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boffking
09-23-2014, 12:36 AM
It seems like almost any time I visit someone who has a cat, the cat always seems to like me. A few people I know say that animals can tell someone has a good spirit. Is this true?

Calatin
09-23-2014, 12:38 AM
My roommate's cats, who love to open my bedroom door and sleep on my bed with me, would beg to disagree.

Trinopus
09-23-2014, 01:47 AM
Rub a little bacon grease on your shoes; dogs and cats will love you.

If this makes you a good person, then goodness is a lot easier to attain than anyone knew.

HoneyBadgerDC
09-23-2014, 01:51 AM
I feel dogs can sense an evil person so would not be surprised if cats or other animals had a similar ability. I had a 2 year old german shorthaired pointer that had never shown any sign of aggression and was perfectly mannered and trained. I brought him into the house one time to show him off at a party I was having, maybe 50 or so guests. He turned on one particular guest and wanted to tear him to shreads. This was the boy friend of my wifes best friend. A few months later we found out he was arrested for the murder of his former girlfriend.

Claverhouse
09-23-2014, 02:11 AM
I doubt it, although their definition of 'goodness' has to vary from that of humankind, most of which define their own group definitions.


Some of the ghastliest people have been cat-haters (http://hubpages.com/hub/Cat-Haters-Famous-People-In-History-Who-Disliked-Cats), Bonaparte, Lord Roberts, Genghis Khan... Some cat-lovers have pretended Hitler hated cats, --- just as some disassociating vegetarians pretend he wasn't vegetarian; but there is no evidence, and there was a cat in the Bunker. Cats get everywhere.


However, some of the greatest cat-lovers were also ghastly people, Clemenceau, Lord Byron, Churchill...

The only reasonable conclusion is that cat-haters will rot in hell for a long time, regardless of their other actions.




The cat, unlike the dog, refuses to return good for evil, or to turn the right cheek when struck upon the left. These revenges. however, are extreme. A cat usually flees a persecutor or ignores him.


Carl van Vechten (http://bartleby.com/234/3.html)


However it doesn't seem that cats care whether people hate them or not, unless injured.

B. Serum
09-23-2014, 02:59 AM
A few people I know say that animals can tell someone has a good spirit. Is this true?

No.

Balance
09-23-2014, 03:03 AM
Cats have their own set of standards. There are courtesies among cats that humans generally know nothing of, and follow only by coincidence.

A few examples:

1) Prolonged eye contact is rude. It's a challenge, at best. If you look at a cat for a prolonged period, and the cat notices, it will probably think you're being a jerk. Depending on the cat and the circumstances, it will probably either respond by avoiding you or by displaying aggression.

2) Increasing your apparent size is rude. Decreasing it is conciliatory. If you loom, a cat will probably think you're trying to get it to go away. Sitting down, squatting down, or otherwise reducing your profile is sort of like a cat going from the hair-raised, inflated intimidation stance to a more relaxed, accepting posture.

3) Acknowledgment is polite. A glance, a slow blink, then look away. It means that you are acknowledging the cat's presence and tacitly stating that you're okay with it, or at least that you aren't interested in a confrontation. For a territorial predator, that's friendly.

If your habits and natural body language happen to fall in line with these behaviors, and you don't mistreat the cats when they approach you, cats will probably like to associate with you. You're making them comfortable, because you aren't doing things they regard as threats or challenges. Of course, most of these are also behaviors you could expect from people who aren't interested in the cat, so the occasional apparent perversity of cats seeking out people who don't want anything to do with them actually makes a sort of sense--it's a mismatch in body language. Some human "go away" signals are similar enough to feline "I'm friendly" signals to cause confusion.

As to cats identifying "good" people--no. Or at least, not as such. I would imagine that people who display what humans would interpret as shyness or diffidence in their body language would also appeal to cats, so they may have some tendency to prefer people who are quiet and nonconfrontational. We might consider a person with those traits to be nice (if they don't have other traits that are unpleasant enough to outweigh those), but the appeal to cats would be from a somewhat different angle.

