Have you ever wondered what’s on your cat’s mind – with their thousand- yard stare, slow blinking eyes or twitchy tail? Assuming you believe your fickle-feline ponders anything at all given their brains weigh just 1.06 ounces on average. You wouldn’t be the first person to question the intellect of your cat, just because your cat has a brain, does that equate that they too have a mind?
THE FELINE MIND
By Lynn Hempinski
In 1641, French philosopher Rene Descartes wrote, Animals, “Eat without pleasure, cry without pain and grow without knowing it; they desire nothing, fear nothing, know nothing.” While it has been the subject of much research and we are now shedding new light on the age-old question. If you take a moment to consider that cats can and do actually think, you would too then surmise that they would also feel and perhaps even experience awareness. The media is alight with news of research demonstrating that we have simply never truly dissected the domestic cat’s complex behaviour well enough to accept that they have something much deeper going on.
“Owning a cat isn’t enough to
the depths of their ability to love, you
with them to aspire the journey of
Even if their emotional processing is crude by human standards, the fact is that scientists are finding strong evidence of conscious ability in cats, stating they are capable of empathy, compassion, love and even grief. This is incredibly great news for the plight of all animals but not so surprising to those of us at Kitty Cat Prevent-A-Litter Society who live beside cats 24 hours a day, protecting their well-being, helping them grow and recover and successfully placing them in loving ‘forever’ homes. We’ve already known all along that cats do think deeply, love hard and feel every emotion we do. However, not everyone readily accepts this concept of cats being emotionally attuned creatures.
So how do we bridge the gap between this common attitude of “He’s just a cat!” to “My cat loves me, this I know!” Owning a cat isn’t enough to understanding the depths of their ability to love, you must bond with them to aspire the journey of connection.
The evidence suggests that a friendship is formed between animal and human when they are subjected to regular grooming, feeding and physical contact. A cat’s personality will flourish and they will become much more than ‘just a cat’ when we adopt the strategy of a routine and structured environment. We lay a foundation that builds trust; be patient, kind and most of all nurturing. It’s a beautiful connection to witness when a life-long friendship has been established. Some cat’s will wait at the door for their owner to come home knowing full well what time through the adoption of the routine. They’ll communicate when they want to eat or play and brilliantly can demonstrate there’s something wrong through unusual and sometimes unwarranted behavioural changes.
And we all know of stories of a cat that wouldn’t leave the side of their owner who’s ailing or a cat that stops eating or displays anxiety when their owner leaves for long periods of time. The emotional toll is evident if you truly know your cat.
With time, love and effort the display of crises can often be repaired, it just takes us humans to accept the notion that a cat has a certain level of intelligence, perhaps closely resembling that of a toddler, and then implement strategies they’ll comprehend. If scientist can look into the animal mind and find it’s a place of richness, thought and even nuance, then certainly so can we.
A note of appreciation from Always & Forever Memorial Products
We are so fortunate here in the Comox Valley to have an organization such as Kitty Cat P.A.L.S-Prevent a Litter Society which practices Trap-Neuter-Return and rescues kittens born in the outdoors. In addition to all the hard work that volunteers do each and every day, they also offer a program that I find particularly heart-warming – the Guardian Angel Program. This program ensures that your beloved cat will be loved and cared for should you predecease them. How special and comforting is that?
Lynn Hempinski is KCP Behaviourist and often offers words of wisdom and advise when it comes to questions of the cat. I am truly grateful for her willingness to write “The Feline Mind” for us.
Kitty Cat P.A.L.S is 100% volunteer and operates mainly on donations from our community. Please consider donating.
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