An interesting subject to talk about and I am fairly sure that we all do this! But it is okay, I actually encourage to do it sometimes, just don’t let it cloud your judgement and that is what I want to discuss in this article.
The reson for writing this article is because of what happened yesterday on one of my Instagram posts. A girl came on being nasty but what stood out for me was when I tried to tell her that ”banishing” a cat is not the same as putting a crying kid on his room and say ”don’t come out until dinner time” and it seems she interpreted that as I don’t love my cats as if they are my babies – yes I very much do and get blamed for it 😀 but I still know that keeping one cat from the rest is not like banishing a kid.
-So here goes!
Anthropomorphism is when you put human emotions, like smiling – being happy, sad eyes – feeling unhappy etc, on your cat. It is very easy to do so because we grow up learning to read peoples’ facial expression and what every gesture means, but then something happens. We start to feel the same way inside us when we see that same expression from a beloved cat.
A common mistake we all do is to hug a cat like a human would love to be hugged.
Read how to properly hug your cat here.
Let’s take some examples:
1. You leave to work with an uneasy heart because your cat will miss you. Or even worse, you DON’T take that vacation because your cat would miss you.
It doesn’t really work that way. Just make sure your cat’s routine continue somewhat the same with a cat sitter and you are fine!
2. A new person enters your life, let’s say a new love. And in the middle of the ”honeymoon phase”, your cat starts to pee on your new love’s side of the bed or even on his/her clothes. You automatically think that your cat is jealous of your new love, right? That’s because this is a behavior that humans would do – LOL – not litterally with the peeing but to take out revenge somehow. Or pee, maybe. I don’t judge.
The real reason behind this behavior is that your cat is not happy with the daily routine that has changed COMPLETELY in the cat’s opinion. It might seem like a slight change for you but that can be devastating to a cat.
3. This might stir up some feelings within you but that is good, and that means you understand.
If you see two abandoned cats in the streets, both same size and condition of their body but one of them sits upright in a confident posture with clean fur and just looking around, the other one has grease in it’s face and might have some in its eye which he is frantically trying to clean off.
You can only save one of them off the streets – who do you pick?
The greasy one, right? He looked so sad and unhappy.
If you were told that the greasy cat is the dominant of these two and gets all the food because he is aggressively eating the whole pile while fighting the other cat off – you’d now feel like you choose the wrong cat to save.
It’s something to think about. <3
So, what do we learn from this?
In my opinion, this is why it is important for behaviorists like myself, to spread this knowledge to the mass. False information and wrong assumptions can have a butterfly effect and it is important to not let that win.
If you have a problem like the above example no 2, you could try to manage the issue with not letting your love come to your place – and that is where the anthropomorphism comes in and makes you tackle this in the wrong way.
Don’t get me wrong, as I said, I encourage people to have these feelings about their cats because that also makes us do this awesome cute things like spoil them on their birthdays and when we come home after a long vacation – and that is a totally logical behavior from us.
Just be careful when you suggest to someone that their cat is unhappy in every photo you see because the fur above the eyes might hang over the lids.