Categories: defensive behavior

Clear cut case of domestic cat protecting a baby

Cat comes to defense of baby

This is an irrefutable example of a domestic cat protecting a baby from a man (the father) who pretends that he is hurting his baby. It is a rather bizarre video really because I disagree with the behavior of the man. There is something distasteful about it. However, the behavior of the cat is first rate. I don’t think the man gave any thought to how his actions might affect his relationship with his cat.

We can see that the cat understands that the man (a person she knows) is hurting the baby who she also knows. How is this information processed by the cat? Does she begin to believe that the man is bad and dangerous? She might. If she does it might affect the relationship between cat and man.

You can tell that in the past the cat has defended the baby because the parents decided to make a video of it and to make the video they had to set it up and pretend that the baby was being hurt. But was the baby really hurt before? A wild question no doubt.

Anyway the video is excellent in one respect: domestic cats form strong bonds with babies once they overcome their initial anxiety and they also seem to treat them as their offspring in coming to their defence (or perhaps friends).

Also it tells us that cats understand when harm is being done to humans by humans although it was faked in this instance.

To me it raises the profile of the domestic cat. It hints at a level of intelligence for which the domestic is not often credited. I hope it serves to encourage cat owners to relate to their cat companion in a more enlightened way.

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Michael Broad

Hi, I'm a 71-year-old retired solicitor (attorney in the US). Before qualifying I worked in many jobs including professional photography. I have a girlfriend, Michelle. I love nature, cats and all animals. I am concerned about their welfare.

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  • Whilst protection behavior is fairly common in dogs (a pack animal), I still think you are reading something into this that is actually not there, I believe cats attack movement and are not protective of humans. As for the cat attacking the dog in "that video of the cat chasing off the dog who attacked the little boy" it was more of the same.
    Just my views, but I respect yours and wish I could believe them.

  • I wondered about this activity on the dad's part, and how that would affect his relationship with the cat, and even with the child.

    I had never seen a cat defend a person until that video of the cat chasing off the dog who attacked the little boy in the family.

    It's more likely that a cat would defend a baby or young child, than an adult. I wonder about this.

    • had never seen a cat defend a person until that video of the cat chasing off the dog who attacked the little boy in the family.

      I am the same. To me (without being sentimental or anthropomorphizing cats) I am convinced that domestic cats do protect babies under certain circumstances. Based on 8 years of studying cats ;) . I don't expect all domestic cats to do it but there is certainly a connection between baby and cat in many households which is more than the eye can see.

    • "It’s more likely that a cat would defend a baby or young child, than an adult. I wonder about this."

      So is it more likely for a cat to attack an adult rather than a child?

      Nice idea but I don't think it works that way, I think the cat was simply attacking a patting hand, it would have been the same if the baby wasn't in the rocker and the man was smacking the chair.

      • I am not sure you are correct. I believe that domestic cats are more likely to defend a baby. If this is true it is probably due to size similarities and the natural maternal instinct. Female cats help raise the young of other females in colonies. Also I don't think this means a cat is more likely to attack an adult. A cat has attacked a dog in the past when attacking a child.

        Also I don't believe this cat was simply attacking a patting hand. All the evidence points to the cat believing the hand was attacking the baby. That is a common sense assessment. I cannot envisage this cat attacking the man's hand if he was slapping a chair or a table with no baby in sight.

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