Communication with Cats

Discuss

136 Responses to “Communication with Cats”

  1. IamInnocent says:

    What science says about cats is based on statistical studies: individual animals will always break those rules.

    It is said that cats are nervous and that they like to hide. When I was born I was given the best, most maternal tabby to ever live (as you may have too ;) ). I’d say that she was more heart than brains but she wasn’t especially stupid…

    Nevertheless, on any hot summer day that cat (Tout-min by her name, which meant ‘all cat’) would, believe it or not, , stretch herself as long and thin as she could to fit on the (then white) painted line on the middle of our street. I guess that this spot was just at the right temperature for her. The street was fairly busy since it was adjoining the highway. Most of the time she didn’t mind the cars passing by but, whenever one went by her too fast or too close, she would irritatingly swish her tail once.

    Is this the common behavior of a cat?

  2. noen says:

    @ echonomist
    “Homo sapiens are dancing to a very new tune”

    Life continues, it’s arrogant to think it begins or ends with us. We are a part of it, not separate from it. We’re just one melodic line, our voice deeply woven in with millions of other voices. But there is only one conductor.

    @ dragonfrog
    “why should cats not have evolved to feel the same “squirt of pleasure” we do?”

    They have. I don’t object to ascribing emotions to animals, just giving them human motivations and reasons for what they do. It’s really very disrespectful to pets to treat them as if they were little humans. Dressing them up and treating them as if they extensions of ourselves. Which is exactly what some people do. Some even treat their kids this way, living vicariously through them. That’s all.

  3. Takuan says:

    what’s the problem Ordodk? You don’t respect our overlords?

  4. Charles Platt says:

    “What the… Eight million comments on a …CAT POST?”

    So your would be eight-million-and-one, I guess.

    Here’s another!

    On the subject of equality, it’s not such a bad idea to treat entities as equals even when we suspect that they are not. (I do this with people all the time….) You learn more that way, which was what my post was really about, I guess.

  5. GatoRanch says:

    This post put a big smile on my face. I had a cat long ago that absolutely LOVED going for car rides. He was the only one that really enjoyed it and I’ve had a lot of cats since. I think one of the reason’s the “car noise” didn’t bother him (like most cats) is because he was deaf. He would actually try to get into the car himself if he saw I was going somewhere.

  6. akirabergman says:

    #43 NOEN;

    Your thinking is one way. The theory of mind is a group thing as well as individual. Individual consciousness reflects group consciousness. They are inseparable.

    When a relationship forms between two entities, both sides form their own theories about the other and the self. This happens dynamically in sync with each other through two protocols we call music and language.

    This theory has two main aspects; emotional and intellectual. They are also inseparable like music and language.

  7. 0xdeadbeef says:

    Have I claimed that a cat experiences pathos for the fish he eats? That they forlornly miss each litter of kittens, wondering what they’re doing, now, that they’re all grown up? Have I claimed that they are genuinely sorry for making me a cookie but eating it?

    The absurd position is that of NOEN, don’t try to stretch mine to make it a diametric equivalence.

  8. IamInnocent says:

    #15: “. They do not form intimate relationships with humans. That is you projecting your emotional needs onto an animal.”

    As a teenager and an adult I had a second cat, still a female, who slept, in my bed, every second I slept (a long 10 hours usually) and stayed alert all the time I was awake. I don’t know what she did when alone but I was definitively, want it or not, her companion for as long as she lived.
    She also did other stuff like undoing imaginary knots in my fur with liberal amounts of spit and bringing her kittens on the sofa with us when I was watching the TV…

  9. spincycle says:


    “In my experience, if you treat a cat as “just an animal,” that’s how he will behave. He will sense that you are not really trying to understand him, and naturally enough, he will give up trying to communicate. The more you engage with him as an equal and try to understand his perspective on the world, the more he will respond to you, and the closer your relationship may become.”

    AMEN! While I am, admittedly, an admitted cat fanatic, I have noticed this with dogs, cats, horses even. My cat and I have a very communicative relationship. I suspect that people who don’t have animals, or who – ahem – treat their animals like animals, would scoff at the notion that pets can communicate effectively, us us to them as well. They’d be wrong.

  10. Ito Kagehisa says:

    Cat language is mostly non-verbal. If a cat likes you, and decides you are not clever enough to understand cat language, it will usually become more verbal to try to “talk down” to you.

    If you wish to understand cat language, start by studying their eyelid and ear movements. Take note of what they are looking at when their eyes close, and whether they are still looking in the same direction when they open again.

    Many house cats have large human vocabularies, they just don’t have the vocal apparatus to reproduce the sounds.

  11. echonomist says:

    Sorry for offending, ODB.

    I just don’t think Noen’s statements were creationist nor are they necessarily absurd. Cats can’t communicate some abstract thoughts without language.

    As for the rest of what you said, I don’t understand your position very well. Would you please define diametric equivalence?

    Regards,
    echo

  12. RER says:

    hehehe. say “squirt of opiates” again!

  13. ackpht says:

    Each individual animal is different. Much of cats’ behavior is instinctive, but not all of it.

    Some cats easily form attachments to humans, some do not. If a cat has little or no contact with people while it is a kitten, forming a bond with humans -at any age- is unlikely.

    But certainly cats have emotions- they feel affection, happiness, anger, fear, sadness, and boredom.

    Are there fundamental differences between humans and other animals? Yes. Are those differences as profound as some humans imagine them to be? No.

  14. PhaseShifter says:

    #15 NOEN

    Cats are not pack animals, they do not have a hierarchal social structure as humans and dogs do.

    They may not use a heirarchical group structure, but clearly you have limited cat experience.

    A group of 5-6 kittens (six weeks old) is fully capable of collaborating to take down human-sized prey if it gets them a bowl of salmon 5 seconds faster.

  15. dculberson says:

    I thought this was an interesting anecdote, sorry if it’s not:

    A month or two after getting my kitty, we were sitting on the bench at the dining room table, me at the laptop, her curled up trying to get used to me. I opened the window over the buffet behind me, and she jumped on the buffet to check out the opened window. She seemed to want to sit in front of the window but also seemed to find the wood uncomfortable. I took a cushion from the couch and picked her up, put the cushion down, and put her on it. I turned back to my laptop. She jumped back down to the bench, gave me a lick on the arm, and then jumped back up to the cushion and sat down to stare at the world.

    I was dumbfounded. It could be as Noen says and I’m ascribing motivations that aren’t there. But it seemed to me that she recognized I altered the environment to make her more comfortable, felt gratitude for me having done that, and most incredibly (to me), expressed that gratitude in the only way she knew how.

