The View From Down Here: What Your Cat Sees
It always kind of amazes me when a person’s cat gets scared and runs and they don’t understand why. The other day I was at a friends house and her cat was lying on the floor. She made us some coffee and cake and had it on a large tray. We decided to go to the living room and had to pass Simone, her cat, on the way there. As she went by Simone, she swung the tray around to the side, which happened to be right over Simone’s head. Simone looked up, jumped and ran off. My friend looked at me and said, “What on earth? ” She couldn’t understand why Simone had taken off so suddenly.
I love my friend, but I couldn’t help but mentally shake my head over her total lack of understanding. I finally told her that I think the tray scared her. I’m not sure she really got what I meant, even then. Being my friend, I let it drop, but it made me realize how so many of us just don’t see things the way our cat does. Honestly, it took me a long time to think about this too.
Imagine you’re in New York City and your looking up at all of the skyscrapers. There they are, looming up above you and that sight can be somewhat intimidating. Now think about how tall your cat is and how tall some of your furniture is. That six shelf bookcase in the corner looks like a skyscraper to your cat. It’s intimidating.
Have you ever had a big bird fly directly over your head while you were outside? What did you do? When it happened to me, I ducked, even though the bird did not touch me. If the bird continued to swoop at me, I would run. Therefore, when my friend swung the tray over Simone’s head, she ran. Even though the tray was at least 5 feet above her head, she just saw something coming at her. It’s really very simple.
Another example is when people lean down to pet or pick up your cat. They trust YOU so they don’t run (unless they think you’re going to give them a pill, if yours are like mine!) but a stranger is a different thing entirely. If someone squats down and just talks to the cat first before calmly reaching out to them, they will usually do fairly well. But imagine a person just bending over quickly and reaching out…that’s scary. Imagine even how big your hand looks to them.
As your cat gets used to their home and the furniture, they learn it’s safe. They don’t look at the bookcase as a looming skyscraper anymore…it becomes something they try to figure out how to climb! The next time your cat freaks out, get down to their level. Put your self down to their size and imagine what they saw. You’ll see what spooked them. They are so little and the world can be a scary place. Just picturing how they see things will make you more sensitive to their feelings and we all want that!
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