I appreciated your post on the dangers of anthropomorphizing animals. It's a topic I frequently preach about, and I always get a strong negative backlash from pet owners. Animals behavior is different than human behavior, and each species is unique. Pet owners who don't learn the intricacies of their pets behavioral and communication behaviors are dangerous. I'm glad to see someone else out there who understands :)
For example: I recently saw my friend post a video of her cat on Instagram. The video was labeled as “I took my cat to the park! Look how excited he is to be here!” The cat had its mouth wide open and was breathing very heavily. A typical stress response from an animal removed from its territory and placed in an vulnerable open area in an unknown location. She thought it was “excited” because she anthropomorphized it’s face with human emotion.
Aw thank you!! Honestly, it’s tough because it’s not like pet owners misunderstand their pets on purpose, or even because they’re ignorant per se. As humans like as a species we’re just driven to look for emotional responses we can empathise with, we’re constantly subconsciously looking for stuff we can understand and relate to like facial expressions and body language and it’s weird to identify that aspect of your psyche and learn to try to disengage it. When you care about another mammal you want to be able to tell how it feels and your mind at its base level is constantly translating imagery for you so it makes sense to look at a dog and go “aw it’s smiling” or “oh they’re sleepy”
I don’t think it’s bad that we do that, I think it’s really fascinating and cute!! I love that humans are constantly seeking humanity in everything they see and hear and feel. But when you take care of an animal you’ve gotta remember that first and foremost they’re a biological entity and that comes before them being your fur / scale / carapace baby (which they still are, even if you respect them as a creature).
That said it’s not like not seeing humanity in animals completely removes the fun and personality from them. Animals are just like humans in the sense that they’re all unique, they have their own experiences and feelings and getting to know an animal can be just as fascinating and rewarding as getting to know a human. My girlfriend keeps hermit crabs and it amuses her a lot that they fight for dominance by climbing on top of each other. One time she saw one of the crabs climb on top of another and then poop directly onto the lower crab’s shell. That crab got fucking owned