When a human being is a cat, it’s a different story.
For example, if a cat goes into a human person’s house, it can sometimes be a surprise, and that’s what the owner’s cat may be doing when he or she finds out it’s not a cat.
“I’ve had people who have never had a cat who have been quite surprised,” says Catarina Oates, a behavioural scientist at Oxford University.
And this is just because of the way that cats have evolved.
“They are social animals,” she says.
“It is a very human-like behaviour that cats exhibit.”
There’s also a little bit of social engineering going on, which Oates describes as “cat-fear”, where a cat may fear its owner or neighbour or friend.
But it is also possible that cat-fearing behaviour is caused by the cat being fearful of something it does not like, like being thrown off a building.
In that case, the cat might try to avoid or evade the threat.
In the case of cats, that might mean running away, chasing a stranger, or even taking a selfie.
“The behaviour is much more likely to be a form of cat-shaming,” says Oates.
The main cause of cat fear might be the way cats and humans interact.
Cats tend to use their noses to find their way around, while humans are more likely than other animals to use gestures.
For instance, a cat might be looking at a human while its eyes are closed.
When it sees the human’s eyes open, it has learned to associate that behaviour with a human friend.
If a cat tries to get up and walk away from a human, the human may try to chase it away.
The same goes for people.
A cat’s nose can be used as a weapon to get a human to do something it dislikes, such as stand still for a long time.
And the more the cat is fearful of someone, the more likely it is to go after that person.
“A cat may go into a cat-cave and see a person,” says Dr Sarah Higgs, a veterinary assistant at the University of Manchester.
“That may be the cat-hating person.
And that’s when the cat becomes fearful of them, because the cat doesn’t want to be near that person.”
If a human is the one that gets into a situation where a dog is present, that cat may become fearful of the human too.
“People tend to be fearful of dogs,” says Higgs.
“So if a dog’s around, that dog may be afraid of you.”
A cat may also become fearful if it’s seen acting suspiciously.
“When you see a cat acting suspicious, it may be because they are scared of you,” says Margo Smith, a social psychologist at the Royal Veterinary College in London.
“If they see a human that looks suspicious, they might be thinking: ‘I’ll be going into that house, and I’ll see who it is’.
And they’re very likely to act suspicious, because they don’t want you to know about it.”
The cat may then turn to a human or other animals, and try to scare them away.
“And that’s the fear of the other person,” she adds.
This behaviour is not only about the cats fear of people, but also of other animals.
It may not be the most pleasant behaviour for a cat to see, but it is one that humans do not want to encounter.
And if it does, it is very likely it will be the only thing a cat does.
“We’re not talking about cats that can go into buildings, but cats that are just walking on the street and it doesn’t occur to them,” says Smith.
In short, cats are not strangers.
“Cats can live in the same household as humans, so they can be in the street,” says Martin Baur, a wildlife and conservationist at the Zoological Society of London.
And in the UK, cats and dogs are often referred to as “felon-friendly”.
But it’s still important to understand the difference between human and cat, says Oakes.
“These are not the same as animals that are in the wild,” she explains.
“Their behaviour is very different.
They may not do anything dangerous.
They will take the food they want, they may not eat the food.
They are social.”
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