Easier than speaking to humans (at least for me)
Daily musings #585 - Monday, 29 August 2022
I am not a cat person. Partly because I am allergic to some and mostly because I did not grow up with animals much.
I was not a dog person either. But now we had had our dog for nearly 11 years. And it changes you. I grew up being programmed to believe that dogs were not welcome, they bite and you die. Etc. Etc. Victims of a bygone naive era where one was not expected to be questioning and curious. You just followed the thinking of the two previous generations. And so we grew up.
I am now exposed to various cats, one of my neighbors’ outdoor cats has befriended me, and last week I spent some time with another neighbor’s indoor cat whose owner was away on vacation. And from my interactions, I realized cats and dogs are totally different and had to go back to my drawing board on learning new techniques on “How to speak cat?”
Conveniently at the same time as my need, Netflix released an interesting research-based documentary “Inside the Mind of a Cat” and it was excellent in serving my purpose.
I learned several things by the practice of what I learned with both the cats I engage with:
Cats are not dogs, they know their name but don’t have a big vocabulary. My dog probably knows over 300 words in two languages.
Cats are fiercely independent and engage on their own terms. Approaches to reaching out to cats are different from dogs.
Cats are not food motivated. Training them is a patient repetitive process in small increments.
Tail usage and signals are different from dogs including a happy tail that is straight up.
Various types of purring patterns and ear shape responses for engage or foe and fight back situations. Differences in biting and scratching approaches.
The way they play is different. And cat bodies are hugely flexible and are able to predict their ability to squeeze their body through small holes using whiskers on the face and feet to predict that possibility in advance. And their ability to be buoyant and land on their feet by reorientation of their body during jumps.
So I have started speaking a little bit cat now. And I find that knowledge useful and appreciative of these little animals. And hope to grow it over time.
My previous dog tales: