Went to the show in Stockholm yesterday! It was amazing, broken A-strings included ❤︎ Ezra, Lilah and Josh are all such wonderful and kind people, I am highly emotional right now Art blog: questionartbox [Commissions] [Ko-Fi]
Me: “…and three famous people I would want to have dinner with are Stephen Sondheim, Andrew Lloyd Webber, and Jonathan Larson because of the impact they have all had on the theatre and to see what would come of having three such huge talents together in the same room.”
Teacher: “that’s so funny I’ve never heard of any of those people”
OK, here we go, the age old argument… “dogs are intelligent and loyal and cats are aloof, independent and uncaring." But is it true?
Not so much.
What it really comes down to is prey size and difficulty.
Dogs, like humans, are pack animals who have to work together and cooperate to survive. They have a hierarchical structure among the pack to keep it organized and working, just like us. There’s a boss, and cooperation among the pack or it wouldn’t hold together. Their own size, number and location demand larger prey. A wild dog or wolf couldn’t possibly take down a buffalo or wildebeest alone, so working as a unit is essential to their survival.
This is where man and dog first came together, hunting the same prey in the same place, and it didn’t take long before they both recognized the others abilities and slowly but naturally started working together toward the same end. They already had language in common - if we do this together we all eat, but someone has to be in charge both to organize the hunt and make sure the catch is divided correctly.
Cats, on the other hand, have always been lone hunters. Their prey is much smaller, abundant, and suited to both their needs and size. They can do it alone. The concept of someone in charge, or working together just doesn’t make sense. One mouse isn’t enough for two, and they don’t need help to get it. So, while they can be social, like to be together and occasionally even show dominance, that thing that’s deep within the dog’s DNA that tells them to work together and follow a leader just doesn’t exist in cats. No need. No language of cooperation ever developed because it wasn’t necessary. In fact, grouping up on a mouse would only leave less food for each. To them, "come here” is more likely to mean “come here so I can steal your dinner.”
Cats and humans came together because humans started to store grain, which brought mice and rats into their homes, which brought the cats, and their very independence was a part of what made them welcome. They took care of the pests without supervision. Perfect, they can stay.
The exception that proves the rule in this case is lions. They hunt prey much larger than themselves due to availability, and their own size. Because of this they live in pack-like “prides’ with one boss and cooperate in the hunt.
"Cats understand us, but just don’t care" is misleading, if not just plain wrong. While they have the ability to understand some of the things we try to communicate to them, and can even be taught tricks, they just don’t posses the language to make sense of "come here” or “sit." It’s like the old Gary Larson cartoon "what dogs hear."
Cats don’t actually meow to each other that much, but rely on body language to communicate amongst themselves, and it’s been observed that cats will vocalize to a human much more when that human doesn’t understands it’s body language. Now who’s not listening?
I think that this is what’s lead to the misconception that cats understand but don’t care… they do communicate in a pretty complex way, display far more vocalizations than dogs do. It’s just that "come” and “sit” don’t occur in their language, or even their DNA, so they react as we would when listening to an unknown language - in one ear and out the other. It’s in their DNA, as much a part of their need to survive as a dog’s seeming over-interest in commands - or what we call “loyalty.”
Any cat owner will tell you from years of observation that cats are no less loyal, loving or intelligent. The fact that they don’t jump when called is a part of who and what they are, but not because they don’t care. Not one bit.