How Do Cats Think?

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For decades, cat behavior specialists have devoted themselves to decoding the ways cats think. When you understand the way cats think & the emotions they experience, it can help improve your existing relationship with your feline friend. It is normal for any pet parent to be curious about the way their cats think. Sure enough, there is a big reason for you to be curious about your cat’s thought process. They have a reputation for being self-reliant, aloof, or mysterious. So, you would surely want to decipher what is going on in their head and how they think!


Let us decode the way cats think and the way they represent it!


Understanding The Feline Thought Process

To understand how cats think, you need to take a look at the interactions between cats and humans throughout history. Back in the day, felines were seen as low-maintenance. This is why most people adopted them without thinking a second time, as their counterparts, dogs, needed a lot of attention.


Moreover, cats were mostly considered un-trainable. However, this notion has changed a lot with time. Cats are capable of being trained just the way you do your dog. Sure, it can be a bit harder to train your cat, but it is surely doable. They can roll over, fetch, or give you a paw. They are just as brilliant. However, you need to decode what floats their boat or what motivates them.


Are Cats Neutral, Negatively Biased, or Positively Biased?

In an experiment by Japan-based researchers, it was noted that cats, as opposed to dogs, don’t actually avoid strangers that refuse any type of help to their owners. In this experiment, the cat had to watch its owner do a task that required help. Two strangers would sit on either side, and one would offer help while the other won’t.


This scenario, when conducted with dogs, involved them accepting treats only from the strangers that helped their owners. However, when the very same experiment was conducted with cats, they didn’t differentiate between the non-helping strangers and accepted treats from both.


For cats, food is their main priority regardless of who it comes from.


Studying Social Cues By Felines

When you take a look at this experiment, a tempting and most-obvious conclusion would suggest that cats tend to be selfish and barely care about their humans. Yes, this does fit the preconception about felines. This is termed anthropomorphic bias. Here a feline’s behavior is judged as though they are furry little homo sapiens or humans as opposed to being a creature with their own set of thought processes.


In order to truly understand felines and how they think, we need to emerge from the human-centered evaluation. At times, cats cannot pick up straight away on human social interaction. They might not be aware of the fact whether someone is helping their human friend or not. However, they do pick up certain human cues, especially if they have been around a particular human for a long time. It is just that they aren’t as tuned to human social relationships as is with dogs.


Cats have been domesticated for far less time as compared to dogs when we look at history. So, their ancestral behavioral traits have stayed with them for longer giving them less time to cue into the social traits shown by human beings.

Pet Traits

Body Language

Relaxed Relaxed posture, mouth closed, tail in an upright position
Trusting Exposed belly and relaxed body


Nervous Earns turning sideways, tail low, and body tensed


Scared Crouching or lying low, tucked tail close to the body, and low head positioning
Angry Flattened body, growling/hissing, and ears stretched back



Are Cats Social Creatures?

Cats tend to hunt along and love to eat alone. However, they are still social animals. Sure, there isn’t a guarantee that your cat shall get along with you or other cats in any household. But it isn’t like they will start fighting right away. It is just that cats need a longer time to establish trust, especially if they haven’t had the same company from childhood.


For example, if your cat has grown up with another cat, you might see that they gel better. On the other hand, if you abruptly introduce another cat in your house to another one, they might not have that best friend vibes right from the start. You need to give them some time to start acting sociable.


If your cat has been hiding all over the house, you can give them a comfortable space to relax at. You can invest in the Bedsure Indoor Cat Bed. This soft cat bed is designed like a quick hideaway place with added scratching pad and a fluffy hanging ball to keep your cat entertained.



Are Cats Loyal?

Once a cat has become comfortable in its new environment, they tend to be very loyal. We automatically assume that dogs are very loyal as they follow you around. However, cats tend to be territorial. So, they might not want to follow you around in places they aren’t familiar with.


Can A Cat Hold Grudges?

If you happen to force your unwilling pet into a scenario, you might end up making your cat mad. Even if you somehow manage to get them involved, you don’t have to worry about the grudge part. They might not end up holding a grudge for a long time. Holding grudges for a feline doesn’t mean that they will bite you or scratch you. Rather, you might see them hiding away from you or interacting less with you. However, this is for a short time period, and they might get back to normal after some time.


Does My Cat Experience Guilt?

Cats don’t experience guilt, as is seen among dogs. Your cat can only read your emotions and would feel that you are angry about a certain behavior. They might respond by hiding or shying away, which is often misinterpreted as guilt. On the other hand, your cat surely gets jealous. This stems from their territorial personality.



Just like us humans, your cat also experiences sadness and joy. So, the way they think isn’t as different from the way we do. You might get curious every now and then, wondering how your cat thinks, but some mysteries are better the way they are. Just go with the flow and trust your cat. They will come around and make you their family with time.

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