You in all probability know that monkeys and apes are identified to be most like individuals, however do you know that cats additionally share many similarities with us biologically, bodily and psychologically?
A 2007 genome examine discovered that about 90% of the genes in a cat are just like human genes. On this examine, Preliminary sequence and comparative evaluation of the cat genome (ncbi.nim.nig.gov), the p.c of genes represented in a canine have been solely 81.9 p.c and chimpanzee 78.8 p.c comparatively (to people).
Dr. Nicholas Dodman, professor emeritus, Tufts College, explains that cat brains are composed of grey and white matter. Like people, they’ve temporal, occipital, frontal and parietal lobes of their cerebral cortex. Dr. Dodman provides that “Cats appear to suppose in the identical sample as people, too, partly owing to the similarity of neurotransmitters … Cats obtain enter from the essential 5 senses and course of that knowledge simply as people do.”
Cats even have short- and long-term reminiscences. Dr. Dodman gives a tremendous illustration of cat reminiscences from his award-winning guide, The Cat Who Cried For Assist (Bantam; 1999). The story includes a cat very bonded to his proprietor who handed away in a bed room in his home. After the proprietor died, the cat refused to enter the bed room for precisely one 12 months. On the anniversary of his proprietor’s demise, the cat entered the room and jumped on the mattress.
As soon as, I almost shut my cat’s leg in a door I used to be opening. The following day, he hid from me once I opened that door displaying he recalled that disagreeable incident and was afraid it could occur once more if he got here close to that door.
Pam Johnson-Bennett, licensed cat habits advisor and best-selling creator, says, “Cats are studying on a regular basis. Each expertise teaches them that one thing is both optimistic, adverse or not related. Cat dad and mom are sometimes not even conscious of how a lot they’re coaching or reinforcing their cats’ studying in on a regular basis life … Simply as with cats, we are inclined to repeat behaviors which have a desired consequence and attempt to keep away from experiences which are disagreeable or threatening.”
Samantha Martin, proprietor and coach for Wonderful Acro-Cats and Rock Cats Rescue, provides that “Folks, particularly younger kids, study issues by watching adults do issues and mimicking them. Cats additionally mimic what they see different cats do and get rewarded for. A lot of my cats have picked up tips that I’ve not skilled them to do exactly by watching one other cat do it repeatedly.”
Dr. Dodman remembers an incident at a cat present in Texas a few years in the past the place an impediment course was arrange. Cats have been led by means of the circuit by individuals waving a teaser toy to information them over the obstacles. This wasn’t so spectacular as a result of any cat would observe somebody with a cat teaser. However when a cat who had already handed by means of the course went again a second time and repeated the circuit with none teasers or help, it confirmed how shortly cats can study and bear in mind.
Connection and Affection
Pam additionally explains that, though cats are stereotyped as aloof, they’re social animals who want the identical kind of affection and companionship as individuals. Identical to us, they every present affection in numerous methods.
“There are cats who take pleasure in shut bodily contact in the case of affection. For some cats and folks, that features something from holding to easily a delicate contact. It might additionally imply simply a point of bodily connection akin to sitting shut collectively sufficient in order to be touching or leaning in opposition to one another. There are cats and people preferring to indicate affection in additional refined and easy-to-miss methods,” Pam says. “Not all individuals take pleasure in bodily contact and so they might present affection by means of considerate actions, being current or by means of type phrases. It’s additionally simple to overlook some methods cats present refined affectionate shows as effectively, akin to being close by, displaying a relaxed physique posture, purring or giving sluggish eye blinks.”
Cat proprietor Diane Kane had a cat named Scooter who she discovered as a younger kitten separated from her mom. Diane remembers, “I fed her with a dropper and slept along with her on my chest … As she grew, she was my fixed companion.” Diane gave an instance that when she labored in her backyard, Scooter would watch her digging and mimic her habits by digging holes, too. One other manner that Scooter confirmed her affection included returning Diane’s kisses with “audible smacks.” Though Scooter died younger of kidney illness, Diane says that “she lived her life completely content material to be one along with her human household.”
