Photo by fofurasfelinas (Flickr)
What does my cat think I am? It is almost impossible to know but we can have a pretty good guess at it. I sometimes wonder when my cats and I look intently at each other, and when I am talking lovingly to them, how they see me.
The answer must come from one of these three options:
- They see us as an animal that is different to themselves and accept us as companions.
- They have no opinion or thoughts about us. We are another creature with whom they cohabit. In other words cats have no sense of self awareness and are therefore unquestioning about other animals. We are just there and cats act on instinct and respond to our behavior.
- They see us a mother cats because we feed them and in effect mother them. In short we keep the cat in a permanent state of kittenhood and the cat does not actually see us as a large cat when they look at us, but nonetheless the relationship is one of cat parent to kitten.
Answer three is likely to be the best one.
I don't think cats see other objects including people in a particular way as we do. We label things, recognise them, are aware of ourselves (painfully so sometimes) and have opinions about other animals.
Cats are not self-conscious, it is thought. That means they are unaware of themselves as existing and as a cat. They don't think about those things. Their lives are lived instinctively and reactively to stimulus around them.
On that basis they also don't see us as humans (they don't know what that means) or in fact cats but they do react to us as if we were a mother cat. The emotional connection is of kitten to cat. That is the relationship. But this doesn't mean that they see us a large hairless cats that walk on two legs and upright! They just don't bother thinking about that sort of thing.
When we talk to them they react to the tone of the voice, the routines and our body language to understand us. We understand them for the same reasons.
What Does My Cat Think I Am?
ANS: A mother cat without questioning in any way my appearance and behavior while being able to recognise my appearance and voice.