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Science Explains How It Feels To Be A Cat

Science Explains How It Feels To Be A Cat

There are over 74 million cats in American households. These cute and furry companions light up the lives of cat parents in nearly 40 percent of homes in the United States. If you are one of these passionate cat owners, you know that their actions can be confusing. If cat behavior has you baffled, check out the following science-backed information to learn how it feels to be a cat.

Cats see things that are invisible to us

Have you ever visited a nightclub that uses black (UV) light? This UV light is outside of the range of light that we as humans can perceive. However, when black light shines on an item that contains phosphors, such as laundry detergent, cosmetics, urine or blood, we can see the reflection of the light.

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According to a new study published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B, cats and some other mammals can see this ultraviolet (UV) light. Thus, our feline friends can see things that are invisible to humans such as urine trails, flickering lights on power lines and distinct patterns on flowers. This explains why your cat is afraid of the invisible boogieman.

Cats can be neurotic and impulsive bullies

If you are a cat, you feel like a lion. It is not surprising that the domestic cat evolved from the wild cats of Africa. According to a study by the Bronx Zoo and researchers at the University of Edinburgh, domestic cats exhibit personality traits similar to their larger counterparts, such as the Scottish wildcat, clouded leopard, snow leopard and African Lion. Specifically, this study found that domestic cats show dominance, impulsiveness, and neuroticism, much like the larger wild cats. In fact, domestic cats were reported to commonly exhibit traits such as bullying and aggressiveness.

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Cats want to kill their toys

Cats are driven by their hunting instincts. According to cat researcher and author of the best seller Cat Sense, John Bradshaw indicates that play behavior mimics hunting behavior. He found that cats prefer furry, feathered toys that represent mice and spiders. In fact, he found that cats interact differently with mouse-shaped toys as opposed to rat-shaped toys. For example, cats are more careful with the larger rat-shaped toys, keeping them at arm’s length, because of their perceived danger. Also, he observed that cats’ enthusiasm for play increases when they are hungry.

Cats can read your mood

If you are a cat and your human returns home grumpy, you might feel like hiding in the closet. According to a study by Moriah Galvan and Jennifer Vonk of Oakland University in Rochester, Michigan, cats behave differently when their owners are smiling compared to when they were frowning. In the study, when cats saw that their owners were smiling, they exhibited affectionate behaviors such as purring or crawling into an owner’s lap. If the owner engaged in a negatively charged conversation or frowned during the study, the affectionate behaviors of the cats were less likely to occur. Naturally, cats use their emotional intelligence to their advantage. They know when you are in a good mood so they will give you some extra affection in exchange for a special treat.

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Cats are just not into you

According to research by Daniel Mills, domestic cats do not show the signs of attachment that you would expect to their owners. In his research, he placed the pets in an unfamiliar room with their owner, a stranger and alone. Typically, with dogs and humans, the owner or parent is perceived as a secure base and the person or pet that are left alone or with a stranger exhibit distress. In the case of cats, they are relatively indifferent when left alone or with a stranger. In fact, the cats were just as happy to play with a stranger than their owner. He states that the human might just be a source of resources, such as food, water and safety to the cat. The good news is because of their independence and indifference, cats are great companions for those who work long hours or travel.

Cat social groups are like high school

Do you remember how it felt to be in high school? This is how it feels to be in a cat colony. We typically think of domestic cats as solitary animals, but according to the American Association of Feline Practitioners, they are actually social animals. They form colonies that are similar to lion prides. They have hierarchies and it isn’t easy for a new cat to join a colony, especially for tomcats. New cats are typically driven away when attempting to join in, but can be gradually integrated over time if accepted by the group.