Cats undergo from “human” ailments akin to weight problems, diabetes, coronary heart illness, thyroid illness and most cancers. I’ve had cats with diabetes, most cancers, kidney illness and my present cat, Stripey, has hyperthyroidism. My diabetic cat, Floppy, who handed away at 15 in 2007 had been handled with prednisone for bronchial asthma as a kitten and developed diabetes at 6. I administered two pictures each day of Humulin insulin to him. He additionally suffered from pancreatitis and a liver situation. All his therapies for these diseases have been just like these individuals with the identical issues obtained.
Deborah Barnes, previous president of the Cat Writers’ Affiliation, additionally has a cat, Zee, with hyperthyroidism like my cat Stripey. “When Zee was identified with hyperthyroidism, we got some selections for remedy,” she says. Deb selected the methimazole capsule, whereas I selected the compounded transdermal cream utilized to the ear twice a day (which I discover simpler to manage than capsules). Weight reduction is widespread in hyperthyroid cats, as it’s in individuals, and is likely one of the predominant signs of the situation. Stripey and Zee have placed on some weight since their remedy began. Deb additionally retains Zee on a particular food regimen. She says he will get a mixture of canned and dry meals that caters to the dietary wants of a cat with thyroid points, and he or she additionally offers him extra dietary supplements in his meals. Whereas Stripey eats canned and dry together with our different cats, we additionally give him treats along with his remedy and occasional contemporary rooster.
Moreover sharing widespread human ailments, cats also can unfold what are often known as zoonotic ailments to people. In keeping with the American Affiliation of Feline Practitioners (catvets.com) in its Feline Zoonoses Pointers, “Zoonotic ailments are outlined as being widespread to, shared by or naturally transmitted between people and different vertebrate animals.” Some widespread zoonotic ailments cited within the catvets.com brochure What Can I Catch from My Cat? Feline Zoonoses embody cat scratch fever, ringworm, rabies and toxoplasmosis.
Dr. Jane Brunt, govt director of the CATalyst Council for Lifelong Well being of Companion Cats, says that the only most vital level for stopping many feline zoonotic ailments is year-round parasite preventives, together with indoor-only cats. She recommends cat homeowners work with cat-friendly vets to seek out the suitable preventive for his or her pets. There have additionally been issues relating to coronavirus as a zoonotic illness. (Go to catster.com to learn our article Coronavirus and Cats: What Cat Homeowners Must Know About COVID-19.)
Psychological Well being Points
Dr. Dodman says that cats also can undergo from the identical psychological points as individuals and are additionally handled equally for these issues. They are often anxious, have phobias and even problems akin to OCD. “Cats (with anxiousness) reply to the identical anxiousness medicine as individuals,” he factors out.
One other space that cats and people are comparable emotionally is how they reply to loss. Pam relates her experiences with “shoppers who’ve skilled the lack of a human, canine or feline member and are confused about what to do for his or her surviving cat. Fairly often, they suppose the cat is lonely, and so they undertake a brand new feline companion. Regardless that the household understands their very own grief, they’re usually shocked to study that the surviving cat is grieving and the sudden addition of an unfamiliar cat solely makes issues worse. Though we don’t show grief in the identical manner as cats, we share that emotional ache and loss.”
Cats are additionally just like individuals personality-wise. Dr. Dodman refers to checks which were performed on cats to find out their character traits. These checks are just like the Myers/Briggs examine of human personalities. Cats have been discovered to have a mixture of three traits: alert (energetic and curious), sociable and equable (secure temperament). These completely different trait mixtures, in response to Dr. Dodman, are additionally present in individuals. Cats will be introverts, extroverts or in between the 2.
“There are extra similarities than variations between cats and folks,” Dr. Dodman says.
I’ve additionally discovered within the a few years I’ve shared my life with cats is that, like individuals, all of them have their very own personalities. This individualistic nature of felines is what I imagine cat lovers take pleasure in most about them.