yard looking for parts for my Toronado and Bob observed a junk yard cat poop and then cover it up. He couldn’t believe the cat was carefully covering it. I think many people who don’t grow up around cats underestimate just what unique animals cats are.

    • The more I think about this cat’s behavior the more I believe the cat, Tara, relates to Jeremy the boy as offspring. It was a mother’s defence of offspring. I believe PoC got in early on this video and we are the only site to suggest that the behavior is mother/kitten based. Since then it has even been on the BBC news at 6 pm!

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