A Study of Cats and Humans

Ever wonder what your cat is thinking?

Well, I truthfully cannot tell you what your cat is thinking, but I can tell you just a little about how it thinks.

Cats and humans share many similarities when it comes to the brain. Granted our brain is bigger (1,400 grams) and a cat’s brain is smaller (30 grams), but much of the thinking process is quite similar.

For many years researchers have been studying the thinking process of a cat and in the 1970’s a study was under taken to see how cats processed visual information.

The visual cortex of the brain is more highly developed in humans, but cats with the help of their whiskers have fine sensory input, which allows them to navigate quite well, especially in the dark.

A cats “nose brain” (rhinencephalon) is much larger than a humans which makes them far more sensitive to smell than we are. Many cats that have naval cavity tumors or other problems with their nose will not eat due to the fact a cat eats only what smells good to them.

It is known that dogs have a great sense of smell and are used as “drug sniffing dogs” and for search and rescue missions. If cats were more cooperative their sense of smell would be a great asset to these programs also.

The limbic system which controls emotional behavior is a function of the brain shared both by cats and humans. Many people think cats are not emotional, but if the truth were known cats probably have the same emotions of anger, likes and dislikes that we do.

Cats also have memory and like humans and other mammals have two “seahorse shaped hippocampi situated on either side of the brain. The hippocampus may be smaller in size than a humans, but trust me a cat remembers well and they do associate memories with people, places and things just like humans do.

Cats can also have addictions just as humans do. While people tend to overindulge in food, drugs or alcohol, cats can become addicted to catnip and stress related activities such as hair pulling (psychogenic alopecia.)

Cats can also suffer from some of the same diseases of the brain as humans do. The most common of tumors are meningiomas (usually benign) and lymphoma, epilepsy (usually caused by a tumor) and a form of dementia found in elderly cats or cats that have experienced a severe head injury.

It is said that cats are not very smart because they do not do tricks as dogs do or try to please their owners. As a cat parent I have to disagree, having lived with cats most of my life I find them extremely smart and truly believe we could learn a lot from them, if we only followed their examples.

Just think how much simpler your life would be if you followed your cat’s lifestyle.

Independent Thought

Children who show a keen interest in cat pictures are basically dropping hints to get a cat of their own. They can start with having their own ragdoll kittens.

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