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Cat Emotions — 3 Comments

  1. Of course cats feel emotions, but they are cat emotions and not human emotions. The problem with anthropomorphizing animals is that their senses, for example, are very different from us so there’s lots of things that we are missing. They feel our pheromones smell, they have accurate hearing, sensitive whiskers and a whole smell organ inside their mouths that we can’t relate to. So the rules of cat emotions aren’t the same as for us.

    They retain lots of behaviors from their first interactions with their moms that clue us on the signs that they are content/happy: they knead, they cuddle, they purr, they display their bellies up.

    They demonstrate empathy: a cat is distressed by many kinds of baby animals crying and try to sooth the baby, lick their tears and provide some comfort. They perceive when their human is crying or sad and will tap on them with their paws, lick their tears, bump their heads etc.

    They demonstrate “jealousy” in a kind of competition sense: the other (cat, dog, new human in the household) is getting something that is mine and I will take it for me.

    They are curious and able to learn. I believe that “grudge” is more likely a marker of “this person is bad/not good for me/avoid” (smells off, hurt them, looks like someone they already dislike or is invading territory).

    I never saw planned revenge, but I observed “quid pro quo” behavior: you did something they dislike, they do something that you will dislike (like pooping in your shoe)

    Likewise, I see less “guilt” than “caught doing a behavior that I know is punished”. And they totally demonstrate that with that “oops” look.

    Grief and depression thanks to abandonment or death of a caretaker can kill a cat. I don’t think it’s the same as being sad.

    “Love” is attachment and they demonstrate that they love us all the time in very sincere ways.

    I really wish more research was made with better designed measurements, most of the experiments totally disrupt natural habitat and behavior and then give false results 🙁

    • Thanks for a great comment Lanika. I too wish more research was carried out on cat emotions. I recently wrote some more articles on this subject. It is a tricky subject because we can’t get into the head of animals and therefore we assess by observation of behavior. I think many cat owners do anthropomorphise cats and some project their feelings onto their cat. I concluded that cats don’t feel guilt and pride.

  2. Pingback:Very sweet and cuddly cat, loves to be held close | Pictures of Cats

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