| || |
October 4, 2012 - David Alexander
I've had cats now for several years. I don’t understand them. Don’t get me wrong, I like my cats even though I don’t consider myself a “cat person.” They just don’t behave within the parameters of what I understand to be normal animal behavior.
Maybe I have a bias toward dogs, although I don’t know how that would happen since I have never really had one. Dogs behave in a predictable way. One can condition a dog to behave a certain way.
I have two cats: Batman the Cat and Manly. And they both seem to have behaviors independent of any attempts to condition them. Manly has been skittish since we got him, something I have tried to remedy by being extra nice to him even when he does stuff like poop on my laundry. By contrast, Batman the Cat adores me. He cuddles me and rubs his face on my shoes as soon as I take them off. He waits outside the bathroom for me. He has no concept of time and mews and rubs against my legs whether I’m gone for five minutes or five days.
Not that I don’t understand an animal’s affinity toward a specific person, but why me? I am not any nicer to him than my wife is … At least I don’t think. But he still prefers me to her.
To me an animal typically responds to treatment. Manly likes my wife far more than me. With the exception of a few disciplinary instances, we essentially treat him the same. If anything, I fill his bowl with food and scoop his kitty poops, so to me that should mean he prefers me at least equally to my wife. But he doesn't. I know animals don’t have memories of specific instances. I could see if I were mean to regularly mean to him and nice to Batman the Cat, they would fear and adore me respectively. That’s would mean I had conditioned them.
However, I cannot believe that Manly holds a grudge for me having smacked him a few times years ago. That would imply a cognitive ability that goes beyond a cat’s capabilities. Similarly, Batman the Cat’s behavior leads me to believe that he has chosen me the way a person chooses a friend. He evaluated my character and decided he liked me. That too is beyond a cat’s cognitive capabilities. I know that.
All the same … they both seem to hold true.
No comments posted for this article.
Post a Comment