Claverhouse
09-23-2014, 03:27 AM
1) Prolonged eye contact is rude. It's a challenge, at best. If you look at a cat for a prolonged period, and the cat notices, it will probably think you're being a jerk. Depending on the cat and the circumstances, it will probably either respond by avoiding you or by displaying aggression.





One can carry out a conversation with cats by blinking. They like this.

Grrr!
09-23-2014, 04:00 AM
One easy way of being liked by both cats and dogs is: When approaching a strange cat or dog, FIRST stick out your hand below their head level and let them smell you. Once the get their fill, go ahead and pet them. But pet them on the side of the face first (So they can see you). Then if the body language is right, pet them on the top of the head. (or wherever)

sandra_nz
09-23-2014, 04:38 AM
It seems like almost any time I visit someone who has a cat, the cat always seems to like me. A few people I know say that animals can tell someone has a good spirit. Is this true?
It might be true, but it's certainly never been tested and/or proven. Firstly, what criteria would you use to establish 'a good spirit'? Then you'd need to devise some kind of double-blind test whereby cats are introduced to people with good/bad spirits and observe the differences. :D

Mikahw
09-23-2014, 09:24 AM
So, what does it mean if one of my brother's cats comes up and begs to be petted, while the other one bites/scratches if I try to touch him? Maybe I'm only semi-evil.

Count Blucher
09-23-2014, 09:28 AM
Can cats really tell who is a good person?

The day my cat tells me, I'll let you know.

Hail Ants
09-23-2014, 11:15 PM
It seems like almost any time I visit someone who has a cat, the cat always seems to like me. A few people I know say that animals can tell someone has a good spirit. Is this true?Cats cannot tell a good person from a bad one. What they can tell, very quickly, is a person who likes cats and a person who dislikes them. The latter especially fast. And not just from being yelled at or threatened with physical harm, just body language is enough. Cats are keenly sensitive to that. And cat owners are to how their cats behave.

The cat, unlike the dog, refuses to return good for evil, or to turn the right cheek when struck upon the left. These revenges. however, are extreme. A cat usually flees a persecutor or ignores him.The animal psychology explanation would be 'Cats do NOT respond to negative reinforcement, while dogs do'. And its very true. Cats can not (or will not) associate physical punishment with any action of theirs, just with the individual doling it out. This is the main reason guys (myself excluded) prefer dogs and often hate cats. Dogs are drooling sycophantic slaves which is kinda what a guy is looking for in an animal. Cats are partners, they share their lives with you and you theirs.

This fantastic scene from Meet the Parents sums it up nicely! (http://youtube.com/watch?v=KJFp272w9u8) (by Robert Deniro no less!)

Oh, and Claverhouse- Why do you consider Churchill to be a "ghastly person"? :confused:

flatlined
09-23-2014, 11:54 PM
One of my cats once attacked someone who broke in and then attacked me while I was in bed. While I did brag that my cat loved me enough to do that...its also possible it happened because I threw the cat at the attacker's face. (Up until then, my cats loved that guy, he was very non-threatening and a very nice guy.) So, I don't trust my cats instincts.

Claverhouse
09-23-2014, 11:58 PM
You were quoting Mr. Van Vechten, not I.


As for the off-topic question, I am British: there is a long tradition here away from the pious hype, starting with his colleagues in the Edwardian Liberal party, both left and right, progressive and reactionary, to consider Churchill a vainglorious, publicity-seeking, incompetent bounder and war-monger [ the latter not in the sense that WWII was wrong, but that, like his model Bonaparte, --- or Trotsky and Hitler --- he needed wars to thrive and considered himself a genius at them ), Anyone willing to consider re-arming the defeated German army in 1945 to fight Our Glorious Ally was not thinking clearly. I have always regarded him as a fat little vulgarian.


Plus he hated Prussia.