    • Antinous / Moderator says:

      The late Mister Fluffy Cheeks would sit next to visitors and mimic their hand motions when they talked. Some of them found it alarming.

  16. Anonymous says:

    I picked up a book called Wagging Tales that was fun to read as I have a Cat and always was interested in communicating with her. The Author, Tim Link just realized he could communicate with animals and ever since he has been communicating and actually donating proceeds to animal shelters.
    So if you’re interested in reading a bunch of his ‘tales’ you are also helping out animal shelters.
    Enjoy!

    Chrissy

  17. minTphresh says:

    noen (#15), i know for a fact that you are correct about cats eating their master’s face after death. a good friend was animal control officer down here, and one day whilst bored and not-too-busy, i went with him on ride-along, as i sometimes did( this was the last time i did, for reasons that will become apperent). well he got a call from the local police, saying to come to an address south of us to take care of what they said were some ‘feral’ cats. so we grabbed up all his spare traps and cages and headed down. when we got there, there were about 8-10 cop cars and the coroner’s station wagon parked out front. all the cops were lounging around outside with the coroner when we stepped up with some cat-capturing tools and a trap or two. the cops didn’t say a word, just pointed to the open door of the suburban house. we walked thru the door, and were hit by the stench of the dead man before we saw him. we walked around the doorway/ entranceway and there he was…an obese man sitting upright on the sofa, surrounded by about a dozen cats. as we walked into the room the cats took notice and formed a protective circle around the man’s corpse. it was then that we could see that the man’s face had been completely cleaned of any flesh that it once had. just skull on relatively untouched (but decomposing) body. an image i don’t think i will ever completely get out of my head. apparently the man had passed away nearly a week before anyone realized he was gone. the cats, having nothing else to eat, dined on the guy’s face and nothing else. perhaps u can hear me shudder as i type this. cuz i just did. sadly, he had to euthanize them on the spot.

  18. echonomist says:

    I love the arrogance! I live off the stuff and if it weren’t for my dose of it, I wouldn’t get out of bed.

    It fuels my optimism: perhaps we’re lucky enough to develop the technology to grow to another planet, wise enough to put the slings, knives, guns or rockets down, or have our shit together enough to live sustainably for a relatively greater amount of time on one rock. If we’re not, you might as well just keep stabbing or shooting until you’re gonna die marginally less unpleasantly than anyone else.

    From an evolutionary standpoint, it doesn’t begin or end with us. But culturally(by definition) it does. And we have accomplished a lot with that and will accomplish much more.

    And if someone people want to spend that accomplishment congratulating their cats on being cute and vaguely self aware, so be it. And if other folks want to mess about on the internet, why not?

    posted after beers and a curry, so overly passionate, less logical

  19. PhaseShifter says:

    OK, I’m not sure about their age–it’s been at least fifteen yeasrs since this happened. However, they weren’t quite old enough to separate from their mother at the time.

    Kittens are a fiendishly clever lot. One initiated the plan by running underfoot and while I was adjusting my stride to avoid stepping on him, five more seized the opportunity to hurl themselves at my leg while I was still off-balance.

  20. arkizzle says:

    H E A V Y

  21. Takuan says:

    cats should cost at least a thousand dollars.

  22. dculberson says:

    Takuan, now that I know my kitty, I would gladly pay $1000 for her. Prior to that, I doubt it.

  23. Takuan says:

    there is no offense in eating a friend if there is nothing personal about it.

  24. minTphresh says:

    takuan, been there, etc…

  25. 0xdeadbeef says:

    Would you please define diametric equivalence?

    Hmm… no google footprint, I guess I just invented it. I would call it the practice of lending credibility to an extremist argument by recontextualizing the counter-argument as being equally extreme and unsubstantiated. There’s probably already a term for it that I don’t know.

    Not that I’m accusing you of doing that or anything, I just don’t want people thinking I’m a zealot because I get annoyed when people dismiss the obvious emotional experiences of animals.

  26. echonomist says:

    @69 Phaseshifter

    Your comments all possess a rare and unblemished perspective on the universe. What’s more, you very generously furnish your expertise of such neglected fields as feline psychology and tannins upon us. Are you a sock puppet for a moderator or perhaps a notable guest blogger whose initials are C.P?(grammarpolice: did I need to put a period after the p before the question mark?)

  27. echonomist says:

    @106 That’s ridiculous, friend. More cats die at the hands of animal control in the US than live to be adopted. Set the price low and the quantity demanded will be higher.

  28. MrJM says:

    “[I]f you treat a cat as “just an animal,” that’s how he will behave. He will sense that you are not really trying to understand him, and naturally enough, he will give up trying to communicate. The more you engage with him as an equal and try to understand his perspective on the world, the more he will respond to you, and the closer your relationship may become.”

    In my experience, the same is true for all animals — whether cats or dogs or children or co-workers. If you make significant effort to communicate, your relationships will benefit.

    One of the best ways I’ve found for tricking myself into making sufficient effort is to act as though the other being is an alien visitor. It forces me to cast aside certain presumptions and presume a level of honesty and good will that is not my default position for communicating.

    It’s kinda juvenile, but it works for me.

    – MrJM

  29. Takuan says:

    do not offend our guests or you will be killed.

  30. pAULbOWEN says:

    ew, car must smell mingin

  31. arkizzle says:

    3735928559

    False Equivalence? Unexciting I know, but it seems to fit, if not very specifically.

  32. Takuan says:

    you worked for the Fed, right?

  33. allen says:

    I am not really a cat person, but I do agree that there is a danger of anthropomorphizing animals. There’s a middle ground between essentially ignoring the intelligence in pets and casting that intelligence in a human light. I don’t know much about cats, but I think that dogs need to have the pack structure very clear at all times, and need to feel like they do a job (even if that job is walking) to earn their food. I think you will end up with a much happier (and equally intelligent) dog if your communication with him involves trying to understand the different way it understands the world around it, rather than pretending that it is a little human being in a furry body.

    I do think there is common ground though. I think that dogs and cats do experience emotions, and we all understand both fun and love.

    Also- if any of you cat lovers ever visit Maui, and want to see what housecats do when returning to a feral state- you should take 15 minutes to drive to Iao national park (it’s that valley in the west maui montains right next to wailuku). There is a large pride of housecats gone wild that lounge right around the parking lot. It’s interesting to watch their social dynamics.

  34. arkizzle says:

    3735928559

    Surely Diamentric Equivalence is the antonym of Diametric Opposition? Makes perfect sense, if you ask me.

