Why Domestic Cats Don’t like Selfies (a Message to Taylor Swift)

Firstly, let me say that I like Taylor Swift. What I mean is that I like her character although it’s a guess because I don’t know her personally. As we know, Taylor likes cats and she looks after two cats, one of whom is Meredith. Taylor Swift being a modern lady likes to take selfies and her recent Instagram selfie included Meredith who looks distinctly unamused by the experience; almost frightened.

Taylor Swift selfie with her cat Meredith
Taylor Swift selfie with her cat Meredith (on Instagram)
Two useful tags. Click either to see the articles:- Toxic to cats | Dangers to cats

The Daily Mirror amusingly says that Taylor Swift‘s cat is allergic to joy. This come from Taylor herself who says that “Meredith is allergic to joy”. Meredith is named after a character in Grey’s Anatomy (a TV series?). The actress who plays this character responded to Taylor Swift’s remark that Meredith is allergic to joy by saying “That’s because she’s dark and twisty!”

Of course they are joking (I hope so!) but it is quite nice to briefly figure out why Meredith looks uncomfortable in Taylor’s selfie. The majority cats will probably react in a similar manner.

The answer is not that cats don’t like being photographed (although my cat doesn’t) but in general perhaps cats don’t like being photographed that much because it often entails putting a large object quite close to their face which they don’t like. Which leads me nicely to the next aspect of the answer as to why domestic cat don’t like being in their owner’s selfie. It’s because the presence of the owner’s head which is a large, threatening object is rather disconcerting to a cat when placed near to their face. In addition, people like to put their head very close to their cat’s head (and squeeze) and this also is disconcerting and unnatural to a domestic cat. Is probably to do with size combined with non-cat-like behavior because the human is much bigger than the cat. We do see domestic cats rubbing their cheeks together and being very close to one another but that is cat to cat. We are very large creatures in a cat’s eyes and we are a different species of animal.

Cats are more able to deal with close contact with people when they stroke their cat. Cats see a person’s hand as much less threatening than a person’s head when it is very close to them. But to a stranger even a person’s hand can intimidate a cat.

As I said, in my opinion, this is mainly to do with size. Putting our head close to them is placing a large object attached to a larger species of animal very near to their face and it can be intimidating.

Although, I am generalising. Many cats won’t mind it and some cats will mind it more than others. It depends upon the cat’s character of course but, in general, I feel that what I have stated is true.

What do you think?

5 thoughts on “Why Domestic Cats Don’t like Selfies (a Message to Taylor Swift)”

  1. I find it hard to believe that cats are terrified of human heads…I can recall kissing my cats as a child, rubbing my face on them…if they had been so scared, they would have run away, rather than sat there and even appeared (as much as I can remember) to welcome the attention? If anything, I think Meridith is objecting more to the way she is being picked up and held than the presence of a ‘terrifying’ human face so close to her own?

    • I did not say that all cats are terrified of human heads. I said that in general (depending on the character of the cat) large objects thrust close to a cat’s head can be intimidating to a cat. That is it!

  2. No, Meredith does not look happy. She looks stressed.

    I agree with you, Michael, that cats don’t like selfies because they don’t like our heads (and our teeth) that close to theirs. I also think a cat might not like a selfie because it just wasn’t something they wanted to do. There might be some renegades out there who enjoy selfies, though.

    In the past my cats would either ignore me or pose whenever I pulled out a camera. Rocky would assume his Playgirl Centerfold pose (a la Burt Reynolds): He’d smirk, stretch out on his side with his head and ears up. My girl Angel would look interested, as though she knew what a camera was, and she’d pose the same way. Coyote would pose. Cujo, Moo and Maya didn’t pose, but they did look interested. Of course, this was before the days of selfies. I’ve seen articles telling how famous racehorses like Ruffian and Secretariat would pose whenever they saw a camera, so it’s clear to me that animals have smarts enough to know what a camera is and what it’s for.

    Samirah does not like the camera and I have to get her in a really mellow mood before she consents to having her picture taken. No selfies yet, though. I won’t go there.

    • I agree that some cats embrace the idea of being photographed. They do have the smarts as you say. We have more to learn about animal intelligence in general. I do believe that humans sometimes forget that we are so much larger than our cat companions. There is always a possibility that we can inadvertently intimidate them a little bit. Also people tend to squeeze their cat’s head against the sides of their heads. Some cats will accept of like this but it is unnatural to a cat.


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