Cat question?

west_gardenerOctober 16, 2013

How does a cat know it's a cat, if it is brought up by humans, without any other cats around?

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mawheel

I don't know the answer to your question, but in our case, it wouldn't matter, b/c Maggie is "top dog" in our house! LOL

    Bookmark   October 16, 2013 at 8:15PM
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lilosophie

West, I really don't have an answer - my Taffy knows he's a cat, was raised as a bottle baby but I had other cats who taught him some cat-stuff, yet he does not control his claws as well as a kitten raised by mom-cat and litter-mates and he can bite pretty hard, have to watch him. Not a mean cat, but no cat manners.
Yet a cat will always be a cat, they are hard-wired as far a prey drive, hunting-skills, using a litter-box: dig in the dirt and cover afterward. They see the world through cat's eyes

    Bookmark   October 16, 2013 at 8:34PM
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gabriell_gw

That is a great question. I've had my cat for three years, the only time she has left this house has been in a carrier and visited the vet.

When I got her she was with other cats but since been alone. Recently I've toyed with the idea of getting a kitten for her to have a companion. I have no idea what her reaction might be.

    Bookmark   October 16, 2013 at 10:07PM
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pkramer60

Mother Nature told her!

Now tell me how a Maltese/Lhasa mix knows a Great Dane is a dog.......

    Bookmark   October 17, 2013 at 1:48PM
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lilosophie

For the dog question: my late min-pin Taschi had illusions of Great Dane!
As for cats, they know
Little Pinkie, one and a quarter pounds, was wandering about and ended up facing Sheena, the oldest, biggest and meanest cat in Joann's household. Sheena promptly gave a growl/hiss at this little guy, what did he do? He puffed up his tail, humped his back, stretched his legs to look as big as he can and hissed right back at her! Dog Sparky broke up this developing, uneven argument

    Bookmark   October 17, 2013 at 2:49PM
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rob333

Yep, instinct. How do we know to chew and swallow? That's a weird process!

    Bookmark   October 17, 2013 at 3:09PM
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west_gardener

I saw a show on tv about a cat momma bringing up her kitties.

While she was taking care of them, she was also teaching them how to behave.

For example, If someone had their claws out while nursing, she would remove them from the nipple, if someone played too hard with her tail, she'd whip her tail, if someone got to rough she would even swat them with her paw. She enticed them to use the climbing tree, by getting up there and calling her kitties.
She even showed them how to use the litter box.
Perhaps my question should have been, how do you teach a kitty what to do, if they don't have a cat momma?

    Bookmark   October 17, 2013 at 6:36PM
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mawheel

WG, after reading the thoughtful, insightful responses to your question, I apologize for "trying" to be funny in my post. I certainly did not mean to be rude or disrespectful.

    Bookmark   October 17, 2013 at 8:30PM
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west_gardener

mwheel, I got a kick out your post, your kitty has figured you out, smart kitty. We had a kitty like that. She'd walk in the door, do a "mew" and we'd ask her what she wanted. Lol. I understand what you are saying.

    Bookmark   October 17, 2013 at 8:44PM
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anneliese_32(6)

Like Lilo said, basic behavior is hardwired. The two kittens I raised after their mother died 5 days after birth, were taught how to behave in part by my dachshund. Hexe picked them up and shook them lightly if they clawed her . Both became pretty well behaved cats. It might have helped that my dog adopted years earlier a pregnant cat, played nanny to that litter and they in turn protected her against larger dogs.

    Bookmark   October 18, 2013 at 8:08AM
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meldy_nva(z6b VA)

That's a good question, but I suspect that we're using instinctual, "hard-wired" -based answers when what we (or at least *I*) have wondered: does the cat know she's a cat, or does she actually think of herself as being human-like. Or in the case of canine-influenced upbringing, does she possibly consider herself an out of the ordinary-looking dog? Or probably consider herself a more agile and sensible dog?

Nature versus nurture within the feline psychological makeup.

I've read that, to be fully "socialized" with humans, a kitten should be extensively exposed to and handled by a gentle, careful human during the ages of 3 weeks to 3 months. The experts apparently think that cats lacking the experience of humans during this crucial time retain more of their feral outlook to life, and never fully develop a trust or understanding of humans. Of course, individual natures give individualized results so that there are reports of totally feral cats coming to accept and even enjoy living with a human as well as those cats (who were raised by loving moms and caring humans) who don't hesitate to demonstrate their belief that humans are not only much bigger but much less to be trusted than other creatures.

At this time, I think that we can influence (nurture) individual cats, but as a whole, felines remain feline in their outlook and in their self-acceptance. They may not know the human-acceptable ways of conveying this self-knowledge, but that doesn't make the knowledge any less ingrained. In other words, a cat is always a cat regardless of her education.

    Bookmark   October 19, 2013 at 10:50AM
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