the human kitten

That thing about how cats think humans are big kittens is a myth, y’know.

It’s basically born of false assumptions; folks were trying to explain how a naturally solitary animal could form such complex social bonds with humans, and the explanation they settled on is “it’s a displaced parent/child bond”.

The trouble is, cats aren’t naturally solitary. We just assumed they were based on observations of European wildcats - but housecats aren’t descended from European wildcats. They’re descended from African wildcats, which are known to hunt in bonded pairs and family groupings, and that social tendency is even stronger in their domesticated relatives. The natural social unit of the housecat is a colony: a loose affiliation of cats centred around a shared territory held by alliance of dominant females, who raise all of the colony’s kittens communally.

It’s often remarked that dogs understand that humans are different, while cats just think humans are big, clumsy cats, and that’s totally true - but they regard us as adult colonymates, not as kittens, and all of their social behaviour toward us makes a lot more sense through that lens.

They like to cuddle because communal grooming is how cats bond with colonymates - it establishes a shared scent-identity for the colony and helps clean spots that they can’t easily reach on their own.

They bring us dead animals because cats transport surplus kills back to the colony’s shared territory for consumption by pregnant, nursing, or sick colonymates who can’t easily hunt on their own. Indeed, that’s why they kill so much more than they individually need - it’s not for fun, but to generate enough surplus kills to sustain the colony’s non-hunting members.

They’re okay with us messing with their kittens because communal parenting is the norm in a colony setting, and us being colonymates in their minds automatically makes us co-parents.

It’s even why many cats are so much more tolerant toward very small children, as long as those children are related to one of their regular humans: they can tell the difference between human adults and human “kittens”, and your kittens are their kittens.

Basically, you’re going to have a much easier time getting a handle on why your cat does why your cat does if you remember that the natural mode of social organisation for cats is not as isolated solitary hunters, but as a big communal catpile - and for that purpose, you count as a cat.

Humans are weird concept.

Shy people who are in authority.

Now.
This has stemmed from someone I personally know.
He’s the manager of a gym, one of my spin instructors, manages a Sunday run club and built like a shed.
He’s just a small (5'2") solid wall of muscle.

And he’s one of the shyist people I know. He’s quiet, will only join a conversation if you bring him into it.

And yet.

Get him leading a class and he’s suddenly a drill instructor. Loud. Powerful. A leader. He pushed your limits to the max. And can be rather scary at times.

Now imagine an alien meeting someone like this.

*******

Sek'this had reservations about this human. He is meant to be the one to lead their team into unknown territory on the hostile planet Tenrai.

But this human is quiet. He is shy. He doesn’t speak, just stands away from the group watching. Sek'this has a feeling he shall be taking charge in the humans place. It is clear that this human, undecorated and unmodified like most of his species, will not be able to hold the will of the rest of the group.

The team is a roudy one. They are loud, the humans fighting amongst themselves, rough housing they call it, and the Tixxrek are known to only follow a pack leader, or they will cause trouble where they stand.

When the team get attacked by what the humans call “rapotors” the human leader changesed. Sek'this was surprised to see this human straighten up and bellow orders to the team. The Tixxrek falling into formation within seconds and obeying every command.

The human was, without question, in charge. He scared Sek'this with how dominant he presented. He was strong, taller than he really was, powerful, and loud.

After the raptors were killed, and the casualties seen to, the human regressed back into the quiet human of before.

Sek'this learnt, that day, not to trust a first impression when it came to humans. They don’t present who they are like his own species does. Humans can change. And change within seconds.

Picture this

Miraculous Holders gain the ability to talk to their patron animal. Ladybugs don’t have a whole lot to say, so Marinette doesn’t really use it, but cats… Adrien spends SO MUCH TIME talking to cats, and they give him advice (not always good advice) and stuff. And then one day a teeny little calico comes to Chat Noir, shaky and hungry but says she has a human kitten at home who is scared and hurting and he needs a hero. Picture Chat Noir with a veritable army of feline spies around Paris, reporting things back to him and coming to him for help. “Chat Noir, help me find a safe place for my kittens.” “Chat Noir, my human’s mate strikes her.” “Chat Noir, my human is old and sad and alone, how can I help him?” And as Adrien or Chat Noir, he does what he can, because being a hero is about more than the big things. Picture this.

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Aw, baby 😻😍💕 | Credit here

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