I probably have explored this thought in the past on this blog, but I want to explore it again and that’s how dogs view us vs how cats view us. Current opinion believes that dogs see us as pack members and some even go as far as to say that dogs see us as their Alphas. Cats, on the other hand, see humans as lesser beings; their servants. Sometimes I believe this, but other times I wonder if we’ve got it all wrong.
Cats scorn humans. If the cat doesn’t like you, the cat won’t come to you…if you’re lucky. If you’re unlucky, cats will scratch you. Think about it though, cats don’t just do that to humans, they do that to other cats as well. Cats exhibit an elegant disdain for…well everyone. Human beings are not special. Cats treat humans the same way they treat their own kind.
The event that made me realize that cats might not see humans beings as lesser/different creatures is when my husband’s cat used to go into heat. If scratched just right, she would present her bum to just about anyone be it a human male, human female, other cat, or a four month old Shih Tzu puppy. She was indiscriminate. A female dog, on the other hand, only presents her bum to dogs.
Dogs are supposedly man’s best friend. They’re also woman’s best friend and a single person’s wingdog. Thanks to human intervention, they come in many shapes, sizes, and colors. Basically, there is a type/breed of dog no matter who you are.
The interesting thing about this human-dog relationship is that, unlike cats, it is not based on equality. Dogs do NOT see us as other dogs. I mean, they even invented a language in order for us to be able to understand them. Yeah, dogs bark at each other, but wolves howl at each other to show unity and to warn off other wolves. Most of the time, though, communication between dog-dog or wolf-wolf is primarily based on body language. Not so between human-dog.
Dogs bark at us to convey a bunch of things. A certain bark means “I want to go outside” while another bark means, “I want to cuddle with you” or “Pay attention to me.” Those who live with dogs know the difference between these barks. In fact, those who don’t live with dogs can tell the difference between some barks.
Those who live with multiple dogs will also know that housemate dogs rarely “speak” to each other. My dogs will growl when playing or when another dog gets near the place she has hidden all of the toys, and occasionally two will get into a barking match, but for the most part, they rarely ever make audible noises. That’s usually reserved for me.
Now, I’m not trying to start a debate between which is better: Dogs or Cats. I mean, it’s obviously dogs… JUST KIDDING. Don’t hurt me. I have no qualms with cats. It’s just that I spent a year and a half living with up to four cats which meant that their hair clogged all of the air filters and in turn clogged my ability to breathe. It left a bitter spot in my mind that I’m still trying to get over with. But, I still love cats. I just don’t want one.
Anyway, I digress.
The purpose of this entry was to make us reexamine our relationship with our cats and dogs, especially our viewpoint of cats. To dogs, we are another species and that called for a vocal language. To cats, we just might be funny-looking, two legged cats. So next time, when a cat scorns you, don’t take it personally. The cat would do that to another cat. As for dogs, they may actually be the ones who are plotting to take over the world.
Until next time, see how many barks you can decipher and let me know.
P.S. I should give credit where credit is due. I got some of this information from: Dogs Decoded, The Wonder of Dogs, And Man Created Dogs, Why We Love Cats and Dogs, The Science of Dogs, Dogs, and many other wonderful documentaries. Also The Hidden Life of Dogs and The Social Life of Dogs both by Elizabeth Marshall Thomas. There are many others that I don’t remember and one of these days I’ll compile a bibliography of everything.