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.