Why are cats so funny?

Cats are funny when we anthropomorphize them

Cats are funny when we anthropomorphize them

Cats might be funny to a lot of people but they are not funny to other cats. That should lead us to an answer to the question in the title.

A lot of people, judging by the success of internet videos, find some forms of cat behaviour funny. This is ‘funny peculiar’ rather than funny as in a joke. In other words a cat’s behaviour can sometimes appear strange to humans. It can be goofy and odd.

This is because cats are a different species of animal to humans and they are living in a human world amongst human possessions. There is a conflict between the natural behavior of a cat and the unnatural environment.

Domestic cats wandering outside do not behave in funny peculiar ways when involved in natural behaviour. They just wander, sniff around, hunt and chase other cats. It looks normal.

It is when you introduce cats to human objects in human environments that the domestic cat can behave in a goofy way. However, for the cat it is normal behavior under the circumstances.

Other cats living in multi-cat homes do not find their ‘friend’s’ behavior funny. It is just that we as humans are comparing a cat’s behavior with ours. It is also anthropomorphizing cats – making them human, which obviously means that their behavior will look funny/strange at times.

As cats are extremely acrobatic and athletic they can demonstrate some amazing moves, postures and positions. If we understand cat behaviour that in itself will take some of the amusement away from seeing a cat doing something ‘funny’. This is because the person can see that the cat’s behaviour is logical and predictable under the circumstances. It is the unexpected or what we consider unusual which makes cat behavior funny.

Also a lot of the time, indeed most of the time, domestic cats are not funny. We see videos of cats but these are often exceptional situations and unusual circumstances producing what some might see as weird cat behaviour which is normal to the cat.

Take the classic case of cucumbers scaring cats. It looks amusing and weird when a cat turns around and jumps a mile when she sees a cucumber lying on the ground. But the cat sees a strange and potentially dangerous object. She gets out of the way quickly.

These are some of my thoughts on why cats are so funny. I have probably simplified it. What are yours?

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Why are cats so funny? — 1 Comment

  1. I see my indoor cats as being quite inventive with the numerous toys and climbing opportunities we give them. They have adapted to their indoor environment and make the most of it. Indoor cats are able to remain more infantile and therefore more playful that outdoor only cats whose childhood is cut short by the need to eat or starve. I post quite a few video clips of my kits not because they’re so funny but because I find their growing up fascinating.



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