  35. Miss Jess says:

    My cats definitely echo certain sounds I make that fall within their vocal range. My little one mimics a cooing/purring sound similar to the noises that raccoons make. Adorable. My older, larger cat is a talker, and I could go back and forth with him all day. I talk to them all the time (yes I live by myself, and I’m kinda a cat-lady type) and they are very sweet and devoted animals – they sleep at my feet each night, follow me everywhere, etc. They also know when I’m not feeling well or something is out of place emotionally – they are much closer to me than any of my dogs were.

  36. Takuan says:

    Heya! heya! heya! Step right up here, step right up!
    We gotcher fallacious argy-ments here, yer errors in rhe-tore-rick,heya! step right up!

    http://www.don-lindsay-archive.org/skeptic/arguments.html

    (go-way kid, ya bother me)

  37. Sethum says:

    In regards to Jack and cats in space: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C3S9huYNrDo

    In regards to cats eating the face off a corpse:
    1. It is naive to consider eating the corpse of a deceased love one as some evil or a sign of lack of emotional attachment. What authority, other than the religion you chose to follow, demands that the rotting flesh be treated as a sacred object that must be left untouched? Please check out Stranger in a Strange Land.

    2. From the sounds of minTphresh’s (#68) description, it sounds like only the man’s face was “eaten.” I don’t think starving animals would look for sustenance in a corpse’s face before tasting any other part of the body. It’s a fairly proven fact that animals recognize the changes that death brings ( http://www.reuters.com/article/oddlyEnoughNews/idUSN2531239020070726 ), although they may not understand that those changes are permanent. Perhaps this particular pride of cats attempted to care for their owner or revive him by licking his face.

    It might be disgusting to visualize cats eating or licking through dead skin and meat while it’s still attached to a human corpse, but it certainly isn’t unnatural.

  38. Antinous / Moderator says:

    Being eaten by one’s pets seems as good a form of corpse disposal as any other. Burial and cremation are rather wasteful. I’d be happy to think that a bit of my protein was recycled into Fluffy and Mister Mittens. I wonder, though, if the Botox would paralyze their little mouthses.

  39. minTphresh says:

    phike, glad u r doin well. yeah, that was not the very sun-shiniest day in my life, and i had put it somewhere to the back of my brain til i’d read noen’s comment far above. then the memories just flooded back. thanks noen! and the “save face” comment, fuckin priceless! oddly enough, i gotta go feed the cats. they loves leftovers!

  40. Takuan says:

    hmmm, kitty, Dick Cheney, Dick Cheney, kitty, hmmmmm,what to do what to do, only enough oxygen for one, what to do…..

  41. IamInnocent says:

    #71, Takuan
    there is no offense in eating a friend if there is nothing personal about it.

    Indeed. There may be even less offense if it is personal.

  42. EtanSivad says:

    @noen

    Just to add to the pile of discourse and discussion. You have some valid points, though I think you’re over reducing things to its biological level. Just because a cat eats your corpse doesn’t mean, nor deny for that matter, that it had any sort of emotional connection to you. If anything, we’re attaching to much emotional needs to humans given that we let their nutrients go to waste.

    Mostly, I think you’re projecting your own emotional needs onto the world by sterilizing the motivations of animals. You said yourself that we’re following instincts millions of years old. So are cats when they form social circles born of emotional connection and not just safety-in-numbers.

    Two things to consider; 1. Cats (And many other animals for that matter: Cat’s and dogs are the most domesticated creatures we interact with and are, therefore, the most easily anthropomorphized.) form attachments to other pets and humans over time. When the other pets/humans leave the “pack,” they become observably lethargic and depressed. Often seen wandering trying to call for the missing individual. It might be the love you see cheesy movies, it is nonetheless observable emotional attachment.

    2. Cats will attach themselves to various family members over time and these allegiances will change. These attachments will often time run contrary to any sort of survival mechanism as they are not attaching themselves to the leader of the pack (Or the safest, etc.). Their food supply will remain at a constant and therefore the allegiances have nothing to do with them staying with us because we feed them.

    It’s an interesting debate regardless. Given you’re interests, did you see this boing-boing post a while back: http://www.boingboing.net/2007/07/16/scan-of-timothy-lear.html
    Seems like it’d be right up your alley.

  43. Anonymous says:

    minTphresh, why did your friend euthanize the “feral” cats on the spot? They were behaving normally. They were apparently not feral, but rather the dead man’s pets who needed food. What else would you expect them do?

  44. Takuan says:

    sniff! primate!

  45. dculberson says:

    Eating the only available food is healthy self preservation. Any meat sack will do it given enough motivation. Even you.

  46. robbersdog says:

    From post 44 “As for distraction while driving, we avoided freeways.”

    So, blocking half your windscreen with a distracting moving cat is OK around town when there could be kids crossing the road? Sounds great.

    Does no-one else think this is just really dangerous? I’d like other drivers on the road to be able to see out the windscreen. I really hope you re-think this (although I already know you’re happy with the extra risk because it’s ‘cool’ to have your cat there). I hope you don’t have to kill someone to work out this is dangerous.

    I’m sorry, it’s cute and all, but just too irresponsible for me. I can’t see it as anything other than very stupid. If you saw someone driving around with half the windscreen covered with snow you’d think they were stupid I’m sure and I don’t see how this is different, other than it being a moving obstruction and therefore even more distracting.

  47. noen says:

    Just so y’all know. I find questions of identity, what it means to be human (or non-human), free will, altruism and so on to all be very interesting. It’s not my intention to troll or flamebait. “I came here for an argument.”

    That done I think it’s odd that I’m accused of being a creationist because I advanced a behaviorist explanation for animal behavior.

    “Kittens are a fiendishly clever lot. One initiated the plan by running underfoot and while I was adjusting my stride to avoid stepping on him,”

    See? Your kittens didn’t initiate any ‘plans’. That was their hunter instinct at work. Your pant cuffs are moving fast and at their level. A cat’s visual cortex is keyed to detect movement. Millions of years of instincts kick in and they pounce. An infant’s play (including those of human infants) is a rehearsal for adult behavior. Your theory of mind that this was a premeditated plan to knock you off balance is mistaken.

    There was no collaboration any more than birds collaborate when they flock together and appear to move as one. It’s an illusion. Both your hunting cats and flocking birds are following simple rules that give the appearance of higher order behavior where there is none. In fact, that’s what your mind is. A flock of subroutines following simple rules that taken together give the illusion of consciousness. There is no such thing as emergence.

    @ akirabergman
    There is no such thing as group consciousness and I have my doubts about individual consciousness. For all I know I am a Chinese Room. Not that I like the idea but a serious case can be made.

