Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Let's start at the beginning? What is a Human?

In my new role as pet behaviour counsellor, more accurately human behaviour counsellor, I feel I must start at the beginning. I invite your comments and questions, as ever. I will attempt to answer at least one question a week, interpretting human behaviour in a way which may be helpful to us cats.
This is a female of the species with her young one, a junior male. I chose a female, because probably most of us cats choose to live with the females. Males are more likely to be roaming round outside the house. Females spend more time indoor especially when they have a litter of children. While there are wonderful exceptions - males who are house husbands or just properly devoted to cats - females probably make the best choice for the cat starting out with a pet. Females are more submissive in nature, though surprisingly stubborn at times. The cat that is experienced in training and caring for humans, may well want to choose a male. Males are bigger, more challenging, yet surprisingly easy to train once feline superiority is properly established.
If we are to understand human behaviour, we need to look at the species. Like us they are warm blooded mammals. They belong to the ape family. Unlike their fellow apes, they do not have fur. On the basis of this, it has been argued that Homo sapiens is a neotonised ape, ie an ape that has stayed immature. (if apes were insects, the human would be in the larval stage, so to speak.) This relative immaturity will be obvious when we look more closely at human behaviour.
Why are humans given the taxonomic name of Homo sapiens? Why indeed? It is clear to any right thinking cat, that this is indeed a misnomer of the first order. But the reason for it is obvious. Human beings named themselves so. It is as if we cats sat down and decided we would be Felis sapiens. Obviously the second half of the species name would be more applicable to us than them. But, as I have said, humans named themselves. And the choice of name is one which underlines not just their innate immaturity but their innate arrogance.
It's worth pointing out that not only is the human adult in many ways immature, but this immaturity starts very young indeed. Any kitten, however bad its start in life, is startlingly mature compared with human infants. Kittens mature somewhere about 8 weeks, while humans take about 8 years to get to somewhere near the same stage. We will look more closely at this in later posts, because this too is relevant to our experiences with human behaviour.


  1. Dear George
    Most informative. Humans are "wise" eh? Then why don't they come hunting and lie in the sun more?
    Looking forward to studying further

  2. Celia, I'm so glad you are back. This blog is going to be a lot of help to ME! My humans need lots of help. I do have my male human better trained that the female human. He is very attentive to me early in the morning while the female is still sleeping. However, I DO enjoy sleeping in my female human's lap. She just won't sit in the recliner all day and allow me to sleep on her. I don't understand. She also complains that I'm heavy and make her legs hurt. I suppose she will need a LOT more training. I'm glad you are back and I overheard my humans say they were glad as well.

    Oscar Snuggles, King of Tidewater, Jonesboro, GA USA


Help for cats whose humans show behaviour problems.

This blog is devoted to the study of human behaviour. We cats, who live with this sometimes unpredictable and always feeble minded species, can benefit from seeing their behaviour in its proper scientific context. The study of feline dilemmas, training problems, and difficulties with humans, can only benefit all of us. All of us train our humans - to buy the right food, for instance, but many of us do not have knowledge of how to improve our training methods. The human species is obviously not as intelligent as the cat, but nevertheless can learn quite a lot - if properly managed. Topics of interest include the use of claw and order, purring as a human reward, rubbing your human up the right way, when to bite, spraying as a method of making our wishes known, ignoring the human, human harassment, human inattention and sheer human stupidity. I welcome your questions. Photos can be sent via my secretary's website, This blog has been chosen as one of the top 50 feline blogs by Online