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Old 10-11-2008, 03:37 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default How do cats see their owners?

I'm sure this has been discussed before so sorry for that. I'm just curious how my cats see me. We all know dogs see their owners as the alpha male or "master" and do whatever they can to please them. But how do cats see their owners? Cats are way more independent then dogs but do show some of the same things. Like my tom cat, WhiteSox, he follows me everywhere. When I go to bed he follows me in the room and sleeps their till I wake up then follows me out to the living room where he'll stay the rest of the day. My girl, Kali, she isn't so revolved around me. Half the time she doesn't even leave her spot to greet me when i wake up or get home. Something funny she does do though is whenever I get up from my spot on the couch to go to the kitchen or restroom, or even if I get up just for a second, she will always jump up and lay down on the couch right where i was sitting no matter what. She always steals my spot!!

So do my cats see me as just another face around the house that happens to give them food and water or is their something more to it?? Thanks!!


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Old 10-11-2008, 04:00 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: How do cats see their owners?

Hehe, here's how I think Milly sees us...

Me: "The small one", a.k.a. the can opener
My boyfriend: "The tall one", a.k.a. the litter box cleaner



I don't think she sees us as "masters" or "alphas", although she probably does realise we have access to the food supply! lol!

I think she does care about us (as opposed to just coexisting with us); she always seems happy to see us and seems to know when I need a snuggle.
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Old 10-11-2008, 08:17 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: How do cats see their owners?

I think Toby just looks upon me and flatmate as 'slaves' to be honest. Or suckers. Probably both
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Old 10-11-2008, 10:25 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: How do cats see their owners?

I'm not sure how the kitties see us. Hubby is probably the "good" one. He's Da Bird, sneaking tuna when Mom isn't looking, giver of hugs. I am the get off the counter, no tuna is not good for you, kiss your boo-boos one.

I guess we are Mom and Dad.
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Old 10-11-2008, 10:57 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: How do cats see their owners?

I think Arianwen sees me as sort of a big alpha cat, though she knows I'm not a cat. She often looks at me to get 'permission' to do the littlest things, which is sweet, but also makes me a little sad for her. I have been working hard to try to build her confidence and independence, and she's very slowly coming out of her "shell".
It's going to take a while, as she's had a hard life.
But I'm patient, and I love that little furball with all my heart.
And I know my sweet little Tigress loves me very, very much. I'm certain of that.
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Old 10-11-2008, 11:28 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: How do cats see their owners?

The very best analogy I've heard to understanding how your cat sees you is the relationship between young kittens and their cat mother.
the mother provides milk, grooming, warmth, affection, protection, discipline, the kittens come to her, but she may move them around.
so the human care giver has assumed this roll, but the cat sees you as it's mother far beyond it's kitten years, throughout it's adult life.
in the wild, cats mature to be much more independent of their mother and each other, however domestic cats have been selectively bred
over the centuries not only for their looks and structure, but for this submissive "kitten-like" personality toward their human keepers.

the more you see your cat along this analogy, the easier it will become
to not only understand your cat, but do a better job managing their care.
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Old 10-11-2008, 12:19 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: How do cats see their owners?

what's that oft quoted phrase?

Dogs have owners, Cats have staff.
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Old 10-11-2008, 01:22 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: How do cats see their owners?

With their eyes.
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Old 10-11-2008, 01:26 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: How do cats see their owners?

I've always referred to myself as "cat furniture." Whenever I have a cat on my stomach and I disturb her by doing something like laughing or coughing, I tell the cat (as she indignantly stalks away) "I'm sorry. Am I bad cat furniture?"

Seriously, I'm not sure. Domestic cats certainly do retain more kittenlike behaviors into adulthood but I'm pretty sure they don't actually see us as their mothers, or in fact as a cats at all. I think it would be more accurate to say they relate to us via the same tendencies and behaviors that they evolved to relate to other cats. I'm sure that the human tendency to adopt small, cute creatures and nurture them is a side effect of behaviors that actually evolved so we'd care for our children, but we don't literally think our cat are children. (Well, most of us don't. ) I suspect with cats it works the same way -- they relate to us LIKE we were big cats (in some cases big parents, in other cases big alpha cats, maybe sometimes like big kittens) but they don't actually think we ARE big cats.
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Old 10-11-2008, 02:33 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: How do cats see their owners?

I think they think of us as alien companions that come with the territory, with the emphasis on territory!!

Yes, we're mom/dad/playmate/someone to be put up with (that would be our teenager) etc. But I also think that cats are fond of us, and are genuinely pleased to see us when they chirp at the door or purr when petted. And they do get depressed if someone is gone or whatever. Gracie acted upset when Jamie was on crutches with a broken bone in his foot last year - I don't think it was just because of the crutches themselves or the break in routine, I think she sensed that there was pain involved.

But I think if we always emphasize territory first, and remember ' solitary predator' we get it right. (I like the phrase "small tabletop predator"... ) Humans spend a lot more time thinking about what cats think than cats do wondering what we are thinking, I am sure!

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