Is my cat thinking symbolically?

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This topic contains 19 replies, has 9 voices, and was last updated by  Mriana 5 years, 3 months ago.

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  • #1989

    Unseen
    Participant

    There is a certain toy my cat will bring to me and meow. She’s asking me to play. BUT…that is not a toy she wants to play with. I used to think that one thing that separated us from lower animals was the human ability to think symbolically. However it seems to me that my cat uses this toy to symbolize “play” or “let’s play.”

    Is this symbolic thinking on the part of a feline?

    #1991

    .
    Spectator

    Maybe she just wants to see YOU play, lol

    #2003

    PopeBeanie
    Moderator

    I’ve seen similar in a cat before, and assumed it was a gesture of confidence in me and/or a symbol of the cat’s own power and/or confidence. It was a dead rodent. Parent animals do that for their young ones, too. I can imagine a few other explanations that may be interesting, or possibly even true.

    Why don’t you just ask her, like maybe in sign language? Or bring her something by mouth, in return.

    Maybe I should embargo my posts for a few minutes, at least. Delay hitting that submit button. These afterthoughts are distracting. For example, it only just now occurred to me that Belle’s explanation may actually be the most reasonable Occam’s razor conclusion.

    • This reply was modified 5 years, 3 months ago by  PopeBeanie.
    • This reply was modified 5 years, 3 months ago by  PopeBeanie. Reason: add dead mouse to the mouth
    • This reply was modified 5 years, 3 months ago by  PopeBeanie. Reason: but wait there's more, dammit
    #2008

    SteveInCO
    Participant

    I used to own cats that I would play with by picking a stalk of prairie grass and moving the head back and forth on the ground, giving them an animate “mouse” to pounce on. One time I was with them and one of them kept leaping on the grass stalks, then looking at me. Seemed like a pretty clear request. Of course, it was a feline, therefore it might have been a direct order. 😛

    #2009

    Simon Paynton
    Participant

    I think you’re right Unseen, she was symbolising “play with me”.

    My friend’s cat has a special miaow for “mouse”, as in “here’s a mouse for you”, and later, “did you like your mouse?”. Maybe it’s a special miaow for “gift”. Poppy is a very vocal cat.

    #2012

    “Owners of dogs will have noticed that, if you provide them with food and water and shelter and affection, they will think you are god. Whereas owners of cats are compelled to realize that, if you provide them with food and water and shelter and affection, they draw the conclusion that they are gods.” Christopher Hitchens.

    #2013

    Strega
    Moderator

    @bellerose very likely, Occams Razor proposes the simplest answer is likely to be the correct one. Plus I kind of like the image of @unseen‘s cat holding a toy in its mouth, staring at Unseen, commanding, “Dance, little boy! Dance and play for me!” in cat-speak.

    #2014

    .
    Spectator

    @strega EXACTLY!!! She’s not dumb! If nothing else his confusion would be priceless enough

    #2015

    Mriana
    Participant

    My Siamese would announce she had a toy, while it was in her mouth, as though it were a mouse. She’d go all through the house announcing she had one, until she found the room I was in and then she’d drop it at my feet. If it was a toy mouse, dangling it by the tail to play wasn’t what she wanted. Even when she was pretending another toy was a mouse, she didn’t want play. She wanted praise for you catch/gift. If you thought she wanted to play, instead of praising her for catching a “mouse”, she’d leave the room looking like a very unhappy kitty. I do believe they have the ability to pretend, just from watching the various cats I’ve had in my lifetime. They definitely do have emotions too.

    My suggestion is try play first. You can tell if that was what s/he wanted or not very easily. If they don’t play and end up leaving, attempt to put your mind into a cat’s world and see what you come up with concerning the toy. For me, it was easy, in that she did the very same thing when she caught a real mouse, years prior in a different house, and she did the same with her toys too- seeking praise for a job well done. Weird, but true.

    #2016

    Mriana
    Participant

    @popebeanie I think your first answer is more on target.

    • This reply was modified 5 years, 3 months ago by  Mriana. Reason: wanted to reply to someone else, but made no sense sense it wasn't under that persons
    • This reply was modified 5 years, 3 months ago by  Mriana.
    #2019

    Strega
    Moderator

    @mriana oh please tell me Unseen has to bring his cat a toy in Unseens mouth. Would he have to do this on all fours? Fantastic!

    #2020

    Mriana
    Participant

    No, Strega. That wasn’t what I was saying. I think you totally misunderstood. I was talking about the cat and his/her behaviour, not Unseen putting a toy in his mouth.

    #2021

    Strega
    Moderator

    Too bad, too late. I’ve got the visual now, and I’m not done with it yet 🙂

    Not that it matters, however I was actually addressing one of the Pope’s comments above

    • This reply was modified 5 years, 3 months ago by  Strega.
    #2023

    Mriana
    Participant

    lol Whatever floats your boat, Strga.

    #2024

    Unseen
    Participant

    Why don’t you just ask her, like maybe in sign language? Or bring her something by mouth, in return.

    If I get on my hands and knees, she will lay down and stretch out in front of me, which is an invitation to me to pet her.

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