    @ 0xdeadbeef
    I accept your explanation for licking though it doesn’t change anything, it was just an example. I understand that animals have feelings. I do too. I don’t get why you think behaviorism is somehow creationist. Don’t quite get that. It’s useful to have emotions, that’s why they evolved. Fear of snakes is one human instinct bred into us over millions of years. Stimulus – response. It’s pretty obvious why that should be. Same with the feeling we call love. Our brains have a built in reward system and we get a nice little squirt of opiates when we behave correctly.

    We’re puppets, just like cats are, dancing to a tune a billion years old.

  48. echonomist says:

    @80 Saving one’s loved ones is the way to go, whether they’re eaten by pets or dissected by med students who might one day prevent a friend or family member from being eaten by the earth’s pets any earlier than they need to be or eaten by med students who you love(or dissected by pets? nah).

  49. elliot winner says:

    Once upon a time, while I was staying with my mother for a while, she started vacuuming near my cat Edward. Edward watched quietly for a while, not startled by the noise at all, and then all of a sudden picked up a chunk of fur off the carpet and placed it in front of the vacuum.

    She is a very smart little thing.

  50. echonomist says:

    Anthropologists believe that modern man, or something similar, evolved 2 million to 100,000 years ago, according to the “Out of Africa” hypothesis.

    You can’t say exactly when cultural evolution began but we’re able to think abstractly to one another and develop ideas through generations of discourse. So, we Homo sapiens are dancing to a very new tune that is very different from what house cats have heard over the course of their existence.

  51. Keeper of the Lantern says:

    My crazy musician folks once owned a cat named “Arby” which was probably a genius of the cat world. Aside from teaching the significantly less intelligent “Dizzy” to play fetch with humans, he would counter-antagonize my father thusly…

    My father would practice trombone on his couch and had a squeeze bottle for watering his slide. Arby figured out 1) what the limits of the squeezebottle’s water radius was and 2) that my father was fairly lazy while practicing, not willing to venture off of the couch. Arby then proceeded to regularly “scrunch” his butt on the rug right after hitting the litter box (leaving a small brown streak), all the while looking right at my father’s face but just out of range of the water.

    Adding in all the other things that Arby did, when you saw him look at my father while scrunching, you couldn’t help but think that there was deliberate, conscious intent on the part of a mere cat. It was kinda spooky.

    I used to joke that if my father really pissed Arby off, he’d come home to some kind of cat-built Rube Goldberg machine that would clobber him over the head with a bowling ball or something.

  52. FourFiveFire says:

    Add my voice to the “I agree” choir. I treat my pets like equals myself, and I have the best relationships I could ask for with them.

    I used to have a cat who would climb on my back for the sole purpose of making me his personal chauffer. He was maybe 15 when he started to not be able to jump up on the couch as well as he used to, so I would lay on my stomach, he’d climb onto my back and curl up, and I would horsey-ride him over to the couch where he would then effortlessly move off of my back and onto the cushions.

    I could have just picked him up, but he didn’t like being picked up or held. So, we found a better way together!

  53. Takuan says:

    you do understand that the single lens/eye of the camera has no depth perception? Look at the top photo again.

  54. Anonymous says:

    When I was going to school in San Francisco, but was living in Sacramento, I would commute back and forth once a week, staying in Oakland during the week and spending weekends at home in Sacramento.

    My cat would join me on these weekly 100 mile drives and would only occasionally throw up. Most of the time she would stand with her back legs on the armrest, and her front paws on the dashboard looking out.

    She would sometimes meow excitedly when we passed certain areas. I think, like a dog, she could smell where we were.

    We did this for five years.

    Commuting kitties are the coolest!

  55. 0xdeadbeef says:

    Yeah, it resembles false equivalence, but it is also a sort of opposite straw-man, creating a caricature of your opponent argument, not to tear down, but to obscure your own weaknesses by using that straw-man to frame all attacks against you. You wage a brave battle against the relentless straw-man to obscure the reasonable middle ground getting stomped on underneath.

    Hmm, it is essentially a push-the-center wedge strategy, the “teach the controversy” approach to getting your crazy ideas heard.

    I’ll now rechristen it the Dueling Mecha Fallacy.

  56. Neko says:

    I believe you’ll find that a cat’s verbal language varies from household to household. Look at a household where the humans don’t pay much attention to their cat, and you’ll find a quiet cat. In places where the humans do actually give a damn and talk to their cats, you’ll find the cats are much more ‘chatty’ and vocalise more often.

    It’s because the meowing is an ad-hoc language, built up to try and convey to the humans the difference between “want food” and “want outside”, and so on. It’ll be different for each family.

    Between other cats, they can rely on body language for the main channel of communication. It makes sense for a predator to use a silent language, anyway. While we might pity them for their vocal chord’s inability to utter human language, they’re probably pitying us for being too dumb to read the most basic of tail gestures.

  57. Anonymous says:

    I think that’s sweet, but out of curiosity what did you cat do all day while you worked?

  58. ST says:

    To the person who wrote, “but until you can ask the cat to go to the store and pick up milk or even to not flick cat litter out of the litter box, they shouldnt be treated or even considered an equal.”

    So this would rule out my mentally handicapped cousin? Hmm… I disagree with your reasoning.

  59. Robert says:

    Cat anecdotes (Catecdotes!)

    -1-

    A long while ago, when I was a larva, I was riding my bicycle down the road and saw a cat. So I stopped, got off, and petted the kitty. The cat responded by closing his eyes, purring, rubbing, all the usual “I’m a happy cat” signs. Another kid came up to me and told me, “Watch out, that cat’s mean.” I looked up to ask why, since the cat was acting nice. As I looked up, the cat went ROWL! and slashed at my hand, claws pointed and ready. Luckily my hand had moved as I looked up, and I just felt the wind from his paw going by. I looked back, hurt, and the cat scrammed.

    Various hypotheses may be drawn here, but I chose the “the mean, wily cat planned it that way” one.

    -2-

    My wife tells me that my cat wanders around the house looking for me when I’m gone.

    -3-

    Why do all my cats only eat the heads of the mice they catch?

  60. StrawberryFrog says:

    So what did the cat do while you were at work? Did he do cast stuff (sleep, mostly) in the office?

  61. ill lich says:

    When I first saw this post I expected the thread would get filled up with anti-cat screeds (seems I’ve met a lot of “non-cat” people over the years, who for whatever reason beyond mere allergies just HATE cats and are not ashamed to spout off about it)– how nice to see lots of positive comments on cats here.

