Learning Behavior: who’s imitating who?  

4# Have You Ever Wonder?

More than 15 years ago, I participated in a personal development course by a well-known Indonesian writer and motivator, La Rose. There was an interesting explanation from her presentation at that time about learning behavior. She explained that from our childhood, we learn how to behave, response, gesture, and body language from our surroundings. In most cases, from our parents and family. All the characters we have as a grown up person or adult are derived from many years where we adopt most habitual from our family. She called this process as learning behavior. Do you ever notice how members in one family have the same typical gestures when smiling or being grumpy? Or, even in responding to horrible news.

Needless to say when we are having animals as our companions at home. Based on my observation, cats are the perfect creature in learning other cat and our behavior and responses. If it’s not, then why the terminology of copycat is ever exist? Feline are excellent impersonator because they are keen observer. They always notice and study how their beloved humans behave and react. My own experience has shown these hypotheses are for real. For instance, when one of my cat eagerly want to get out from a closed room, he knows how to open the door by jumping off many times towards the doorknob and manage to push down it by his paws, boom alakazam… and the door is open. I was so amazed because I never taught him how to open the door. Or, in another occasion, my other cat open the window by pushing all her body against it and place her paws on the window knob….after putting hard work and extra efforts, she finally succeeded unlock the window. Once again, I never coach her how to do it. So, if no one in my home ever trains my cats how to do those things, where they get the idea? Believe it or not! For another prove, see below how a marvelous feline plays piano.

One other thing that makes me stun is the resemblance of our cat temperament or personality with their owner. Thus, are my close watching over catlovers, and of course including my own. My long time colleague has a cat, which its body is robust and describes my friend’s body type. They have similarities in personality, being rather snob, nasty and put privacy matter as priority. For other facts as examples, the list could be way too long if I put them all together here. As catlover, how about yours? And, for non catlover, have you ever notice this one?

On the other paws, ooopss… I mean on the other hand, in humans world, we found the term with “cat” word as a phrase to indicate we do adopt and behave like cats. I have mentioned in my earlier posting about catfight and catwalk. The term of copycat is the most captivating phrase. Even among cats, I often see cats do imitating each other and not just copy our characters. Based on those “cat” terms we used, we are being impersonator to cats’ behavior. Hence, I often wonder to myself, actually who’s imitating who?

Little felines impersonating in humans world

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Feline and Philosophy: The Intertwining Fate  

"I have studied many philosophers and many cats. The wisdom of cats is infinitely superior." ~ Hippolyte Taine

Felinesophy = Feline + Philosophy

The overture of felinesophy as feline and philosophy is like intertwining fate between cats and human become lost in bedazzlement. Interface between feline spheres and human world is captivating in diverse ways. Before we get into the crux, let us see the definition behind these words, feline and philosophy. Feline has two different kinds of meaning according to Merriam-Webster OnLine dictionary, relating to, or affecting cats or the cat family and resembling a cat as sleekly graceful, or sly, treacherous, stealthy. Based on history, in a nutshell philosophy means love of wisdom.

Researchers have shown many studies the connection and influence between animal and human. I believe the most interesting animal would be feline. How come? My observation based on the meaning of feline as above mentioned and from the feline characters. Furthermore, many stories, tales, news, quotes, proverbs, jokes and cartoon has been involving feline. The feline has strong affect on human world, from their strategies to survive, its behavior and body language adopted into our language.

What is language? Let’s see how an American man defined it.

Language is not an abstract construction of the learned, or of dictionary makers, but is something arising out of the work, needs, ties, joys, affections, tastes, of long generations of humanity, and has its bases broad and low, close to the ground
Noah Webster quotes (American Man of letter and lexicographer, known for his American Spelling Book and his American Dictionary of the English Language. 1758-1843)
The examples of how feline inspire our language are catfight, catwalk, copycat, catnap, catfish and so on. Have you ever wonder why there are many terminologies using “cat” word? Perhaps, never across our mind why there is no such crocodilewalk, or antfight, birdnap and maybe even copyelephant?

For centuries feline has given great significance and strong affect to our daily life, either they are being our companions at home, inspiration, even consider as Goddess in ancient history and our closeness to them has added their characters become more like human. Another research recently shows that feral cats or wild cats only have certain limited emotions and characters, i.e. angry and when hungry always hunting for prey. After cats being domesticated, they have several additional emotions and characters like mischievous, know how to begging for food either they hungry or just being copycat because they want to eat our meals too. They have been observing and study our responses and make use of it in interacting with us for the purpose to achieve their goals. Thus, it is the intertwining fate between cats and human become lost in bedazzlement.

"Some people say that cats are sneaky, evil, and cruel. True, and they have many other fine qualities as well."
- Missy Dizick

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