Science is catching up with cats
August 20, 2022 at 9:02 pm #44266
“Cat’s aren’t as smart as dogs. And they are notoriously hard to research because they can’t keep their mind on the test. Also, dogs love their owners and cats don’t.”
Science is showing us that there’s a lot of bullshit in there.
Cat research is maybe 15 years behind research on dogs, and as it catches up, we’re finding that the problem isn’t that cats are dumb or lazy, it’s that they are an entirely different animal from our canine friends and that there’s a lot more going on in those furry little heads than we ever imagined. In other words, they have their reasons.
Do cats love their humans? It’s a matter of degree and geography. You see, American cats are more attached to their owners than they are in far more cat-obsessed Japan.
A pair of Ukrainian cat trainers train their cats to do tricks any dog would be proud of, plus a few no dog could even begin to replicate. A dog will have a hard time crossing a gap by walking on a taut rope, even if it can. Not only can a cat do that, no problem at all, but it can also cross the same gap hanging upside down under the rope. Or, rather, the Ukrainians show that a cat can be trained to do so.
And the purr? Surprisingly, there’s a little mind control going on there.
It’s long been said that dogs understand pointing whereas cats don’t. Not true. It may take cats a while to figure out what pointing means, but cats can understand pointing. My cat does, as long as we’re both close to what she’s seeking. We’re still working on pointing across the room.
This 1 hour and 7 minute Netflix documentary will fill you in on the latest discoveries and help you appreciate what wonderful and amazing creatures cats are, both physically and mentally.
If you’re a dyed-in-the-wool dog person, well, it will at least help you appreciate cats a bit better and understand what cat lovers like me see in their purrfect little pets.
August 20, 2022 at 10:27 pm #44267
I would never consider dogs to be ‘smarter’ than cats. Just different. I swear, our Siamese mix had about 25 different “meows” all used in context. I understood her purrfectly. And BTW, some dogs are really stupid.August 21, 2022 at 12:29 am #44268
I would never consider dogs to be ‘smarter’ than cats. Just different. I swear, our Siamese mix had about 25 different “meows” all used in context. I understood her purrfectly. And BTW, some dogs are really stupid.
The cat expert John Bradshaw, author of the best-selling nonfiction book, Cat Sense, says that dogs have about ten distinct and identifiable vocalizations, whereas cats have about 10 times that many. That alone indicates a rich inner life.
(this video isn’t displaying for me for some reason)
BTW, Bradshaw is also a dog expert. After all, he also wrote In Defense of Dogs.August 21, 2022 at 12:38 am #44271
All about (the major) cat vocalizations.August 24, 2022 at 3:42 pm #44302
There are different types of intelligence across all animals. If this wasn’t mentioned in any of the videos above, one of the most obvious (to me) differences is about pack behavior. Dogs evolved from wolves, and going to a dog park pretty much always shows how social they are. Cats are less social by nature, more independent, and (I think) more concerned about their personal territory, at least when outdoors. Although it seems that kittens enjoy social interactions, while play is a very important behavior for learning how to spar, including learning what hurts and doesn’t hurt during play… those memories lasting into competitions for territory. Puppies learn similarly, but their play in larger social groups lasts longer into adulthood.
As John Bradshaw mentioned (above), dogs have more facial expressions, which of course stems from facial muscle physiology. I’ve seen science that says that the evolution of at least one facial muscle (near each eye) can be traced to a period of time during their first interactions with us. Some studies even show that they look at our left eye first in each interaction, as our left eyes convey emotions/feelings more reliably than our right eyes.
From https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fnbeh.2017.00210/full, The Way Dogs (Canis familiaris) Look at Human Emotional Faces Is Modulated by Oxytocin. An Eye-Tracking Study:
[…] Dogs, similarly to adult humans, show left gaze bias only towards upright positioned human faces but not towards monkey or dog faces or objects (Guo et al., 2009) and they can also learn to discriminate between neutral and happy facial emotional expressions (Deputte and Doll, 2011; Nagasawa et al., 2011). Although this does not necessarily reflect emotion recognition ability in dogs, the finding that they look longer at their owners’ happy vs. sad faces may indicate that dogs are sensitive to human emotional states (Morisaki et al., 2009).
As an aside, eye contact has similar ramifications across species, and I’m guessing that the eyes that point forward (typically in predators) naturally give away more “intention” than eyes on the sides of typical prey heads. So eyes naturally evolved with brains, especially in pack animals, to become increasingly socially communicative. (Although I think crows are more socially communicative, too, even with eyes on the sides. Would like to learn more about other species here. Hmm, now I wonder about owls.)August 25, 2022 at 2:43 am #44314
Quite frankly, due to having several Covid risk factors (age, gender, type 2 diabeters, having had one heart attack, not being in very good shape due to limited mobility, etc.), I’ve spent far more time in my apartment than I would have under more normal circumstances.
