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The Holy Grail of Playing with Your Cat — 4 Comments

  1. Hmm, I only hear the growl either when I try to take the toy back or another cat comes close to them. So I interpret the growl as “Ït’s mine and you can’t have it.”. Jackson is cute with his made up terminology. Cesar Milan is like that with his pit bull training too. It’s kind of cultish to me so I usually resist appropriating it. Forgive me for that.

    • So I interpret the growl as “It’s mine and you can’t have it.” – Yes, and it is good sign in terms of cat play. I think Jackson can make understanding more difficult with his interesting use of language. Just a thought. His book Total Cat Mojo is not an easy read.

      • On the growl, I agree it IS also a good sign that the cat is really into that play moment, but cats do enjoy play plenty of times without growling. I just think the distinction is like I said, that it means “you can’t have it” in a fun, friendly way. Dogs do the same thing… the glaring exception being pit bulls who will tear you apart without growling and they enjoy that very much. The idea of being proprietary is a business tactic in order to lock in customers for continued use, like Beta Max and Apple Computer did back when. They happened to be superior products but it made it rough going, and Apple succeeded by bowing to market pressure and using the same ICU chips everyone else did. I think it’s better to use standard psychological principles and terminology when discussing cat cognition and behavior… that Jackson and Cesar shouldn’t reinvent for their purposes. Cats are hard enough for regular people to understand, why make it harder? Look at you, you’re very, very knowledgeable about cats and you find him difficult to follow, as do I. The best he might be doing with newbies is giving them a “sense” of insider knowledge, but it goes off on some side path, not the main road. Why not just speak in plain language? I liked the idea of having a Jackson G. as a fellow “guy” cat-loving ambassador but not exactly the way he does it. Again, sorry if I’m rubbing the wrong way. I hate to disagree with you Michael.

        • I just thought that there’s an actual problem with his leadership on this topic, which is what I think can happen when a person tries to reinvent common concepts. I mean it might lead the reader to believe getting the cat to growl is the goal. I don’t know if that should be the case. I’ve never thought to do that and I’m not going to start. As I said, I think growling is a warning, be it playful in this sense in the beginning but it boarders on hostility. A cat’s human might fail to understand that for the most part cats are nuanced and subtle, and that it’s not a failure if you don’t get your cat to growl. It might lead to excessive play and reaction and over time trigger the cat to go straight to a hostile mode. See, I knew there was something iffy about it. I just finally put it together. You and I should trust our own instincts.

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