Picture of a woman suffering from an acute case of feline anthropomorphism

This is a picture of a young woman who appears to be suffering from an acute case of feline anthropomorphism. Did I spell that correctly?! I am kidding or I hope I am. Dressing cats as babies is treating cats as babies and that opens up a book on how humans relate to their cats. It depends on the person but some will relate to cats as little people. It is fun and a little dangerous. The latter because it can mean misplaced expectations. We should expect from our cat what a cat is likely to do under the circumstances not what a little person would do. Two points come to mind (1) breeders can deliberately create cats with baby appearances and (2) much more so than in the past, people think of their cats as members of the family so it is almost logical to think of them as little humans and relate to them like that.

Acute case of cat anthropomorphism
Acute case of cat anthropomorphism. Pic in public domain.
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You have to delve into the human psyche to get to the bottom of feline anthropomorphisation. In the past about 150 years ago when artists painted wild and domestic cats they could not stop themselves depicting them with human expressions. It is very peculiar and is probably a symptom of relating to cats as lesser creatures. The world was more human-centric in those days. Nowadays people are more inclined to grant equality to animals as they are far more sensitive to their emotions and needs. A lot of education has gone under the bridge since the time when veterinarians believed that animals could not feel pain. Some people to this day still believe it.

Here are a couple of images from artists showing feline anthropomorphisation.

Anthropomorphised wild cats - early 1800s
Anthropomorphised wild cats – early 1800s
Vincent van Gogh's sketch of hand with bowl and cat
Vincent van Gogh’s sketch of hand with bowl and cat which is anthropomorphised.

In an ironic twist of fate some Russian breeders are creating Maine Coons with human faces. It is as if the paintings from the early 1800s have come to life 🙂

Maine Coon with human face
Photo: Catsvill County (a Russian cattery)

Click here to read about Maine Coons with human faces. Did the breeder get the idea from old paintings? Quite possibly. It must have taken years of selective breeding to end up with cats like these.

The problem is that if people think of cats as people it can lead to mishandling and mismanagement in discharging cat caretaking responsibilies. That sounds serious and I don’t mean to get serious. We have to respect the cat. They think differently and more slowly sometimes for example when responding to a call to come. It is about expectation management. We don’t won’t to expect too much from our cats.

Definition of anthropomorphism: the attribution of human characteristics or behaviour to a god, animal, or object.

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