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Do Cats Feel Guilt?
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Do Cats Feel Guilt?

Sometimes animals are very much like humans. When we do something wrong we feel guilt. Cats who are close to people can be in almost telepathic communication with them. And they are quick to pick up on emotions. This connection became real to me during a visit with my sister and her five cats.

When I arrived at her home my sister advised me to keep all clothing and personal items out of the cats'reach. I hung up almost everything. It made sense as cats find many objects fun and interesting. I thought everything was safe but had forgotten just how high a cat can jump.

We slept in her queen sized bed. When I awakened I noticed a strong waft of cat spray. I traced the smell to my purse. One of the cats had managed to get on top of the hallway credenza and had thoroughly sprayed my black nylon backpack/purse.

This must have taken extraordinary balance; there was hardly enough room for a cat to lift it's tail, twitch it and spray the purse. But one of them did. None of them confessed. I had to narrow the target. Although male cats are more likely to spray, females do as well. However, the three female kitties had spent the night happily curled up on the bed.

That left the two males. One was an elderly cat and the other in his prime. The younger was the logical suspect. Spraying is a way cats mark their territory. My sis informed me that I had slept in Lucky's usual spot. She also told me that he had earlier sprayed a friend's nightgown for the same reason.

I decided to have a little chat with him. I called his name and he froze. Then he looked around frantically in search of an escape route. He wouldn't make eye contact, just like a criminal caught in the act.

He hunkered down close to the floor and slunk away, the epitome of a guilty kitty. Then he skulked off and hid for the rest of the day. So, the answer is "yes" cats do feel guilt. I truly believe he banished himself to do penance.

This was so even though he did no more than seek to protect his special pillow. Realizing this, I forgave him for his sin and offered him a Pounce catnip flavored kitty treat to show I still loved him. His guilt melted and he purred his acceptance of my forgiveness. Afterwards he allowed me to sleep on his pillow without retribution.


Street Talk

  

It's probably a little bit of both. But none of the cats have ever been punished for their little "sins" and he was happy to have been forgiven.

Reply
  about 4 years ago

Not so sure that was guilt the cat felt! Could have been that he knew he got caught!!! Funny story -

Reply
  about 4 years ago
  

Yes, Cats are very smart, independent and perceptive. I had a Smokey too. He never got neutered so usually came back home beat up from a cat fight.

Reply
  about 4 years ago

Cats are so freakin smart. I remember my cat smokey (R.I.P.) would do things like that too. They most definitely feel guilt!! He also got pissed at my mom when she accidently stepped on his tail lol.

Reply
  about 4 years ago
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