SeaDragonTattoo
09-24-2014, 12:25 AM
Based on the amount and ghastly level of cruelty I've seen both cats and dogs endure both from owners and strangers, the answer is unequivocally no. No, they cannot tell who is a good or bad person.

Jackmannii
09-24-2014, 08:48 AM
Cats are basically amoral, if not actively sociopathic. So I'm not sure a cat taking to someone is an endorsement of character.

I hear tell Hitler's German Shepherd was fond of him.

Most dogs I encounter seem to like me. That's probably because 1) they're intrinsically friendly, 2) I'm at ease around dogs, and 3) I do good ear-scratching and belly-rubbing.

El_Kabong
09-24-2014, 09:03 AM
It seems like almost any time I visit someone who has a cat, the cat always seems to like me. A few people I know say that animals can tell someone has a good spirit. Is this true?

I'm not sure. Are Ernst Stavro Blofeld and Doctor Evil good spirits?

Finagle
09-24-2014, 09:54 AM
Cats cannot tell a good person from a bad one. What they can tell, very quickly, is a person who likes cats and a person who dislikes them.

In my experience, what cats can tell very quickly is whether someone can handle a can opener and whether they have a warm lap. They're mostly interested in food and body heat. Evolution has brought them up to be amoral killers of small cute things -- that's a pretty crummy benchmark for judging if you're Mr. Nice Guy.

astorian
09-24-2014, 01:00 PM
Animals can't and don't make good judges of character.

But they CAN sense when someone is nervous, and nervousness is contageous. If you just don't like cats or dogs for some reason, you're liable to act fidgety around them. They sense that and they don't like it. A little terrier will start yapping at a fidgety person... and some superstitious owner may start thinking, "Muffin has always been a good judge of character. There must be something... OFF about thsi person."

kayaker
09-24-2014, 01:18 PM
One of our dogs, (Ella, the one in the middle), (http://i681.photobucket.com/albums/vv174/kayaker01/LokiEllaKali_zpsb766dbae.jpg) hates little old ladies. She's fine around kids, bikers, the UPS guy, etc. But she would rip out the throat of a stereotypical little old lady. What happened to her before she ended up at the shelter is amusing to speculate about.

gnoitall
09-24-2014, 02:06 PM
You were quoting Mr. Van Vechten, not I.


As for the off-topic question, I am British: there is a long tradition here away from the pious hype, starting with his colleagues in the Edwardian Liberal party, both left and right, progressive and reactionary, to consider Churchill a vainglorious, publicity-seeking, incompetent bounder and war-monger [ the latter not in the sense that WWII was wrong, but that, like his model Bonaparte, --- or Trotsky and Hitler --- he needed wars to thrive and considered himself a genius at them ), Anyone willing to consider re-arming the defeated German army in 1945 to fight Our Glorious Ally was not thinking clearly. I have always regarded him as a fat little vulgarian.


Plus he hated Prussia.
Besides, he's half-American on his mother's side. How much more do you need to know? :D

Scumpup
09-24-2014, 02:26 PM
Can cats really tell who is a good person?

No, but many people who like cats enjoy believing this is the case.

Ulfreida
09-24-2014, 03:05 PM
Dogs and I think to a lesser extent cats (because they are not innately social beings) don't read character in the sense humans mean it but they are highly sensitive to body language and affect, more so than most people are. They read micro-clues of even if someone is trying to conceal it. They also respond well to people who understand how to communicate nonverbally with animals (very few seem to, even though it is pretty easy).

kanicbird
09-24-2014, 03:20 PM
No.

Obviously cats don't like you, just be good and they will. :)

lorene
09-25-2014, 08:44 AM
While I don't necessarily believe that cats have a superior ability to suss out good or bad people, my former cats did take an intense dislike to a guy I was dating once, who turned out to be Not a Nice Fellow. Every single time I went out with him, one of them pooped on the floor. The other just never came around, to the point where the guy doubted the cat's existence. And I went out plenty for other reasons; it's not as though I was suddenly gone a lot and they were protesting my absence.

