Turns Out, Your Cat Thinks You’re a Large, Clumsy Cat

published Oct 18, 2018
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(Image credit: Jacqueline Marque)

Ever wonder what your furry friend really thinks of you? Well, you’re in luck: new study says that cats basically treat us like other cats. Before you curtly dismiss this information, this feline factoid comes straight from the mouth of cat behavior expert, John Bradshaw of the University of Bristol.

Bradshaw has extensive experience observing both dogs and cats, and authored the book “Cat Sense: How the New Feline Science Can Make You a Better Friend to Your Pet,” which delves into feline tendencies and essentially advises us simple humans on how to get cats to like us, (which apparently isn’t as an impossible as it appears to be).

Unlike elephants, cats have rarely, if ever, been accused of regarding people with the same sappiness as we do puppies or kittens. Instead Bradshaw’s observations suggest that felines tend to interact socially with us as if we were other cats, only larger, more klutzy and annoying versions who are apparently obsessed with them.

(Image credit: Lauren Kolyn)

Of what his research entailed, Bradshaw told National Geographic:

A lot of observation—watching groups of cats to see how they interact with one another and deducing their social structure. [I watch] cats in colonies that are free-ranging, and in animal shelters where quite a number will be housed together—you get interesting dynamics [when new cats are introduced].
I’ve also done slightly more manipulative things, such as studying the way cats play with toys, or testing cat [behaviors] at different times of the day. [I also observe] relationships with owners, interviewing them and giving them questionnaires to find out how they perceive their cats.

While he says that more research needs to be done to pinpoint cats’ exact thoughts about us (honestly, do we really want to know?), Bradshaw did successfully conclude that cats think we’re clumsy, among other things.

“In the book [I say] that cats behave toward us in a way that’s indistinguishable from [how] they would act toward other cats,” he says. “Not many cats trip over people, but we trip over cats. But I don’t think they think of us as being dumb and stupid, since cats don’t rub on another cat that’s inferior to them.”

Any other pet owners relieved? Being viewed as clumsy is far better than thinking your cat wants to kill you.