Cats and people like a soothing sense of community

Cats and people like a soothing sense of community
Two useful tags. Click either to see the articles: Toxic to cats | Dangers to cats

Cats and people like a soothing sense of community. Main image: by ky_olsen

Fundamentally cats and people like the same things. Here’s a little snippet of information which tells us that we are like cats in many ways.

We know that cats rub themselves against us and objects in our home to deposit scent on those objects to make the place more friendly. When they rub against us they exchange their scent with ours. From the cat’s perspective this makes the place more friendly. It makes it his place, a place where he feels more comfortable. Exchanging sent with us creates a soothing sense of community for a cat.

Turning to humans, a recent study published in an online scientific journal, PLOS One, found that “people tended to feel more comfortable with those they considered normal or average” (Molly Babel professor of linguistics). People prefer voices that are similar to their own and more importantly, for men, the study concluded that men who use long words are not as popular as those who use short words.

This is because people who use long words are more unusual and people like other people to be usual and average for the obvious reason that for an average person the other person is more in tune with them and less threatening.

It appears that people who are friendly with each other sound like each other in their style of speech, tone of voice, accent and in the length of the words that they use.

This is all because people are looking for a community where they belong, a group of people with which they feel comfortable and at home.

I believe the desire for a person to be part of a community in which he/she feels comfortable is very similar, perhaps identical, to the desire of a cat to make his or her home more friendly.

The cat achieves this through depositing scent and using his nose to smell that scent whereas the human achieves it through language, the voice and hearing. Other than that the objectives are identical.

If people had a sense of smell equal to that of the cat I wonder whether they would also use their nose more often to find and create a soothing sense of community.

Useful tag. Click to see the articles: Cat behavior

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Michael Broad

Hi, I'm a 74-year-old retired solicitor (attorney in the US). Before qualifying I worked in many jobs including professional photography. I love nature, cats and all animals. I am concerned about their welfare. If you want to read more click here.

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27 Responses

  1. Jo Singer says:


    I would like to add just one additional thought. I think we learn a LOT from our kitties, if we are open to “listening” to them. I often think that cats are a lot wiser than we are! They certainly have lots to “tell us”.

    This said, even the most strongly bonded cats can have differences, and can, in a nano-second change their behavior from gentle cuddling or grooming to an ear-splitting spat- but after the “disagreement” is worked out, they go back to tenderly loving one another. I find this happening with my boys, especially if one of them decides that he wants to be closer to me than he brother, and bops him in the head to get him to move from his “desired” spot. LOL

    • Ruth aka Kattaddorra says:

      Yes ‘cats politics’ include not bearing a grudge and we should learn from that, just to move on from spats like they do.

      • Marc says:

        Yes – cats and indeed all animals are so far ahead of us with the whole grudge thing. It might be a simple lack of short term memory though in many cases but regardless humans have alot to learn about living in the moment and being nice.

        Cats have extremely minimal short term memory abilities.

        • Ruth aka Kattaddorra says:

          Yet they never forget being abused!

        • Michael says:

          Marc, your comment makes me wonder whether humans have evolved too far. It seems that animals are better able to live in harmony amongst themselves even if that does include one animal preying on another. There appears to be a natural balance among animals whereas humankind is constantly in conflict and it seems unbalanced.

      • Michael says:

        Think how many problems-billions of them-could be avoided by learning to bury the hatchet, to forget our differences and to respect each other even if our views are different.

    • Michael says:

      Thank you Jo. Yes. I agree cats do have these differences and they can cause a disagreement. But as you say, unlike lots of people, they go back to the way they were and don’t hold grudges. We can learn from cats. Although I forget what I said in the following article, it is on the subject of people learning from cats.

    • Dee (Florida) says:

      From first hand, cats are some of the most forgiving entities I have ever known.
      While still beating myself up at falling short on something, my cats go on as if nothing happened.

      • Michael says:

        Cats are forgiving. We tend to think that they will harbour a grudge and think badly about us if we are tough on them but they don’t. As Jo said, they forget and make up. Marc made a good point to that cats appear to have a short memory and so forget bad experiences which allows them to carry on as normal.

        • kylee says:

          thats so true. Thats why their love is so unconditional they dont judge, when your sad they are always there. They really seem to understand when your down or something else is happening. Thats what i noticed by my children.

          • Ruth aka Kattaddorra says:

            Kylee cats give and take, they know who loves them and wouldn’t hurt them and you are right they do know when we are down and need comfort and they willingly give us it and in the case of a bereavement they get comfort from you too because they are also grieving and in need of extra love and reassurence that you will be there for them.

            • kylee says:

              thanks for that Grief always seems to take a while to get though. The weather is changing so havent been doing so well today. i get great encourgment withe what you said thanks. 🙂

              • Ruth aka Kattaddorra says:

                Some people don’t understand that it can take a long time to grieve and if you aren’t feeling well on top it’s horrible, it makes you feel you just can’t bear your sadness.

              • kylee says:

                Yep thats true i just had some magnesium tabs & multivitamin. It sure does take awhile. I guess also grief does take longer. I do remember sometimes it takes me a few months to remember something has happened.

        • Ruth aka Kattaddorra says:

          Sorry I don’t agree with that! Cats never forget cruelty to them! A badly abused cat will avoid the person abusing them, where as a dog will keep going back to that person no matter what they do to them. A bit like a battered wife probably,they blamne themselves.
          Maybe it’s not actually memory in a cat, how can we know if we are not a cat? Maybe it’s instinct but for sure although a cat never bears a grudge he never forgets a punishment!
          My wise old vet told me ‘Cats bruise easily and they never forget cruelty to them’
          Yes cats forgive each other and don’t bear a grudge because they understand each other, both being cats, that’s ‘cats politics’
          It’s different with a person, the cat doesn’t understand why a person would punish them, therefore they become nervous of that person and they avoid them!

          • Michael Broad says:

            Ruth, you are correct. I was not precise enough. Cats do remember the abuse and the sort of person who abused them. I was referring to the sort of thing that people hold grudges about which probably in fact don’t seem to apply to cats.

            A case in point is Charlie who seems to have a fear of women. That seems to be a bit bizarre and I may be generalising. However, my observations of him indicate that it is possible that his former owner abused him and which is why he ended up at an RSPCA rescue centre.

      • Michael says:

        Cats are more accepting than us. I think that accepting things is also part of forgiving.

  2. Ruth aka Kattaddorra says:

    Yes I think it’s true, cats, like us, need a sense of a peaceful calm community, maybe cats even more so than us because they love familiar surroundings always where as most humans like to go off to pastures new, knowing they can return to where they feel at home.
    Like Kylee I’m addicted to PoC lol I had never felt so ‘at home’ at a website before I came across PoC.

    • Michael says:

      I hope, Ruth, that this short article helps people to understand that we are no better than cats and that all creatures on this planet are trying to do the same thing. As I said, at a fundamental level, we are all the same and therefore we should give cats the respect that they deserve.

    • Michael says:

      You know, I think it is such a basic need of all animals to be comfortable in our surroundings because it is part of the very basic goal in life: survival.

  3. kylee says:

    love this article, every part is so true. I never felt so addicted to a community like us for the same love of the cat. Its very much the same for the love that our cats give us in such unconditional ways

    • Michael says:

      Good point Kylee. We have here, on this website, a little community which makes our lives, and the lives of our cats, better.

    • Dee (Florida) says:

      So glad you’re here Kylee.
      There’s such a feeling of comaraderie here.

      Great article, Michael.
      I think all beings have a need for the comfort of being a part of something that feels familiar and makes us feel at ease.

      • Michael says:

        Totally agree, Dee. I know that I cannot live alone or without being part of a community where I feel comfortable.

        Everyone needs someone and to be accepted and better still loved. There are many studies that indicate that people who feel rejected and who are lonely have shorter lives and are liable to contract illnesses more easily than people who are not lonely and who are part of a community.

        It is a basic human need. There is absolutely no doubt in my mind about that and I think the key element is that everyone has a need to be accepted, respected and recognised for what they are. When a person loses that they feel isolated and that has an impact on health either directly or indirectly.

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