This is an interesting video because the person who made it says that the cat in the video soothes the crying baby to sleep by placing his paw on the baby’s head. You can see that the cat holds his paw on the baby’s head for a long time. It really does seem that this cat is doing this deliberately to calm the baby down. But is this really happening?
I asked this question because…for a domestic cat to deliberately place his or her paw on a baby’s head in order to calm the baby down and return the baby to sleep, the cat has to recognise that:
- The baby is sleeping
- The baby is crying and therefore not sleeping properly
- The baby needs to be soothed back to sleep
- The baby needs to sleep
- The baby needs his or her sleep because it is good for the baby
- Placing his or her paw on the baby’s head will calm the baby down, which in turn will induce the baby to sleep again.
I know, and I fully realise, that the domestic cat is intelligent but let us not forget that the domestic cat does not have the same requirements or have the same lifestyle requirements as humans. Instinctively, a cat should not know the above information…but and this is a big but, this cat may have watched the baby’s mother placing her hand on her baby’s head because this is the kind of thing a mother does.
My initial conclusion is this. The cat is not placing his paw on the baby’s head in order to calm the baby down and soothe him back to sleep but to copy what his caretaker does which is placed a hand on the baby’s head. The cat is copying his caretaker because the caretaker is his mother and the cat is dependent upon his mother/human caretaker and will learn from the human because cats are very good at learning by observation.
That is the way I see it and I think my assessment is more accurate than the assessment of the person who made the video but I am fully open to suggestions.
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