Then they turned out to be very fond of the man I eventually married, who is a good guy. (But then we had kids and they hated that, so my anecdote breaks down there).

jtur88
09-25-2014, 06:35 PM
Animals can certainly smell chemicals given off your body by fear, and probably some other hormonal emissions, as well. Animals can also tell by your eyes whether you are looking at them or not, and detect the size of your pupils and evaluate it for meaning. Even humans can do that, but it is usually subconscious -- like animals. When you were sitting in the back row, you always knew whether your teacher was looking at you or at somebody else, even if you needed glasses. That is an unerring instinct in all animals.

Those of you who wish to continue will be regaled with an anecdote. I was visiting friends in Belize, who had a work station in her house lighted by an upstairs window, with a fruiting tree just a few feet from the window. Every afternoon, a pair of green toucans came to feed in the tree. She noted that they flew away as soon as she looked at them. This happened so many days, that she conducted an experiment. She could be doing her routine work at her desk, moving about, and the birds would stealthily arrive unnoticed and continue to feed, until she focused her eyes on them - then they would immediately fly away and not return until the next day. I was there when she did this, and if either of us looked at the toucans, they flew, but if we didn't look at them, we could even wave our arms and they would remain. Even through a window screen, in a relatively dark interior, they could see if anyone's eyes were locked on them, and felt safe as long as none were.

RealityChuck
09-25-2014, 08:56 PM
Cats can tell a good person. Though they define a good person as "a human that might give me what I want."

excavating (for a mind)
09-25-2014, 09:41 PM
Cats are basically amoral, if not actively sociopathic. So I'm not sure a cat taking to someone is an endorsement of character.

I hear tell Hitler's German Shepherd was fond of him.

Most dogs I encounter seem to like me. That's probably because 1) they're intrinsically friendly, 2) I'm at ease around dogs, and 3) I do good ear-scratching and belly-rubbing.
I think you have those in the wrong order.

One of my favorite cartoons (not animated cartoon, but an ink and paper type, as found in The New Yorker), showed a dog on a beach, who had walked up upon a bottle that had been washed up onto the shore. Apparently, the dog had pulled the stopper out of the end of the bottle and a genie had emerged. The genie says to the dog "Let me get this straight, for your three wishes, you want three belly rubs?". The dog is nodding affirmatively.

And, you don't even have to be good at belly rubbing, you just have to rub the belly.

Hail Ants
09-27-2014, 07:37 PM
In my experience, what cats can tell very quickly is whether someone can handle a can opener and whether they have a warm lap. They're mostly interested in food and body heat. Evolution has brought them up to be amoral killers of small cute things -- that's a pretty crummy benchmark for judging if you're Mr. Nice Guy.Amoral?! They're hunting strictly for survival. And both morality and cuteness are totally human concepts which we impose onto things from our POV. It's like saying cats are amoral because mice are cute but birds aren't because worms & insects are gross. These concepts have no meaning whatsoever to animals.

Can cats really tell who is a good person?

No, but many people who like cats enjoy believing this is the case.Guilty as charged... :D

Balance
09-27-2014, 11:26 PM
Amoral?! They're hunting strictly for survival. And both morality and cuteness are totally human concepts which we impose onto things from our POV.
Er, that's what Finagle is saying. "Amoral" means they are not concerned with moral issues. As you point out, moral frameworks are a human concept, so of course cats operate outside them. It's not a judgment that cats are bad or wrong for doing so, just a statement that morality is irrelevant to a cat.

Hail Ants
09-28-2014, 08:28 PM
Er, that's what Finagle is saying. "Amoral" means they are not concerned with moral issues. As you point out, moral frameworks are a human concept, so of course cats operate outside them. It's not a judgment that cats are bad or wrong for doing so, just a statement that morality is irrelevant to a cat.Correct, I apologize for my error. I always equate amoral with immoral.

Fear Itself
09-28-2014, 08:35 PM
I had a cat in college that my roommate disliked. The cat reciprocated by chewing through the stems of his prized house plants until they all fell over.

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