Are Cats Devious or are they just Successful Opportunists?

It’s hardly a secret that I am an avid cat lover. Therefore, it’s extremely difficult for me to understand all the egregious, false statements that are frequently targeted at the feline species. Sadly, for centuries it appears that cats have continued to be inaccurately described as aloof, devious, sneaky and revengeful. Those of us who are feline-fluent realize that those people who keep spreading these vicious rumors (almost to the point of ad nauseum), haven’t got a clue about the true nature of this very remarkable species.

Cats as opportunists
Cats as opportunists. Flickr user: jerry dohnal
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Cats are highly intelligent, intuitive and emotional sentient beings who surely deserve the adoration that we, as cat lovers bestow upon them. Felines need to be trusted and deeply respected because cats simply are not devious. Cats are always upfront about what they are feeling and thinking. So to understand their behavior and what they are trying to communicate; it’s incumbent upon us to learn their language.

I have been magnetically attracted to kitties ever since I was a little girl. My father was a passionate cat lover. We both yearned to have a cat; however my mother, a passionate ailurophobe, would have nothing to do with a feline living in the house.

It wasn’t until I was married that I was finally able to enjoy the extreme pleasure of sharing my life with cats. Even though I knew very little about them back then, it was just sheer joy to have three wonderful kitties running around our apartment and sharing our bed at night.

Due to my naivety about kitties, I had no idea that thawing meat would attract them. So one morning before I left for work I put four frozen lamb chops to defrost on the kitchen counter. When I came home, I started preparing dinner. I was so thoroughly anticipating a delicious, albeit expensive mouth-watering meal.
However, much to my dismay and chagrin all that was left of a very specially planned dinner were four bones picked clean of every morsel amply scattered throughout the living room. However, there were three highly contented cats looking up at me, each wearing a Cheshire cat grin.

It was a good thing that my now ex-husband adored the cats and had a remarkable sense of humor. He started chuckling at the “remains” and bent down to gently ask the kitties if they had enjoyed their (our) dinner. They answered him with reverberating purrs and lovingly rubbing his legs. The only downside to this incident was the cupboard was bare, so my husband and I were “forced “to go to dinner at our favorite restaurant.

I have learned over the years that learning to think like a cat greatly helps folks to live more peacefully and in greater harmony with felines. One doesn’t have to be a rocket scientist to figure out that there is a reason behind all feline behavior; most of the time which is goal-oriented.

This comical video of a kitten on a mission uploaded to YouTube by Rod Chevrand clearly demonstrates that cats are not devious. I think he should be the ambassador to help debunk this lingering myth. After all how much more “up front” could a kitty be?

Do you still think that it’s possible for a cat to be devious? Share your opinions in a comment.

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6 thoughts on “Are Cats Devious or are they just Successful Opportunists?”

  1. I totally second what Michael said. “Devious” is a word invented by humans, for humans. Nothing underhanded going on with the kitties. Just pure, raw, beautiful, uncensored behavior in all it’s splendor and glory.

  2. I could not help but laugh. If you leave something, like chicken, out within reach of a cat you can expect them to take advantage. The cats here don’t touch anything, usually. That said, they will get into what we consider mischief. To them it is just a meal or a toy or however they think . The only time I have ever wondered about revenge was when my husband yelled at our cat, Copper. Not five minutes later Copper, in full view of us, peed in my husbands’s shoe and took off for parts unknown in the house. I have often thought that Copper was marking territory to show my husband where his territory actually was. LOL If you think like a cat there is always an explanation.

  3. Far from perfect myself, but it is a personal observation that those who flame and troll usually — but not always — are projecting. As for cats being “devious”, I would say “determined” and “hardworking” and “trying to survive by whatever means necessary” might be better terms. This kitten in the video seems to be all three of the above, plus very hungry.

    And you ain’t met “determined” if you haven’t met my Rani. She has earned the nickname of “Stubbs” (for “stubborn) because when there is something she wants, or wants to do, NOTHING will deter her. I wouldn’t even try, as long as I’m sure she’s safe. 😉

  4. Humans may call feline behavior devious. I just think it’s their way of getting what they want.

    My girl Angel was a Turkish Angora, and she was known for getting what she wanted. She didn’t like the fact that I kept my bedroom door closed at night. It was the only way I could sleep. All three cats would put mouse toys in front of my door during the night, as if they were trying to coax me to open the door.

    Apparently Angel decided it was time to step up her game. Several times a glass hand lotion container I had in the bathroom would hit the floor. Luckily it didn’t break. When I’d hear that fall I’d always come out. All three cats usually sat there looking innocent: “Oh, there you are. Isn’t that something? That bottle tried to commit suicide.” When they saw the door was open they’d slip inside my bedroom.

    Finally one morning I surprised them in the bathroom. Angel was up on the closed toilet seat with her paw wrapped around the glass bottle. Ruby and Rocky sat on the floor egging her on. Just before Angel tipped the bottle over I said out loud “Guys, what are you doing?” They turned, looked at me and ran. The next day I went out and bought a plastic bottle for the hand lotion. Angel tried that trick one more time. When it didn’t work she gave up.

  5. “Devious” is a word created by humans for humans which means: showing a skilful use of underhand tactics to achieve goals.

    Cats don’t do underhand things. They are smart when it comes to catching prey but it is not underhand.

    All cats, domestic or wild are opportunists. They have to be to survive in the wild. That learning has been carried through to the domestic cat from its wild cat ancestor.


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