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What's the attraction?

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 
I've debated about where to put this thread, and decided it's just a "chewing the fat" kind of question, so that's why it's here in the Lounge, rather than in some more serious forum, and I hope it won't get too deep to stay here...

What do cats see in humans that makes them want to hang around us?

It's a question that Rob muses about, fairly frequently -- born, to some extent, of the realization that not all humans are worthy of cats' adoration , and all of us are, in their eyes, "weird" -- so I thought I'd see what the cat people think.

What's the attraction? What do they see in us? They're pragmatic creatures, but it's more than just a meal ticket....
post #2 of 16
Well, I personally think it's reciprocal love. All animals sense when they are loved and wanted. They attract to that, as one of their primary emotions, just like fear or survival. Love is the other end of the spectrum: warm, safe, sweet. I've never known one cat to stay where it wasn't wanted......
post #3 of 16
Perhaps OUR antics entertain them, as much as theirs do us.

I have had a long-standing theory that cats are alien life forms, sent to Earth to enslave us and make us do their bidding. It is, however, a benevolent dictatorship.
post #4 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by sashacat421
Well, I personally think it's reciprocal love. All animals sense when they are loved and wanted. They attract to that, as one of their primary emotions, just like fear or survival. Love is the other end of the spectrum: warm, safe, sweet. I've never known one cat to stay where it wasn't wanted......
I agree - and that's what I LOVE about cats! They are with you because they want to be, not just because of neccessity. To me, that is just the most awesome feeling!
I do notice different patterns in my cat's behavior. JC wants me to be very interactive with him. Joey loves affection, but I find him watching me as I do mundane things, such as washing dishes, folding laundry, sawing wood. JC tries to "assist" me in doing those things.
Also, Joey loves watching TV at night with me, esp. Animal Planet & French subtitled movies ( My Father's Glory & My Mother's Castle). He does watch the Japanese subtitled movie "The Sea is Watching" but ignores the Chinese "The Red Lantern". And he dislikes cartoons, even Pokemon
post #5 of 16
I think they just like being petted, scratched, fed, and having a nice warm dry house with soft carpet and furniture. Animals instinctively aim tward the most comfortable and safest environment they can find. Of course, I have developed very strong bonds with some of my cats over the years, and I know that cats are not without emotional needs.
post #6 of 16
They needed staff and we work cheap... this is tongue in cheek
post #7 of 16
Now that IS an intriguing question and the answer has to go back to the way cats in general live in the wild and what motivates them. With dogs it's an easy answer - our lifestyles compliment the way that dog packs operate in the wild - the alpha's run the pack and each member instinctually strives to please the alpha (us).

Now cats......wow.....that is a GOOD question! I've seen a number of nature shows that theorize that domestic cats are closest in behavior to the lions of Africa. Prides consist of either related females that collectively raise their young with a single adult male. Young males are driven out of the core pride and form their own bachelor groups. I have never heard what motivates them to form this way other than the fact that there is some advantage for them living within that structure. In a female pride, raising the young is shared which frees them to go off to hunt. In a male pride, they collectively hunt together. In both cases, the pride is safer in numbers to ward off prey, and they use each other to keep themselves healthy (grooming, etc).

Knowing this, and having the number of cats that I do, I purposefully try to keep that type of balance in my house, which is why I have so many more males that females. So if I were to look at my household, which is mostly a bachelor pride, I would have to guess is that I give them an environment where they can easily capture food, I provide safety in numbers, and groom them to keep them healthy.

But the really intriguing part of their behavior, related to bonding to us, alludes me. Pride members do groom each other and there must be either some pleasure in doing that, or instinctually they know that this behavior keeps the pride healthy.

It's too early for me to be philosophizing over this. You've inspired me to think harder on the topic.
post #8 of 16
I don't have an answer for this, but I have been wondering myself. Occasionally I want to ask Abby if she is happy with us. We went form Molly who adored us and wanted to spend every second with us, to the aloof little girl I have now. Don't get me wrong, Abby's affection has grown by leaps and bounds since we have gotten her. The shelter couldn't give us any background info on her and I sometimes think she was semi-feral.

I think they can recognize love and trust when given from humans. They don't easily love and trust themselves, so when you can earn this trust it is even more special. Now if we want to stay tongue is cheek, does she recognize us as easy marks and realize that we cater to her every whim? Absolutely!
post #9 of 16
I don't think it's that difficult. People give cats what they want. When they want to be loved on, they know we can and will do it. When they want to be fed, they know we'll feed them. When they want to play, they know we will play. When something isn't good enough for them, they will meow to let you know, because they know you will fix it. I wish cats were little people who could think the same way, but I'm also glad they aren't. When you leave a cat alone they don't miss you like humans, they just know something is missing and they want it to be the way they like it. I'm sure they love in their own little feline way, but it's really much, much simpler than human love--which is good because ignorance in bliss.

For instance, right now, Cupid just jumped up on my desk and is laying against my chest. I could say it's because he loves me and wants to me near me, but I know it's because I'm warm and comfortable, and because when I'm done typing I will rub on him--and he knows this too. If he didn't like me at all, then maybe he wouldn't even allow me to provide him with what he needs, but why wouldn't he like me? The only reason he wouldn't like me is if I didn't meet his needs in the first place. Even if I threw him around and beat on him, he would come to me to get what he needed IF he knew or thought that I would give it to him. Otherwise, he would be scared of me because he would think that I would just hurt him and not give him what he wants.

I provide for him the way that I do because I love him but I realize that part of loving him is understanding him.
post #10 of 16
I've always thought that cat guardians, whether male or female, are considered "mom", i.e., we take over when mama cat is ready to relinquish her duties. We provide food, security, warmth, grooming, and affection, just like mom did, and even let them sleep with us.
post #11 of 16
Well, we feed them, cuddle them, provide them with warm, cozy places to sleep ... they've got us figured out.
post #12 of 16
My answer is simple....they love a soft place to land...I`m fat...and that`s why they love me!
Linda
post #13 of 16
I read an interesting book on the subject of cat emotions. It is called The Nine Emotional Lives of Cats

It is good, but i disagree on some things. Anyway, it has a section on love, and why he thinks cats love us.
post #14 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by joecool
I read an interesting book on the subject of cat emotions. It is called The Nine Emotional Lives of Cats

It is good, but i disagree on some things. Anyway, it has a section on love, and why he thinks cats love us.
so what was his conclusion?
post #15 of 16
Has to be the reciprocal love between cat owners and their babies. Mine follow me around the house. If I am home I am never without a cat within reaching distance actually they are most likely on top of me. If I put our food they would eat it they will sleep on whatever I leave out. But I truly believe the headbutts and purrs are because they know I adore them. Even my standoffish cat Inca will want to be in the same room.

Patricia Conley
post #16 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by joecool
I read an interesting book on the subject of cat emotions. It is called The Nine Emotional Lives of Cats

It is good, but i disagree on some things. Anyway, it has a section on love, and why he thinks cats love us.
Can you make that a link, or provide the ISBN? It sounds interesting.
Never mind - I found it at amazon.com: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg...books&n=507846
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