Domestic cats are often unfairly described as “aloof”

It annoys me that domestic cats are often unfairly described as aloof. The definition of the word “aloof” is: not friendly or forthcoming; cool and distant. Conspicuously uninvolved.

Do those words describe your cat companion? I can hear people shouting NO. ‘Aloof’ certainly does not describe my cat and the word has never described any of my cats.

Why do cats touch your face with their nose?
The nose-to-nose cat greeting occurs frequently. It is a friendly greeting and pleasant for both parties. I think the human likes it more and feels blessed to be treated as a genuine friend by their cat. Image in the public domain.
Two useful tags. Click either to see the articles: Toxic to cats | Dangers to cats

The theory is that cats are described as aloof because they are also regarded as independent. Some people might see a cat’s independence as shunning their human companions because humans see the world through their eyes and believe that they own the world. Humans tend to engage in what is called anthropocentrism. A long word with simply means that the world revolves around humans. They don’t like it when the domestic cat has a mind of their own. But this is not being aloof.

Additionally, people tend to humanise cats and treat them as human toddlers or they compare them to domestic dogs. The dog is a pack animal and therefore inherently more social whereas the domestic cat takes their character from the wild cat which is a solitary animal. The small wild cat species are not social animals.

A big BUT needs to be added to the last sentence and it’s this: over about 10,00 years the domestic cat has become quite sociable. I think we can describe the domestic cat as a social animal nowadays. This is through adaptation to living in the human world. They have to become social. They often live in multi-cat homes with dogs and other animals. They need to get along and most times they do.

There can be complications in introducing a new cat to a resident cat’s home but they can be overcome and in doing so it demonstrates the domestic cat’s ability to adapt.

RELATED: Tip on introducing a new cat to a resident cat

You can see that I’m getting at the fact that the “aloof” description is, if we are fair, misleading and is almost a criticism. I would respectfully argue that the criticism comes from people who don’t know domestic cats very well. Sometimes news media authors don’t know cats very well and they regurgitate what other news outlets have said which tends to magnify this misconception that domestic cats are aloof.

They might appear aloof or independent to some people but they are quite sociable and enjoy interacting with their human companions as we all know. In fact, they seek out human interaction and companionship. For instance, my cat right now is sitting on my lap. He comes to me when I’m in bed dictating these articles. And if I don’t move my computer out of the way he’s upset. He is the one who wants to be close to me and I am the one being aloof by sometimes rejecting his advances.

Also, cats have different ways of expressing their affection towards their human companion compared to dogs. It’s about understanding feline body language and the unique ways of communicating.

And of course, the human-to-cat relationship is a two-way process. As all relationships are. It partly depends on the human caregiver as to whether a domestic cat is aloof or not. The human ultimately controls the bonding process. It’s down to the caregiver to be warm and friendly, loving and respectful and in doing so you won’t see aloofness in a domestic cat companion. You’ll see the opposite.

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