    I’m not sure it’s wise to generalize too much about cats and dogs, any particular one can have it’s own personality, which may be engaging or open to training, or not. I’ve known plenty of cats that were borderline anti-social from birth, and no attempts at engaging them were ever successful. Thankfully the intelligent and friendly cats more than make up for them.

  62. dragonfrog says:

    I have to ask – what did your cat do when you got to work? Did he come in to work with you? Was he also commuting to do his separate cat business near your work? Did you pick him up for the ride home at the same time and place as you would any other carpool-mate?

    When I lived with my parents, and would practice spinning records in my bedroom, my parents’ cat Grizzly would quite happily relax in the room while I played. Whenever I flubbed a mix, he would immediately look up at me, and would leave the room in disgust if I didn’t fix the mix right away. Everyone’s a critic, right?

    If I so much as opened my guitar case, he hit the ground running. Tells you how good I am at guitar.

  63. Jack says:

    This is great… And personally odd. For the past week or so I’ve had a germ of a science fiction idea in my head that involves cats being brought onboard for deep space exploration because they are able to see and detect things humans can’t.

    Nothing past that—it’s a germ of an idea—but I think something like that is not entirely implausible.

  64. Modusoperandi says:

    Anonymous “Treating a cat like one of the family is one thing, but until you can ask the cat to go to the store and pick up milk or even to not flick cat litter out of the litter box, they shouldnt be treated or even considered an equal.”
    So, you’ve never had one bring you a dead bird, mouse or snake? They’re only trying to help you out. Seriously, you look famished.

    Charles Platt “…On rainy days, when he wanted to go out, he insisted on checking via all three doors from the house before he gave up and remained inside. He always hoped that it might not be raining in one location, no matter how many times he tested this hypothesis and was disappointed.”
    The Door into Summer

    Antinous “Being eaten by one’s pets seems as good a form of corpse disposal as any other.”
    …hopefully you’re not a fish owner.

    echonomist “So, we Homo sapiens are dancing to a very new tune that is very different from what house cats have heard over the course of their existence.”
    Isn’t it more simply put that we’re dancing to both tunes? More to one over the other, depending on the circumstances, but they’re both there. Chimps throw tantrums and poop. We discuss, if that fails we argue, and if that fails we throw tantrums and dishes.

    dragonfrog “So, wait – do humans feel love for their cats, or not? Because I don’t see anything in your argument that doesn’t work the other way around – why should cats not have evolved to feel the same “squirt of pleasure” we do? After all, cats and humans pretty much co-evolved – that pretty much guarantees, to me, that they would love their humans, as much as we love our cats.”
    No! Humans are the special exception! We’ve got thumbs, man! Thumbs! No other living things have those…except apes and monkeys and whatnot. But our thumbs are better. Thumbs!

    noen “Life continues, it’s arrogant to think it begins or ends with us. We are a part of it, not separate from it. We’re just one melodic line, our voice deeply woven in with millions of other voices. But there is only one conductor.”
    Is he drunk? I’m just sayin’…whatever song the platypus is dancing to was written by someone with a comically skewed sense of meter.

    Takuan “cats should cost at least a thousand dollars.”
    It’s not the cost that’s the problem, it’s that there’s no program for ensuring that the “owner” isn’t a twat. The same goes for all pets. Children, too.

    desprez “The perspective is making the cat look rather large.”
    Alternate hypotheses:
    1) Large cat
    2) Shriner’s or clown car

    Sethum “It might be disgusting to visualize cats eating or licking through dead skin and meat while it’s still attached to a human corpse, but it certainly isn’t unnatural.”
    Have you considered the possibility that they wait until you’re dead because you wake up when they try it when you’re alive?

    Robert “Why do all my cats only eat the heads of the mice they catch?”
    Because the limbs don’t have enough meat on them, and the remainder is filled with poo.

  65. MacSuibhne says:

    My step-dad — who’s a crotchety cowboy-sort from south Texas — always had odd relationships with our cats growing up. The first one (Gato) developed a schedule with him where he was my dad’s alarm-clock at 5am. This cat loved motorcycles, and wanted to watch CHIPS in the living room every weekday morning.

    The current cat they own (Tika) apparently gets treated to almost daily truck-rides on errands around San Antonio — some of which are made entirely for the sake of the cat. I don’t live with the cat personally (in fact, this cat goes out of her way to subtly antagonize me when I visit), but she apparently gets very upset and destructive if she doesn’t get her drives for a few days.

  66. VagabondAstronomer says:

    I’ve had the fortune of owning many cats. Let me rephrase that; you don’t really ever own them, they live with you.
    There was an article in Discover magazine around 1989 or early 90′s that discussed feline intelligence. Really opened my eyes to a few things about felis catus. A few things I remember…
    1. Feline intelligence – Is a cat smarter than a dog? You can go round and round with this one, like the proverbial dog chasing… you know. Anyway, the author concluded that they weren’t necessarily smarter but it was different. To paraphrase, ask a cat to fetch a ball and he/she will give you a look that says “why the hell did you toss the damned ball? You go get it.” If a cat could ask you to catch a squirrel out of the lower branches of a turkey oak, on the other hand…
    2. Effect and cause – More on feline intelligence. They seem to have this backwards. You’re pouring food into their dish and they put their head in the way and it bounces off their noggins and onto the floor or perhaps the dish. They do this enough times, and they begin to think that the process of being fed involves having the food dumped on their heads.
    3. Meowing – Reserved for us bipeds, who simply refuse to learn the nuances of felinese.

    As for their being social of solitary, there have been numerous studies of farm cats that show that a pride of domestic cats will form a structure rather similar to that of lions, though it has been nigh on fifteen years since I read that (also saw it on a PBS special, again around the same time period).
    Must run. Lexi, Cole and Shadow are demanding I change the litter box. They get that way…

  67. Andrea N says:

    I love the idea, Jack. Deep space exploration in SF could stand to be a bit less sterile. A cat would really liven things up.

  68. zorkerz says:

    I am also very curious what your cat did all day. Why did you decide to bring him along for the commute?

    I really like the kind of companionship that would develop out of that relationship.

  69. arkizzle says:

    Jack, your talking about Jones, right?

  70. Sebas van den Brink says:

    What an awesome idea. You are completely right about cats sensing if you take them serious or not. That’s why I always greet them like a dear friend. I’m sharing a house with some roommates. One of them sadly has an allergy for cats. But our downstairs neighbours own one who always comes by for a petting when you get or stall your bicycle.

    Not so sure about the safety of your cat though. I doubt it would be legal in the Netherlands. Are there any rules about pets and, for instance, dashboards?

