Wednesday 16 May 2012

Self-fulfilling Prophecy and Cats

Gentleness and kindness will work wonders with cats. Most cats have gentle dispositions. They resent ill-treatment and will respond accordingly. If you find cats gentle, interesting and good companions your beliefs will be confirmed in their behaviour. If, on the contrary, you are somewhat fearful of the domestic cat and believe that they are mean and nasty, you are quite likely to find that belief confirmed in equal measure. This is the self-fulfilling prophecy with regard to the keeping of cats and our interaction with cats.

A self-fulfilling prophecy is one where a misplaced belief comes true because in having that belief an individual's actions, directly or indirectly create the situation under which his beliefs are likely to come to pass.

In relation to the domestic cat it is easy to see how the self-fulfilling prophecy takes place a million times every hour of every day.  A particular case comes to mind immediately. An animal control officer thinks stray cats are nasty, disease spreading animals. He grabs hold of a stray domestic cat disregarding common sense principles and disrespecting the cat's innate defensiveness towards strangers. The cat hisses, struggles and scratches. The cat is deemed to have behaviour unsuitable for adoption and is put down at a cat shelter.  If an elderly lady had approached the cat and feed him an entirely different assessment of that cat's suitability would have been made.

The path to eliminating the self-fulfilling prophecy in relation to cats is education. A good understanding of the domestic cat leads to a proper respect for the character and skills of the domestic cat, which in turn enables a person to interact with the cat in the correct way.

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