I read this in an article once. It was about how our pet cats see us. It seems they think that we are bigger clumsier cats.
I also read once that they know their names when we call them. And they don’t care to come when called.
I wouldn’t say that either of these claims is proven. There seems to be some evidence.
I wasn’t surprised when this study popped up in my Twitter timeline. Research shows that cats are less aggressive and agitated when we let them chose how to interact with us. I think this is something cat owners know but may not be well known to others. But the best way to greet a cat is to stick out your hand. They will sniff you. They may turn their body for a pet or wander off. Either way, it has to be on the cat’s terms. Jackson Galaxy refers to that as cat mojo.
This is the story of a cat and a friendship. You will see that this study also reflects on human nature. We should approach humans in the same way we would a cat.
I met a cat at The University of Chicago. I would pass by their home every time that I went grocery shopping. At first, I approached it and it would run away. I would sit down on some blocks and just look over in their direction without moving forward or attempting to touch it. I kept doing this every week. It would get closer to me but was still too cautious to be pet.
I was walking with a friend one day and we stopped at the cat’s house. I sat down and held my hand out. For the first time, it rubbed against my hand. Then I knew that it saw that I was safe. Then we were the best of friends.
My friend told me that I have the power to tame people. I think he was speaking of himself in that. He was very hurt by other people in his past. He told me that I treated him like he was human.
The Little Prince
There is a quote from The Little Prince that I always come back to.
“I am looking for friends. What does that mean — tame?”
“It is an act too often neglected,” said the fox. “It means to establish ties.”
“To establish ties?”
“Just that,” said the fox. “To me, you are still nothing more than a little boy who is just like a hundred thousand other little boys. And I have no need of you. And you, on your part, have no need of me. To you I am nothing more than a fox like a hundred thousand other foxes. But if you tame me, then we shall need each other. To me, you will be unique in all the world. To you, I shall be unique in all the world….”– The Little Prince
Also later in the book.
“People have forgotten this truth,” the fox said. “But you mustn’t forget it. You become responsible forever for what you’ve tamed. You’re responsible for your rose.”– The Little Prince
I think this is why I remain super loyal to ex-friends and people who have hurt me. I take you are forever responsible for what you have tamed to heart. If I care about a person, I tend to care about them long after they are gone in my life.
I have always lamented that “normal” people don’t understand a wide variety of behavior. Anything unknown to them becomes something to humiliate or fear. I have a lot of PTSD from interactions from my childhood.
That’s the thing. Much of people’s behavior is unknown. We never know what someone in front of us has gone through. I think the world needs more kindness and gentleness to overcome this uncertainty. My sense has always been that if you don’t understand, then you should ask. This philosophy has allowed me to get close to misanthropic people who had given up on friendships.
Like a cat, humans also need this sort of approach. Allow people to interact with you in ways in which they are comfortable.
Here is one more cat study that shows that cats do love their owners.