  71. Ernunnos says:

    Whoever said cats were aloof and unsocial just wasn’t very social themselves. There’s nothing quite like saying, “let’s go,” and watching three cats zoom out of a room.

  72. Phikus says:

    Noen:

    “There is no such thing as group consciousness…”

    I’d like to see you try to definitively prove this point.

    “I don’t object to ascribing emotions to animals, just giving them human motivations and reasons for what they do. It’s really very disrespectful to pets to treat them as if they were little humans. Dressing them up and treating them as if they extensions of ourselves. Which is exactly what some people do. Some even treat their kids this way, living vicariously through them.”

    You’re doing exactly what Oxdeadbeef described @89. Just because people have been able to express real reciprocal love with animals and communicate with them on some level doesn’t mean these same folks like to play dress up with them. I have befriended many cats and dogs in my time and witnessed far too many acts of compassion and intelligence that cannot simply be written off as human-perception/anthropomorphism. Methinks you may need something warm and fuzzy to cuddle up with sometime. You might be surprised at the interactions you may have if you are open to the possibility that you may not know everything about this subject.

  73. Anonymous says:

    pretty cool cat. Only thing is the last line struck me as odd. “The more you engage with him as an equal” Well cats are definitely smart, as are some breeds of dogs and other animals but unfortunately when it comes to the human race not one animal comes close to being equal. Treating a cat like one of the family is one thing, but until you can ask the cat to go to the store and pick up milk or even to not flick cat litter out of the litter box, they shouldnt be treated or even considered an equal.

    • Antinous / Moderator says:

      until you can ask the cat to go to the store and pick up milk or even to not flick cat litter out of the litter box, they shouldn’t be treated or even considered an equal.

      How you treat someone is a reflection of your humanity and intelligence, not theirs. There’s always someone or something bigger, smarter, faster, richer or better looking than you. And some of them regard you as a snack. Humility is a virtue.

  74. noen says:

    Title should probably read “commuting” instead. Gotta love the human need to anthropomorphize everything. Cats are not pack animals, they do not have a hierarchal social structure as humans and dogs do. So cats treat us as equals. This accounts for a lot of our perceptions of cat behavior as aloof and quirky.

    They’re just animals, they stay with us because we feed them. If you happen to pass away at home your little mittens you adore will eat your face. They do not form intimate relationships with humans. That is you projecting your emotional needs onto an animal.

  75. pinehead says:

    I don’t know you from Adam, Charles Platt, but that last paragraph in this post earned you respect, in my eyes.

    Of course, the idea of treating a domestic animal correctly is a difficult thing to parse. You aren’t really treating them as an “equal,” necessarily. You still know your place in relation to the animal. But I know what you mean; it’s a matter of engaging the animal as an intelligent and individual being. The animal may not be capable of spoken word as our kind is, but they can convey much through physical gestures and intonation. If you make yourself accessible to them on that level (and try to understand them on that level), you’ll make fast friends with most domestic animals.

    I’m a dog person myself, but a similar kind of mentality applies.

    If your cat notices the change and meows, it might be his way of trying to alert you to the potential error, similar to how a child might mention the change in route, unsure whether or not the change is good or bad.

  76. cbpxy says:

    Just this morning I read in Heroic Stories about a cat just like that, except that this cat is a duck named Frank: Trucking Duck. The video is too cute, especially if you prefer your cats with beaks and feathers.

  77. franko says:

    i completely agree with this, all based on my own experience with cats. both of the cats i’ve had (so far) i talked to, watched and learned their physical and audio ways of expression, and i fully believe that they understood exactly what i was saying, and from how they acted with me i think my interpretations of what they were communicating was correct, too. they are amazing animals. i miss my cats greatly.
    : (

  78. Charles Platt says:

    “If your cat notices the change and meows, it might be his way of trying to alert you to the potential error, similar to how a child might mention the change in route, unsure whether or not the change is good or bad.”

    Presumably an animal feels most secure in known spaces, and is not so happy when being transplanted into an unknown space.

    When finding himself in any new area, my cat would always explore the perimeter first, very thoroughly, before venturing into the center. I saw this many times at night when we went for walks in empty parking lots in an industrial park, where one zone would lead to another through relatively small drive-through points. Watching him mapping the areas was like watching a person exploring a darkened maze by touching one wall and following it until either reaching the exit or returning to the starting position (depending on the topology of the maze). The procedure was thorough, meticulous, and accurate.

  79. annafdd says:

    Charlie for the love of God, get that cat a safety harness. It’s great that your cat gets to travel around with you, and it’s great that he has something to grip in case of a sharp brake, but in even a minor accident your cat is dead. Give him the same safety you give yourself. Get him a harness and tie it to the shelf, that way he won’t be shot through the windshield if anything happens.

  80. Jack says:

    @#11 POSTED BY ARKIZZLE:
    Jones is what I knew people would refer to. But in that case, the cat is sensing a physical enemy. I’m talking about detecting anomalies or issues in deep space our instruments can’t detect. Perhaps a cat who can sense when an Earth-like planet is nearby.

    @#18 POSTED BY WEAS:
    Well, that’s a start. But I still think that cats are under-represented in sci-fi. Even in Star Trek, Data had a cat, but it was mainly a pet and never detected or did something that was like a “Whoa, it knows that?” moment.

    • Antinous / Moderator says:

      I’m talking about detecting anomalies or issues in deep space our instruments can’t detect.

      Even micro-changes in air density?

  81. neenuh32 says:

    my 14 year old cat’s named Eddie! (edwardo, edward scissor paws, etc) and I know what you mean

  82. AGC says:

    My girlfriend and I travel with our cat on the subway. The cat is only on a leash, no carrier. Just acts curious and doesn’t misbehave. If it was in the carrier, the cat would feel it is being punished or going to the vet.

  83. Ian Holmes says:

    The more you engage with him as an equal and try to understand his perspective on the world, the more he will respond to you, and the closer your relationship may become.

    I totally agree (ignoring the semantic quibbling over what it really means to engage with someone “as an equal”; I think what we are really talking about here is two-way communication, and perhaps a recognition that both sides have something to bring to the table).

    I’ll give you a solid example. Cats are great at stretching. Much better than humans! A few times (I may not have been entirely sober) I tried to copy the way my cat was stretching, and damn if she didn’t start schooling me. After a while, whenever I started a stretch, she would walk up and start showing me how it was done, e.g. crawling just out of my reach so I had to extend my stretch. She’ll also start climbing over me while I’m stretching.

