How Emotionally Intelligent Are Cats
Success Quarterly is a tech and business blog that focuses on the intersection of Silicon Valley and Hollywood, including technology, business, mobile, entertainment, media, and related topics.
Over the past few years, emotional intelligence (or EI for short) has become increasingly popular as a way to describe something about someone’s personality. Some people have it more than others, just like some people are smarter than others.
Most studies agree that having higher EQ is better for your mental health and happiness than being low in empathy. That makes sense because, you know, everyone’s not necessarily meant to be emotionally intelligent or empathic.
Some people are born with slightly higher levels of EQ than others and it improved over time for other individuals.
So what does all this mean for cats?
Well, aside from making sure they eat enough food and take good care of themselves, most experts say that when interacting with other animals, dogs or even humans, your cat would benefit from understanding how emotions work and how to relate to them.
That means looking into whether or not their behavior seems appropriate and if so, why they acted that way.
But before you start teaching your feline friend anything beyond “sit” and “walk,” make sure his or her basic temperament needs are met first.
Here's everything you need to know about giving up pets due to financial reasons, and what you can do instead.
Relationship with your cat
The first thing to realize about emotional intelligence in cats is that they are not very emotionally intelligent.
That does not mean there is no emotion inside of them, but it means they cannot show it like us humans can.
Cats feel emotions, but they do so indirectly — by showing changes in their behavior.
For example, when something scary happens, you will see your cat growl or hiss more intensely. He may also retreat back away from you or try to hide under furniture or behind things.
When he is calm, he may purr longer and louder than usual. When he sleeps, his breathing becomes deeper and slower. All these behaviors indicate that he was thinking about something important and now he is relaxed.
What he was thinking about made him uncomfortable, so he calmed down. You can read his mind if you know how to interpret his body language.
It’s just not easy to do unless your cat chooses to tell you what’s going on in his head.
Ways to enhance your cat's emotional intelligence
A lot of people consider dogs to have higher levels of empathy than cats, but this isn't always the case. Some studies suggest that it is actually possible to make sure your cat has a lower level of empathetic ability.
There are several ways you can reduce your cat's emotional intelligence in order to make them seem less compassionate towards other animals or humans.
One way to do this is to expose your cat to a lot of different sounds and environments. This could include exposing her to heavy breathing, hair pulling, growling, and other types of noises.
By doing these things, she will learn how to associate those sounds with negative feelings which may trick her into thinking something else was wrong before.
Another way to reduce your cat's emotional intelligence is by using toys that don’t require any interaction. For example, an empty food bowl or a soft blanket. Both of these items can be comforting for your cat, but they don’t tell her anything about who she is or what emotions exist beyond eating and sleeping.
Let them feel your emotions
Many people associate emotional intelligence with humans only, but that is not the case at all! In fact, there are many animals that show certain signs of emotionally intelligent behavior.
Some examples of this include dogs who know when their owner is unhappy or stressed out and try to make them happier, horses that recognize their trainer’s face and will learn new behaviors just from seeing that person once per week, and cats that use grooming as a way to connect with their owners and gain attention.
All three of these things can be applied to the topic of emotional intelligence in cats. If you want your cat to understand what you are feeling, let them see how you are feeling.
Give your loved one a good hug every day. When they return the favor, walk away knowing that you made someone happy.
Take some time each day to give yourself a big fat praise for something you did well. You should do this daily, even if it was just taking a short break before going back into work or whatever else you have planned.
Consistency is one of the most important traits to look for when assessing emotional intelligence in animals. Just like us, some cats are more moody than others.
Just because something makes you laugh or cry every time you see it does not make it an emotionally intelligent animal.
Many dogs that people describe as having “soulful eyes” are actually just very playful puppies who grow up acting with intent.
If you read about many different types of monkeys, they all talk about how their tribe was displaced and had to find new homes. This made them socialize more, which is why so many speak other languages.
For this reason, many cuddle pets were trained from birth to respond to human voices.
These are definitely not signs of emotional intelligence, but rather instinctual behavior. We should strive to be socially aware and learn new languages, but being able to control your emotions is also important.
Emotional intelligence can help mitigate negative feelings, but it also allows you to recognize and manage your emotions.
Touch your cat
It is very important to show interest in your feline companion by interacting with them, playing with them, and washing them. If you love spending time with your cat, they will try harder to connect with you!
Touching your cat can be done anywhere, any time. You do not have to use your hands-you can use a cloth or brush, for example. Simply wash off all of the dirt that has accumulated around their nails and buff away any dried saliva or mucus.
You can also play with your cat using toys or games that she enjoys. For example, you could put her in the bathtub and pour water over her so she gets wet!
If your cat seems anxious or stressed, take some time to see if there are anything else you can do to help her feel more relaxed. Try giving her more food, changing her environment, or applying calming music to aid in relaxation.
Make them feel secure
If you want your cat to be more emotionally intelligent, make sure they know that they are safe and that they can rely on you. Give them space away from other animals so they do not get jealous or worried if another animal comes close.
Keep an eye on them at all times, check for signs of illness like vomiting or diarrhea, and take them to their doctor if necessary.
Give them as much food as they need and eat yourself to show that you love them. We humans use touch, kissing, and cuddling to show our affection, why not give those things to yours?
If possible, try to find a home with friends that will keep up regular visits so that they have someone to go to after being alone for hours.
Feed your cat properly
When you love something, you want to do everything you can to keep it happy. If you’re ever in a situation where your loved one is no longer willing to show their love for you, then you should consider moving on.
Cat owners are very passionate about their pets, which makes sense since most people develop strong emotional attachments to them.
If you have noticed that your pet is not as affectionate with other animals or humans, they may need some extra attention and care.
Making sure your feline friend has adequate nutrition and shelter-safe toys and playmates is an important part of ensuring its mental health.
Also, make sure to let them know they are loved through active listening and nonverbal cues like purring.
While every individual animal is different, many experts agree that cats who experience less negative emotions than other species are emotionally intelligent (or EI).
This may be because they learn how to control their reactions to external stimuli, or because they are more likely to succeed in life due to their low stress levels.
A lot of people consider dogs to be the more emotionally intelligent species, but we actually give higher ratings to cats! This is because most things about kittens are done for fun.
Kittens enjoy exploring new areas and interacting with other animals. They like being groomed and loved. When you play with them, they try different strategies to get your attention such as batting around toys or rubbing against you to gain petting.
When you're able to identify what behaviors will make a kitten seem happier then just walking over and giving it some affection, it becomes clear that these behaviors work.
This theory was tested in one study where researchers observed eight cats for five minutes. Two were exposed to an unfamiliar person who greeted each cat for two minutes, while the others remained alone during this time.
After the experiment, the researcher met each individual cat for ten minutes and recorded if they appeared friendly and relaxed. He also measured their body temperature and cortisol levels, both of which can increase due to stress.
He found no difference in socialization between the groups except for one cat – he had been pre-tested and was already socially adjusted. The remaining seven ranged from very friendly towards strangers to not at all.
The researcher concluded that although there’s only one cat that was affected by the test, it proved that negative experiences early in life could have long term effects.