Many people still misunderstand the domestic cat. Many people are distanced from cat behaviour. They do not look after a cat and have not had the opportunity to observe a domestic cat by living with him for a long time.
Even cat owners sometimes fail to understand their cat properly through being unobservant and disconnected. People who are experienced cat guardians who understand cats would never described them as being aloof or asocial. Quite the opposite in fact.
It is a shame that through human failings the domestic cat has acquired an image of being aloof. There is actually a continual dialogue going on between cat and person in one way or another, often through body language and patterns of behaviour and sometimes through vocalisations such as the meow.
One cat behaviourist says that the meow means “take care of me”. Another cat behaviourist says that the meow has been developed by the domestic cat almost exclusively to talk to humans as a way of getting their attention. I think the “take care of me” assessment is a slight exaggeration. I sense that the meow is more a means of getting attention in order that we will do something for them. There is, therefore, a connection to the “take care of me” scenario. The meow instigates the care process.
Perhaps one difficulty that the domestic cat has is that people make comparisons between the domestic cat and the domestic dog. We know that the dog is more obviously connected to his human guardian which may give the impression that the domestic cat is aloof.
It is an unfair comparison. The domestic cat’s friendship and dependence upon the human is always apparent if one is observant and also if one is a good guardian. It’s a two-way street.
The better the cat guardian is, the more observant she is and the more connected to her cat she is. A lot of communication between cat and human is quite subtle and less obvious than communication between human and dog in my opinion.
The cat guardian/caretaker needs to be more intuitively observant and perhaps more intelligent than the typical dog owner to pick up the subtle signals. For my part, I feel that there is continuous communication between myself and my cat.
Communication is not reliant upon my cat telling me with his voice that he needs attention or that he is pleased to see me when I come home. Is his demeanour, his presence, his approach to me, his behaviour when in close contact with me and all manner of other aspects of body language and habitual behaviour which provides me with a very clear message, as clear as any human might transmit a message to me with his voice.
It is certainly a much more quiet relationship than between human-and-human. There is less talk. There are no arguments. There are no discussions. We both know what we should do. Both know what we want to do. It is well orchestrated like a dance routine which takes place throughout the day. Everything fits into place and there is rarely a hiccup.
This makes for a very calm existence which is something that we often do not achieve in human-to-human relationships. People who don’t know cats should not call them aloof. They are not qualified to comment upon the behaviour and characteristics of the domestic cat.
Journalists and reporters should not repeat misconceptions about the domestic cat. Often people who write articles on the Internet are ignorant of cat characteristics.
The domestic cat has a warm independent character with good communication skills. It just depends how good the human is in picking that up and reciprocating.
One last obvious point: individual cats have their own character and personality just like people. Some cats are more vocal than others and some cats are more independent-minded than others. That does not mean that all cats are aloof.