I don’t really know what I would have done without the companionship of my cat. Her desiring of attention and her antics have helped me keep going.
She’s got a real personality. She’s a feisty little bugger who won’t put up with any shit and will scratch or even bite me to let me know she’s displeased. Yet, when I lay down in bed to sleep or to nap, I can count on her to join me and demand some petting before she cuddles up to me. (I always say “She’s the last girl I’ll ever sleep with.”)
We have a little drama that happens almost every day when I make my bed. Once I start, she jumps up to get some petting and then I point off the bed (she understands pointing in that context) but as she charges off she yells at me or eve hisses before running to her cat tree to bicycle kick one of the carpet-covered verticals. And when I come around that side of the bed to work, she will swipe at my leg. A few minutes later, it’s like nothing happened. LOL
Anyway, as long as I can remember cats have fascinated me. If there’s a cat in the room, I can’t stop looking at it. I like dogs, but find them far too obvious to be fascinating. That’s as a species. I’m sure there are fascinating individual dogs.
I certainly don’t hate dogs. Were I younger and more able, I might have a dog as a companion for my cat. Cats and dogs can actually be buddies in ways that cats, who are territorial, really can’t.August 25, 2022 at 3:48 am #44315
_Robert_ParticipantAugust 25, 2022 at 5:01 pm #44316
Cats can be very protective and in unexpected ways. Cat guides blind dog:
In now famous video, the family cat stops a dog who’s attacking a toddler, sending him packing:
PopeBeanie START EDIT here. Unseen’s original URL fails for me, displaying something about a child protection setting, maybe I/we have to be logged into YouTube or ABC as an adult to see it? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EEa6jZv-Khc
But the following link works and I think it’s probably the same video:
PopeBeanie END EDIT here. (@Unseen let me know if I can just delete the “EEa6jZv-Khc” link that’s not working, at least for me.)
Cat runs to stop baby from tumbling down stairs:
And of course when protecting their kittens, their bravery knows no bounds:
August 25, 2022 at 8:38 pm #44317August 25, 2022 at 9:38 pm #44319
- This reply was modified 5 months, 1 week ago by PopeBeanie. Reason: changed video URL to one that doesn't require "adult" login
Unseen, that is an adorable lady.
Am wondering whether any of you have experience being owned by a maine coon cat. Was reading about em and they seem to be the mother of all cats.August 26, 2022 at 12:40 am #44320
Unseen, that is an adorable lady. Am wondering whether any of you have experience being owned by a maine coon cat. Was reading about em and they seem to be the mother of all cats.
Looks like they are not the cat you want if you want to play or pet: “Maine Coons are independent and lively cats. They enjoy their own company, and are not the type of breed that pesters its owner for attention. They reman a bit aloof, but are still happy to curl up on the sofa next to you. They are in their element outdoors.”August 26, 2022 at 2:12 am #44321
I read all kinds of junk about em. But this is a pretty good summary of their disposition.
Maine Coons act like dogs, and are known as the ‘dog of the cat world’. They have a friendly canine-like disposition, enabling them to build strong bonds with family members, and get on well with other household pets.
And did you look at images of the coon cats? It is unbelievable how big the males are.August 26, 2022 at 4:36 pm #44322
And did you look at images of the coon cats? It is unbelievable how big the males are.
I did an image search and many of the images show the cats with women or children which might make the cats look bigger than they actually are. But then I found this one of an adult male (human) with a Maine Coon:August 26, 2022 at 5:53 pm #44323
Unseen, it looks like ya’d have to devote hours each week to grooming. Coon cat’s face seems more wild than other cats. There are competing stories about their origin. It is just like certain dog breeds seem a lot closer to their wolf ancestors.August 26, 2022 at 8:07 pm #44324
Unseen, it looks like ya’d have to devote hours each week to grooming. Coon cat’s face seems more wild than other cats. There are competing stories about their origin. It is just like certain dog breeds seem a lot closer to their wolf ancestors.
I’m so glad Squeaky is a domestic shorthair. Other than occasionally using a tool to pull out her underfur, I don’t groom her at all.
BTW, as an aside: Why do cats enjoy petting so much? I think it’s because it feels like being groomed by their mother or a friendly cat. Cats bond through grooming.
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