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Featured photo credit: Cat looking up/Barn Images via flic.kr

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Marilyn Rogers

Marketing Consultant | Content Strategist | Freelance Writer

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Last Updated on December 9, 2019

5 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress Effectively

5 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress Effectively

Everyone experiences mental stress at one time or another. Maybe you’re starting a new career, job, or business, or you feel incredibly overwhelmed between work, parenting, and your love life (or a lack of it). It could even be that you simply feel that you have way too much to do and not enough time to do it,  plus, on top of everything, nothing seems to be going the way it should!

Yup, we all experience mental stress from time-to-time, and that’s okay as long as you have the tools, techniques and knowledge that allow you to fully relieve it once it comes.

Here are 5 tips for relieving mental stress when it comes so you can function at your best while feeling good (and doing well) in work, love, or life:

1. Get Rationally Optimistic

Mental stress starts with your perception of your experiences. For instance, most people get stressed out when they perceive their reality as “being wrong” in some way. Essentially, they have a set idea of how things “should be” at any given moment, and when reality ends up being different (not even necessarily bad), they get stressed.

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This process is simply a result of perception and can be easily “fixed” by recognizing that although life might not always be going as YOU think it should, it’s still going as it should—for your own benefit.

In fact, once you fully recognize that everything in your life ultimately happens for your own growth, progress, and development—so you can achieve your goals and dreams—your perception works in your favor. You soon process and respond to your experience of life differently, for your advantage. That’s the essence of becoming “rationally optimistic.”

The result: no more mental stress.

2. Unplug

Just like you might need to unplug your computer when it starts acting all crazy, you should also “unplug” your mind.

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How on earth do you unplug your mind? Simple: just meditate.

It isn’t nearly difficult or complicated as some people think, so, if you don’t already meditate, give it a try. Whether you meditate for 5 minutes, 30 minutes, or 2 hours, this is a surefire way to reduce mental stress.

Meditation has been scientifically proven to relax your body (resulting in less mental stress), while also reducing anxiety and high blood pressure.

3. Easy on the Caffeine

Yes, we know, we know—everyone loves a nice java buzz, and that’s okay, but there’s a fine line between a small caffeine pick-me-up and a racing heart and mind that throws you into a frenzy of mental stress.

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Try giving up caffeine for a while and see how you feel. And, if that’s completely out of the question for you, at least try to minimize it. You might find that lots of your mental stress mysteriously “disappears” as your caffeine intake goes down.

4. Attack Mental Stress Via the Back Door

That’s right: your body and mind are part of the whole being, and are constantly influencing and affecting each other. If you’re experiencing a lot of mental stress, try to reduce it by calming your body down—a calm body equals a calmer mind.

How do you calm your body down and reduce physical stress? A  great way to reduce physical stress (thereby reducing mental stress) is to take natural supplements that are proven to reduce stress and anxiety while lifting your mood. Three good ones to look into are kava-kava, St John’s wort, and rhodiola rosea:

  • Kava-kava is a natural plant known to have mild sedative properties, and you should be able to find it at your natural health food store or vitamin store. It’s available in capsules or liquid extract form.
  • St John’s wort is a natural flower used to treat depression. Again, it’s found at your local health store in capsules or liquid. Because it uplifts mood (enabling you to see the brighter side of all experiences) it helps relieve mental stress as well.
  • Rhodiola rosea is a natural plant shown to reduce stress and uplift mood, and Russian athletes have been using it forever. Like the other two supplements mentioned, rhodiola rosea can be found at your natural health store in capsule or liquid form.

While these supplements are all natural and can be very helpful for most people, always check with your health care provider first as they can cause side-effects depending on your current health situation etc.

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5. Good Old-Fashioned Exercise

This tip has been around forever because it works. Nothing relieves mental stress like running, kickboxing—you name it. Anything super-physical will wipe out most of your mental stresses once the exercise endorphins (happy chemicals) are released into your brain.

The result: mental stress will be gone!

So, if you’re feeling overwhelmed or just plain stressed, try using some of the above tips. You can even print this out or save it to refer to regularly.

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Featured photo credit: Radu Florin via unsplash.com

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