    Yeah, it may sound anthropomorphic, and I admit this is anecdotal rather than scientific; but cats are great teachers. Cats playing with mice are all about teaching their kittens to hunt. Probably “teaching” isn’t even the right word, because that’s a human construct (play is more primal/mammalian than instruction, and teaching can be thought of as a form of play). My point, though, is that there was definitely communication.

  84. Lis Riba says:

    So, how quickly could Eddie recognize the route to the vet, and how did he react?

  85. Ian Holmes says:

    Also, many cats will actually copy your voice (tonally) if you make an effort to pitch sounds in their register. Especially younger cats. Try playing call-and-response with a cat sometime — it’s lots of fun.

  86. echonomist says:

    You can tell a lot about a person based on how they treat their pets. CP, you’re clearly a good pet owner.

    That said, I have to agree with Sebas. Pets are unpredictable and driving is very dangerous.

    “California Highway Patrol statistics show that four people were killed and 346 others injured in collisions from 2001 to 2007 due to driver inattention caused by an animal.”- http://www.sacbee.com/111/story/1271530.html

  87. minTphresh says:

    phikus, long time brudda! hows life treetin ya?

  88. arkizzle says:

    Jack @ 20

    Wow, you have a cat that can detect Earth-like planets?

    Now I’m impressed. Have you considered breeding it?

  89. akirabergman says:

    #15 NOEN;

    “They’re just animals, they stay with us because we feed them.”

    We are also just animals and our emotional and intellectual makeup is very similar to most mammals. Just as we need company, they also do. My cat likes Bach.

    “Cats are not pack animals, they do not have a hierarchal social structure as humans and dogs do.”

    They are known to live in large groups when there is plenty of prey.

  90. Sethum says:

    This is a great story. I completely agree with those that view animals as intelligent creatures and support treating them with respect. I used to have a cat that would understand when he was invited or not welcome to jump onto my lap when I was working at home.

  91. Anonymous says:

    Is that your mailbox flag,the pelican? I spent a lot of time in Florida a long time ago and I don’t remember seeing one of those.

  92. quesarah says:

    Personally, I’d have to build up a *lot* of trust before riding with a cat. But I’ve heard stories.

    There’s the New Zealing biker cat:
    http://www.scribesvalley.com/maxandrastus.html

    And, the flying cat:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nheqDASt7bg

  93. Jack says:

    @#27 POSTED BY ARKIZZLE:
    Thanks for the snark. But I have always found it odd how sea-faring tales have animals that engage humans and help them. Whether it be seagulls flying in the direction of land. Or even animals who freak out before earthquakes and such. But when it comes to science fiction, there aren’t as many animals mixed in with the story.

    @#25 POSTED BY ANTINOUS / MODERATOR:
    See above. I think it would be interesting to see or feel what an animal would feel on a deep space mission. Just look at this post. The cat has no idea what a road is or what a route is yet is very aware of these things in it’s own way.

  94. Pixel says:

    I think that shelf is a great idea, but I would strongly suggest you get the passenger airbag disabled. In a collision the cat might be ok on it’s own, but if the airbag under the shelf fires it could force the shelf violently into the windshield, which would be bad for the cat.

  95. minTphresh says:

    anaonymous @111, for one thing: it wasn’t my call, it was his. for another: i was busy throwing up in a hibiscus bush out front, hoping that the puke smell could help me forget the stench from inside the house. and finally: knowing the history of the cats, and the fact that they HAD become feral( everyone of them gave him a major fight, so much so he had to use welding gloves and a “restraining stick” in order to remove then from the man’s body)he didn’t feel they were adoptable. again, not my call.

  96. Anonymous says:

    “The more you engage with him as an equal and try to understand his perspective on the world, the more he will respond to you, and the closer your relationship may become.”

    Interestingly, this also applies to humans, though many people seem to forget that with alarming regularity.

  97. Razzabeth says:

    I am also concerned for the safety of the cat.

    I know a guy who always rode with his two dogs. One day, he was rear-ended. One of the dogs happened to be in the back seat and hit the soft back of the driver’s seat, and was totally fine. The other was sitting in the windshield and smacked his head against the glass. He’s kinda okay but he has seizures now and his life expectancy is shortened.

    I’m sure that since you have come up with the creative idea of the cat-shelf, you can also come up with a creative safety measure, too. Also, +1 to Pixel on disabling the air bag.

  98. Anonymous says:

    So if the cat is an equal, does he chip for gas money?

  99. desprez says:

    @RobbersDog

    The cat is most assuredly not blocking 1/2 of the window. It’s not even 1/4 of it.

    The perspective is making the cat look rather large. My money is on about 1/16 of the window space. Also, the positioning probably puts the cat in line with the post of the side and front window from the driver’s perspective, so cut that space in half again.

    I don’t see any visibility dangers here.

  100. LadyJD says:

    @Jack:

    Don’t forget about the greatest Sci-Fi cat ever: The Cat form Red Dwarf! “Meeewooww! I’m looking GOOD!”

    Great idea. Cats probably won’t mind stasis either. But anti-grav could be a problem.

    This reminds me that cats have had a signifigant place in the history of human voyages – providing us with rodent control on merchant ships for example.

    Cats can detect the presence of Aliens too.

  101. arkizzle says:

    Jack, that wasn’t snark. Check my past comments, that was friendly banter :)

    I imagine to make this work in a sci-fi context, you would have to modify the animal slightly, with technology – but not enough technology to be able to forego the animal all together.

    So if we could establish, in the course of the setup, that cats are known to have a sort-of object-oriented sixth sense, we can then also relate how we have learnt to modify cats with a small implant; a brain-plasma amplifier, or something – with standard babel-fish attachment, of course.

    The cat could then be a ship-integrated navigator, or course-plotter / intelligent-radar at least. It could lead to great ship designs that aren’t such standard fare that we are used to. There could be gantries and catflaps set at heights, spanning the upper meter of 3-meter-high rooms and hallways.

    Maybe the hallways are also flanked with head-height water tubes, as transport for the modified dolphins (á la Seaquest DSV), who are the pilots.

  102. PhaseShifter says:

    85 Noen

    No, these kittens definitely understood the difference between “low, fast-moving object”, “human”, and “human carrying a bowl of food.”

    No doubt they were actually trying to get my attention rather than knock me off balance (or more precisely, prevent me from regaining balance), but this was far more organized than the normal “charge from all directions and pounce on both feet.”.

  103. barjoe says:

    Thanks for the last paragraph (engage as an equal and try to understand the other’s perspective). It summed up neatly how to treat a cat. Bit more difficult perhaps with a dog – need to understand the pack mentality.

