Cats are NOT Psychos!
A recent study of cat behavior psychology suggests that all cats are psychopaths of varying degrees. We say HOGWASH!
by Linda Hall and Rita Reimers, Cat Behavior Experts
Here at the Cat Behavior Alliance, we love reading articles and stories about cats. If it is feline related, we want to know about it. For the first time, we regret reading a research article. In fact… we are MAD!
Recently, some researchers did a “study” and concluded that cats are basically all psychopaths. You can read their questionnaire here.
We absolutely couldn’t imagine how anyone could make that determination! All of the classes we’ve taken and things we’ve read have taught us the exact opposite. We used Rita’s sweetest kitty, aptly named Sweetie Pie, to answer the questionnaire, and she scored very high. According to this study, she’s a psychopath!
The problem is, it’s a highly flawed study!!!
The researchers gave a questionnaire to roughly 2,000 humans to rate their cat’s behavior, and that is where we think they went wrong. They were measuring a human’s perception of their cats, and not the actual cats. Hey! We’ve all heard it said that “perception is reality,” but it is only the reality of the person who is perceiving it.
Let’s take a look at question #28, for example. “My cat damages things, (e.g. scratches furniture, pushes objects off surfaces).” When your cat scratches up your sofa, your perception may be that your cat is a jerk! That cat just destroyed a piece of furniture you value and paid a lot of money for! You give him scratchers but he “chose” your sofa.
The Reality of Cat Psychology
In reality, your cat has a natural instinct to scratch for many reasons. He HAS to scratch. He may scratch that post you bought for him, but he also sees something over there that feels good to scratch. That thing just happens to be your sofa! He doesn’t see a difference. Your cat does not value furniture in the way we do. He has no clue about money or what you spent! That doesn’t make him psycho. It makes him annoying!
Questions 9 and 10 ask if your cat will hunt a mouse or bird and then, will it play with the mouse rather than immediately kill it. Cats don’t see species the way we do. They have three categories. You are either a predator (you might eat me!), prey (I can eat you!) or part of my social structure. A small creature like a mouse falls into the category of prey and they must catch it. They may not eat it if they are well fed, but they still must get that prey. It isn’t a living being to your cat. It’s prey.
Other questions included cats who like to climb up high or watch out the window. Cats in nature are both predators and prey. They climb up high to observe, which is why we suggest you offer cat trees and high places for your cat to climb.
If you set your plate down with chicken on it, would your cat eat your food? Cats are driven by survival instinct. If your cat sees food out he likes, he will eat it. Would your cat chase a neighborhood cat out of your yard, hiss or growl at it? Most will! Again, this is nature as they try to protect their territory!
Every question can be explained by a natural instinct given to a cat at birth. The “naughty” behaviors like food stealing, aggressive behavior towards others and scratching your sofa can be corrected by a qualified cat behaviorist.
Human Psychology vs Feline Psychology
These questions may be a great start for observing human psychopathy but cats aren’t humans! In fact, according to this questionnaire, all of my children were psycho when toddlers. They destroyed my belongings. (Anybody else ever get red Kool-Aid spilled on their sofa?) They certainly liked knocking things off surfaces, just like cats. They had times of extreme neediness and some aggression. Those are normal behaviors for toddlers, just as these are normal behaviors for cats.
Here’s the deal! Cats often get a bad reputation. Many people believe cats don’t love and are anti-social. (Someone tell that to Karma, who is plastered against me right now!)
Can a Cat’s Behavior be Changed?
If your cat is exhibiting unwanted behaviors, we’re here to help! Just request an appointment here: SCHEDULE A CONSULT. Your cat is willing to do anything to please you. He just has to be taught by you just want is it you want him to do.