Tuesday 25 January 2022

Are hairless cats really envious of longhair cats?

The title is amusing when you see the video. This couple of hairless cats are so committed to grooming the white Persian that you would be forgiven for believing that they were envious of her hair. I don't think it's true. The emotion of envy is a human one. The desire to groom a friend of yours, if you are a cat, is a strong motivator. You probably know that it is called allogrooming. 

If a cat is envious of another cat because they have hair, the cat who experiences the emotion of envy must recognise the fact that they don't have hair. In order to recognise that simple fact they have to be self-aware. They have to be self-conscious. And this is one of those massive debates. People aren't sure whether cats are self-conscious. 

This means a person or animal: recognises themselves objectively and can assess themselves compared to others. At the moment people are unsure that cats can do this. They probably can't. If that is true then it confirms what I have said that cats don't feel envy and these two hairless cats are not envious of this beautiful Persian cat's fur.

2 hairless cats lick a white Persian with zeal
2 hairless cats lick a white Persian with zeal. Screenshot.

Some people say that it is a form of dominance but I don't really believe that. It's a question of friendly interactions. Cats do it to people all the time as you know. They do it for the same reason: friendliness. 

This couple of Sphynx cats are certainly committed. They carry on even when there is a miniature crash helmet on the head of the Persian. I find that a bit odd, I confess. Surely these hairless cats recognise that they are no longer licking a cat's hair? 

But apparently not. It looks as if the behaviour is entirely instinctive. Perhaps they lick the crash helmet because it's a bit like licking their own bodies. I think that is the reason behind this behaviour. They accept the hairlessness of the helmet; no questions asked.

: This is a video from another website which is embedded here. Sometimes they are deleted at source which stops them working on this site. If that has happened, I apologise but I have no control over it.

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