HOW ALOOF IS YOUR CAT?
“A study by two University of Tokyo researchers, published by Springer in Animal Cognition journal, determined that cats recognize their owners’ voices from those of strangers…With the owners out of the cats’ line of vision, researchers played recordings of three strangers calling each cat’s name followed by a call from the cat’s owner and then by the call of the stranger…
“When strangers called their names, the cats had no reaction to the voices whatsoever. When the cats heard their names being called by their owners, they moved their heads and ears to locate where the sound was coming from.
“Researchers say it proves that while cats can distinguish their owners’ voices, their responses are not communicative. In other words, he hears you just fine; he just doesn’t care what you want from him.” (“Study: People’s Love for Cats Is Unrequited” by Kathy Antoniotti, Akron Beacon Journal)
We read this article quoted above in the Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE newspaper last week. It opened up a conversation about our experiences with “unrequited” cat love. So we decided to share it with you today.
Although the researchers in this study made sure they tested 20 domesticated cats in their own homes and not in labs, the conclusions seemed flawed to us. The study didn’t take into consideration how careful cats are never to show their truly, deeply loving connections to human family members in front of strangers.
If our cat Cuddles had been in this study, she probably would have appeared as antisocial as these hapless cats who don’t come running when their people call. The article concludes that cats merely manipulate humans. “A cat gives its love begrudgingly and it must be well earned. Get used to it,” the article states.
OK, so let us take a closer look at Cuddles, our black-and-white tuxedo kitty who has brightened our home since 1998. When we come home, along with the dog, she runs to the door to greet us.
Rather than manipulative, she allows us to persuade her. Even when we have to hold her in our arms to get essential medication into her mouth, she hates it, but purrs.
Cuddles has to eat special prescription food because of her hyperthyroidism. She much prefers other kinds of food that have been her staple all these years. We have had to wean her off her tastier food and on to the prescribed food.
At mealtime Linda sits near Cuddles, puts her fingers in the food to give it her scent, and waits for Cuddles to eat. Even though she’d rather eat the other kind, Cuddles knows “mommy” wants her to eat the prescription. So she takes a full sniff of her favorite, and then moves over to the other food to eat what she knows Linda wants.
Why? The study suggests that Cuddles, or any cat, could care less what a human wants.
Yet our little kitty takes her medication with a purr and eats a food she’d rather shove on to the floor. When Linda pets her, Cuddles even returns to the prescription food for more bites. Just to please.
So what do you think of this study? Does it prove anything to you about cats?
Allen and Linda Anderson, Angel Animals Network – Where Pets are Family
Visit A DOG NAMED LEAF by Allen Anderson at <http://www.adognamedleaf.com>