How do cats see humans? Some say they see their human as another big cat who dominates her/him, others say they see us as servants. Some sources say yes, they see us as a big cat, but not as the dominator (who dominate them), just a big, dumb cat who even doesn’t have basic hunting skills. I even read that they see us as inferiors. But which of them are true?

My answer to that question is: since they can’t tell it to us, because they have no language to tell, nobody can exactly know. But I have a strong feeling that the explanations above are not true.

  1. Do cats see us another big cat? I think not. My cats (one mother and three son) do not see strangers frequently, but when they do, they clearly understand it’s not another big cat. Three of them are shy, they don’t accept strangers at first, they try to stay away. One of them is very curious, he likes being around when a friend come home. But sometimes I bring another cat to home. When I do that, they hate it. They hiss the newcomer, sometimes try to hit him/her (at first, a few days later they get used to the new situation). That’s as it should be: humans aren’t territorial threats to them; only other cats are. So, I can say that the cats clearly recognize a cat is a cat, and a human is a human, not a cat.

    Do cats see us another big cat? Probably not. Your cat doesn’t see you as another big cat. Illustration: Undercats by Sebastian Magnani
  2. Do cats see us as inferiors? I don’t think so. Once, while I putting my road bike inside, one of my cats, my lovely son Nairo, accidentally go out of my apartment. And I didn’t notice. I rushed to the bathroom to take a shower. When I was out after about 15 minutes, I heard constant meowing outside – and it was filled with horror. I opened the door, he jumped in. He run for the kitchen – the farthest room from the outside door. For a few days, he never got close to the door. He is normally a naughty cat but during these days, he just sat around. I think he was thinking I -somehow- punished him. After a few dayts he was totally “normal” again – but I think this experience shows he does not see me as inferior. He clearly knows who is the landlord.

I think the best answer to the question is: they see us their mother. Yes, your cat sees you as her/his mother, regardless of its age, and your gender.

I read the answer below on quora:

Dogs see their “pack leader” (I do not like this school of thought – it is a form of training with which I disagree), but as parents, who are in dog society the pack leader. The pack leader is not an autocrat, but the loving and much loved parent you play with, follow and guard with your life. Cats are the same way, with a twist.

Cats in Nature (African wildcat and Wildcat and Asiatic wildcat for example), who are the exact same species as the domestic cat, are solitary hunters, only interacting with other cats, even their parents, only to fight or mate. As adults, they do not play, and certainly with another cat. Domestication changed that.

Domestic cats are neotonic (see: Neoteny on wikipedia), as are most domestic animals, and are babies all their lives. Thus, they are the kitten, and you are mom (no matter your actual gender). Mom cats provide everything for their babies, and are at the baby’s beck and call, which is why people think cats see us as servants. No, they see us as mom, and mom is supposed to provide everything. They see other cats in the house as siblings, and play with them and you (mom) as their ancestors would have as kittens in the wild.

Mare the kitten sleeping, 2015-09-17-03 Your cat probably sees you as her/his mother, regardless of its age, and your gender.

Why mom, not father? Because, cats usually don’t know their fathers. The mother usually don’t allow a male cat get close to her kittens. So, the cats don’t have the concept for a “father”. Within the world of domestic cats (and also almost every cat species – with the exception of lions), fathers definitely don’t have big roles in looking after their offspring. The duties of caring for kittens lie squarely on the mother cats’ shoulders.


  • Dogs see their owner as pack leader. What do cats see their owner as? on Quora
M. Özgür Nevres

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