Science Apparently Confirms that Cats Are….Mean?

The question of the day is: Would you choose to believe your cat or science in matters of importance? If you choose the latter, then you can start fighting with your cat about the recent scientific study that concluded cats are mean little creatures. It is a combination of genetics and their historical behavior around humans. You may be bigger than them, but pound for pound it’s hard to rescue another domesticated animal that is meaner. To begin with, the scientific journal Nature reported there was a study where cats were called by their owner’s name. To the surprise of many, the cats were observed to demonstrate specific body movements to the verbal stimulus. Adding to the viability of the study, the names of the cats sounded very similar, so it was required for each cat to know exactly what their name was. One conclusion drawn from this observation was that when owners call their cat’s name and they are ignored, it is a deliberate effort on the cat’s part to ignore the owner. A cat can hear a mouse pitter-pattering yet not hear you calling it?

Cat owners like to think their cat is smart, and they’re right. Their cat is so smart it is outsmarting them, and catvocates will defend the purrfect disposition of the creature by making all kinds of excuses for it. They are naturally finicky or they are free spirits. Yet the defenders of these behaviors fail to account for the fact that once you feed a cat it will continue to pester you until you approach the edge of sanity. That’s when the cat exhibits its meanness and pushes you over the edge – by letting it come into your house. After that, it’s all kibbles and bits.

Statistically, cat and dog owners are about 50-50, but we’re not counting countries who see Odie and Garfield as tonight’s supper. Cat owners try very hard to maintain that cats are better domesticated animals because they are considerably low maintenance when compared to a dog. This argument has some gaping holes in it when you stop to consider the furry felines have a long history of killing mice of various sizes and leaving their remains in the kitchen, or other convenient places, for you to clean up. Also, according to Total Cat Mojo, research has shown that cats spend about 20% of the day staring out a window. While kitty psychs are trying to figure out why this behavior exists, the cats are laughing at the evolutionary advanced humans because all they are doing is ignoring everyone. Clearly, these are two more proofs of the innate meanness of cats.

Other catvocates maintain that it is an evolutionary thing, and there’s nothing humans can, or should, do about it. As the argument goes, dogs have had a far closer relationship with our primate ancestors since cats with their natural standoffish demeanor, didn’t have to make any type of behavioral adjustment. Genetically, dogs adapted and developed a much friendlier attitude because they had to in order to preserve their species. Cats pretty much do the same thing now as they did way back then – roam the outdoors and leave the remains of chewed up mice lying around.

Some people think that having a cat and earning its attention and affection is what makes owning a cat a more challenging experience. Unlike their canine counterparts, you are the one who has to do stupid people tricks in order to earn their psychotic concept of love and loyalty. As it meows at your bedroom door at 5 a.m. to let you know it wants to go outside (keep in mind they have been up all night, not you) you stumble around to find the door or two that will allow you to free them and let you go back to bed. Then you awaken an hour later to yell at the kids to get ready for school – and your kids think you are the mean one – while the cat meows once again to come back inside. Yep, cats are challenging alright.

But there is a scientific question that needs to be asked that likely will not relax the hair on the back of the catvocates neck is: Why do we see cats as not being mean? The evolutionary ancestor of the domesticated cat is the wildcat, and if you saw a wildcat roaming around your home would you be predisposed to inviting it into your home? If your response is that a cat is domesticated and a wildcat is not, consider this definition from the website

“to tame (an animal), especially by generations of breeding, to live in close association with human beings as a pet or work animal and usually creating a dependency so that the animal loses its ability to live in the wild”

Earlier it was said that cats have far less generational breeding compared to dogs, particularly when it comes to close interactions with humans. Most cats certainly don’t do any work, and there are so many stray cats wandering the streets of towns and cities that humans are told to control their populations by having their pet spayed or neutered. This puts the onus of controlling the cat population on humans because unlike dogs, cats are both lazy and mean, and have nothing better to do all day than mate and reproduce. The cat is caterwauling at humans, “It’s your problem, not ours.”

For the purposes of journalistic integrity, there is only the one study that I am aware of that tries to deal with the subject of the “mean” cat. Catvocates will defend their furry friends to the end, while ignoring the scientific research. What can be objectively stated is that cats have a long way to go to prove their usefulness in a domestic setting. To assert they are like spoiled children is not a stretch. And as we all know, spoiled children can be very mean to other people and cats. More research needs to be done, but does anyone expect that people will be sending their cats packing if more evidence proves cats are naturally mean?

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