Does Your Cat Manipulate You?

in Pet

Consider the poor cat... Accused of being less intelligent than dogs, less friendly, too independent, vengeful, and now... manipulative?

Talk about a lose-lose proposition. Cats have been looked down upon through the centuries and held responsible for plagues and spiteful behavior in our homes; now some researchers have lent credibility to all the rumors.

The highly intelligent cat has learned (and we're just noticing it) how to get our attention to "get what they want." This is being characterized as being manipulative.

We either need to redefine "manipulative" or we need to understand what an incredible accomplishment it is.

How would you fare in another country, unable to speak the language and unaware of local customs? At least you would be dealing with fellow humans, not trying to make another species understand you.

Cats are completely remarkable in their ability to read our moods, remember our routines, and accommodate our inability to understand them. Do we return the favor? No, we condemn them for being able to work around us while they attempt to reach some nexus of communication with us. Then when they reach one, we become annoyed and accuse them of manipulating us.

Let's explore just what that means.

What would you say to a boss if you needed to negotiate for a raise? What if you just needed a day off for some personal time? And what if this boss were a difficult person, negating the possibility of simply asking? Perhaps you would try to find a way to get on his or her good side, such as getting your project turned in early in order to put you in a good light, and thus, finding the boss in a good mood and more likely to grant your request.

Would you call that manipulative? Of course you would. It is. But is there something wrong with that?

Newsbreak: Manipulation is one of the methods we all use to get what we want, or even what we need. Our own children do it, our friends do it, and now we know, our pets do it, too.

Let's not view this as a call to punishment, but rather, a milestone to reaching a level of communication many of us have been wishing we could have with our pets. Perhaps it is we who have been too dense to notice it's already happening. We can't expect everyone to speak English, now, can we?

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Dr. R.J. Peters has 1 articles online

Dr. Peters has an extensive background in health care, animal care, journalism, computer repair and systems administration. She writes articles over a wide spectrum of topics and has numerous ebooks available on the Internet. Visit and for more articles and information about pets.

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Does Your Cat Manipulate You?

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This article was published on 2010/03/30