A new book decodes cat behavior and explains what felines really think of us.
Sat, Jan 11 2014 at 8:45 AM
If you have a cat, you might think of yourself as your felineís parent. After all, you feed your cat, you snuggle him, and you probably even talk to him.
Your cat, however, sees things a bit differently.
According to Dr. John Bradshawís new book, "Cat Sense," your feline friend likely thinks of you not as a parent, but as "a larger, non-hostile cat."
Bradshaw, a biologist at the England's University of Bristol, has studied cat behavior for 30 years, and his book offers new insights into the ways cats interact with humans.
The starting point of his analysis is that cats are basically still wild animals.
Unlike dogs, which have been bred for specific purposes, cats essentially domesticated themselves.
As humans began farming the land, cats moved in to prey on rodents attracted to crops. They made useful and attractive companions, so we kept them around.
But cats have remained relatively wild because 85 percent of felines breed with feral tomcats.
The domestic cat population is maintained through spaying and neutering, so the majority of cats available for mating are those that live outside of our homes.
This means that our catsí interactions with us are driven by instinct more than learned behaviors.
When your cat kneads your lap or another surface, itís a behavior meant for a motherís belly that keeps milk flowing.