  104. LadyJD says:

    re: cat car safety. I think the cat would sense an accident before it happens and hang on. Good job giving him some carpeting to latch on to. Might want to get some pet coverage through your auto insurance though!

  105. robulus says:

    After some vandals stole the pickup truck and urinated into the gas tank before abandoning it

    Nice. Really makes you want to beat them about the head with a giant nerf bat shouting “STUPID! STUPID! STUPID!” doesn’t it?

  106. echonomist says:

    It might be worth noting that cat’s carry a protozoan, Toxoplasma gondii, which has been linked to traffic accidents in the below paper. It wasn’t a very exhaustive study though and is blatantly anti-feline propaganda.

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16332418

  107. noen says:

    @ akirabergman
    Yes we are also animals. It’s just that we tend to create a theory of mind about other animals, including other humans, that isn’t always justified. i.e. Your dog licks your face because it’s salty (you haz a flavor) and he considers you a member of the pack. Not because he loves you.

    I totally agree that treating animals well is a good thing. Though not so much for the animal’s sake as for ours.

  108. Charles Platt says:

    In response to questions about what my cat did at the workplace: He wandered from one office to another, slept, went outside into the local industrial park, came back in.

    Each day, he had the choice to go to work with me, or stay in the back yard at my suburban house. I would open the car door. “Coming with me today?” Sometimes yes, sometimes no. Sometimes he took a while to make up his mind.

    Re safety, the air-bag issue is a good point.

    As for distraction while driving, we avoided freeways.

    As for “They do not form intimate relationships with humans. That is you projecting your emotional needs onto an animal.” I think I found evidence that this particular cat bonded with this particular human. I was the only one he would allow to hold him, for instance. You can ascribe this to various simple behavioral factors, but they could apply to humans too.

    I have had other cats who didn’t bond. All I really know is that animal behavior is more complex that one might imagine at first glance, and cats are certainly capable of deductive reasoning.

    Example: My cat went out into a fresh snowfall. Like all cats in snow, he didn’t like the way it felt on his paws (much time spent flicking it off, licking it off, etc). So, he came back inside. But, he wanted to go out again. What to do? After some thought, he ran back out, placing his paws precisely in the previous paw-prints to minimize snow contact. Quite amazing to see that happening. Of course, feline intelligence has its limits: On rainy days, when he wanted to go out, he insisted on checking via all three doors from the house before he gave up and remained inside. He always hoped that it might not be raining in one location, no matter how many times he tested this hypothesis and was disappointed.

    Well…that’s enough cat anecdotes for one day.

  109. dragonfrog says:

    Noen @80

    “…Same with the feeling we call love. Our brains have a built in reward system and we get a nice little squirt of opiates when we behave correctly. We’re puppets, just like cats are, dancing to a tune a billion years old.”

    So, wait – do humans feel love for their cats, or not? Because I don’t see anything in your argument that doesn’t work the other way around – why should cats not have evolved to feel the same “squirt of pleasure” we do? After all, cats and humans pretty much co-evolved – that pretty much guarantees, to me, that they would love their humans, as much as we love our cats.

    In considering any counter-argument, remember – absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.

    P.S. – I would eat AGF (my wife) if she was dead and I had no other means of sustenance, and I sincerely hope she would do the same if the situation were reversed. Does that mean I don’t love her? Hardly.

  110. Talia says:

    #15: “. They do not form intimate relationships with humans. That is you projecting your emotional needs onto an animal.”

    Never owned a cat, have you. Anyone who has will tell you this statement is nonsense.

  111. arkizzle says:

    Robulus.. nerf bat?

    Baseball bat. Maple. Heavy Rock Maple. With small dints, all along the length, from all the other car theives you’ve previously taught.

  112. dculberson says:

    Noen, dogs will eat you too, just like cats. So will other humans if left alone with no other food source and no apparent hope of rescue. (See: Donner Party, etc.)

  113. dragonfrog says:

    FourFiveFire @88

    You clearly are a scholar and a gentleman, or lady, as the case may be.

  114. 0xdeadbeef says:

    NEON: That is you projecting your emotional needs onto an animal.

    More like you projecting creationist chauvinism, pretending that the basic emotional experience of an animal is somehow different than yours.

  115. AGF says:

    yeah dito. love you too. I also hope my cats would eat me if they needed to. It breaks my heart to think of them starving.

  116. moofie says:

    OK, it looks to me like that dashboard says “SRS”. That means there’s an airbag under your cat.

    Please deactivate your airbag. Your cat is almost certain to die in an accident, but at least give the critter a fighting chance to not be stuck in a giant explosively actuated garlic press.

  117. arkizzle says:

    Wait.. you two are married?

    How did that never come up? Did I miss a day? :)

  118. starcadia says:

    Nice story. I’m one who thinks that we’ll have a better chance of finding intelligence in space when we finally realize how much we have around us here on Earth.

  119. EH says:

    I have to think this post and comment thread is some kind of cosmic joke for having broken up with my crazy cat-lady girlfriend today.

  120. 0xdeadbeef says:

    Neon, you don’t even get your pop-science explanations straight.

    Dogs lick our faces because we’ve bred them to remain infantile. It is a gesture to ask the mother to regurgitate food which translates into adulthood as a signal of affection.

    Do you think humans kiss because we like the taste of skin, or that our staggering intellect invented it as the most logical form of expressing intimate affection?

    • Antinous / Moderator says:

      Actually kissing probably stems from mothers feeding chewed up food to their children, so that would put us down at bird level.

  121. AGF says:

    Haha! You didn’t miss anything. It’s just been like 6 years – so it doesn’t come up that much.

  122. echonomist says:

    Whoah there, ODB. Neon may be a creationist, and wrong about something else for some other reason. But even Peter Singer, moral philosopher, friend of all animals everywhere and imho the best qualified person to comment on whether cats have emotions, doesn’t think that all animals have the same range of emotions that humans do.

    Incidentally, a chauvinist is a hardliner who doesn’t listen to reason, regardless of whether they’re male or female, hate animals or love animals.

  123. Phikus says:

    Minty: Now I know why you strive to be so phresh! I am sad for those kitties too, but I don’t blame you. I have appointed god-parents to my animals, for their sake, and not just to save face. (I know, go ahead and groan…)

    I am doing very well, my friend, as are my cats. XD Hope all is going well for you too.

    Echo: Btw, one of my cats shares your name! Ever hang out with any bunnymen?

  124. ordodk says:

    What the… Eight million comments on a …CAT POST?

  125. robulus says:

    @Arkizzle

    Jeezarz! Remind me to never ever piss you off…

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