Does your cat show empathy for other animals?

United States
August 19, 2007 2:44pm CST
My cat Rain is a loner as far as other cats are concerned. When we tried to introduce her to a friend's cat, an aborted attempt to make sure she ahd a place to stay when I was away, she hissed and clased at the other cat and tackled him any tiem he got near her toys or her people. He could have the food and the litter box. She didn't care about those. So I was particularly shocked when she showed enormous concern last night for a cat that was yowling outside our living room. The cat outside sounded like it was in a fight or being hurt and I was going outside anyway to make sure that it was okay, but Rain was a maniac. She has me trained well, so I know that when she sits at my feet and looks the other way she wants me to get up and follow her. This is usually a signal that she wants to go to the basement and the door is closed or that her food dish needs filled. last night, she gave over and sat at my feet, swatting at my leg to get my attention. When I followed her, she went straight to the outside door and started swatting at the handle. Rain is an indoor cat only and never tries to get out unless I'm on the porch and even then she has never actually gone outside of her own freewill. But, I understood her behavior and opened the door so she could look out the screen. She immediately started sniffing at it and tried to get outside. I locked the screen and told her no and she sat at the screen and cried until I went outside to check on the other cat. When I came back in and told her the other cat was gone, she finally calmed down and went back to the living room. Now I know I am imposing human behaviors on my cat, but I think she was really concerned about the other cat. Is that possible? Do other people's animals do this? I guess it might be important to mention that the cat crying outside was likely a relative of hers. She had been a neighborhood stray before we adopted her.
4 people like this
8 responses
@CatsandDogs (13964)
• United States
19 Aug 07
I have seven cats and two show signs of caring for others including myself. Rascal loves other cats that he knows however not so much with ones he doesn't know but once he gets to know them then he's open arms. He'll help them clean themselves and will sleep with them. I guess it's out of extending a friendship bond or what ever but it's really cute. Now my other cat Gracie, whew!, if she hears another cat yowling outside, she's at the window or the door wanting to get out and go after the cats that are fighting and will chase the "bad guy" off. She's something else, let me tell ya.
2 people like this
• United States
19 Aug 07
I think Rain would have tried to chase the other cat off, except that she's a big chicken mostly. She doesn't go aside partially because she's afraid of the cars. Rascal sounds adorable and Gracie sounds like a good champion of the undercat :)
@rosie_123 (6118)
19 Aug 07
Well ny friend, when it comes to cats I am always amazed by their amazing strength, intelligence, and an extra-sensory perception beyond us mere humans' wildest dreams. I am sure Rain wanted to help the other cat - just as it was my cat Frodo who found Lily when she was a tiny, little 6-week-old kitten stray, and led me to her. I also think it is more than likely that this cat was related to Rain. I actually spoke to my Vet quite recently about this, and he said they do have "family ties" and it is quite possible that Frodo (who was also a stray) and Lily were actually related, and that's why he protected her, because she was perhaps his sister or half-sister. Certainly the two of the always sleep together and play together just assiblings would. I sincerely hope the other cat was alright, and I'm sure if he/she comes around again, Rain will do the right thing. Much love to her from Lily and the gang:-))
• United States
19 Aug 07
You have such a wise vet! I think Frodo probably did feel the kinship to Lily and that's why he helped rescue her. I suspect if we ever decided to get another kitten we wuld have to wait until the spring litters of stray and get one of Rain's siblings... Tell Lily and the gang we adore them :)
1 person likes this
@rosie_123 (6118)
19 Aug 07
Of course I will:-)) Thanks. It is cold and pouring with rain out there tonight, so the whole gang are draped around the house - the boys all over the furniture and Lily purring happily on my partner's lap while he watches TV - none of them would choose to go outside tonight!!
1 person likes this
• United States
20 Aug 07
We would happily steal your rain. it's been 100+ here almost constantly for the last two and ahalf weeks. We got a big storm Friday and it dropped the temps to the high 90s and all the farmers are praying for rain.
1 person likes this
@ElicBxn (61135)
• United States
19 Aug 07
some of my cats are good with other cats, some arn't Ping & Pong are brother and love each other very much, but Pong has taken a long time to accept the newcomers while Ping is more accepting Cookie & Booboo are sister & brother and while Cookie is always making friends with the bigger cats, Booboo is just a good natured guy. He plays nice with the babies & even when Oliver was attacking him, he'd just fend OLiver off. Most of my cats don't know a relative from a non relative since those pairs are the only related ones. Then there's Timus. He likes to mix it up and will still go groom his friends. I can't say that any of mine want me to go check on outside cats, but that's because most of the outside cats are not related to my inside cats. Not that there are many of them LEFT outside... I'm joking
1 person likes this
• United States
20 Aug 07
I think it's great that you adopt all the strays (well, most of them), LOL Rain was the runt I guess of the local strays and when we took her in, she had been beated pretty regularly by other cats and was sporting a nasty abcess, so she has some family that are still strays, but she also remembers getting the tar beat out of her. I think that she may hae recognized the "voice" of the other cat..or the pain. Your babies sound beautiful and caring too. That's why we love cats!
@ElicBxn (61135)
• United States
20 Aug 07
some of my cats - a "catnip" moment
Some are better than others. I love most of them, and the other ones I'm trying not to so I can find them new homes.
1 person likes this
• United States
20 Aug 07
How cute. the one in the lower left looks kind of like my Rainy girl. I guess she's a sort of typcial tabby though she has a lot of orange too.
@BlueAngelRS (2899)
• Canada
20 Aug 07
My cat is much the same way...He does not like other animals dogs or cats he hisses and tries to fight with them..He is an indoor cat as well he likes to go to the screen to get freshair but when he hears another cats he notes my attention right away...Also he lets me know when he is out of water or food...And follows me around bedtime to make sure I go to bed hehe...I think cats care as long as that other cat doesn't come into their home..
1 person likes this
• United States
21 Aug 07
I think that's it, Angel. She's good with other cats as long as they stay out f her space :) Everyone tells me she needs a playmate and that if I got a kitten she'd accept it right away, but I can't imagine getting a pet for my pet!
• Canada
21 Aug 07
I can't imangine that either but cats are pretty resiliant that way they get on by themselves just fine my kitty seems pretty happy he has a family to love him and care for him and play with him...He is pretty tolerant as I have a 15 month old who loves to chase him lol..
• United States
20 Aug 07
moonshadow, I agree with your theory that Rain has empathy for another animal. My cats do it all the time. I have two cats (brothers). When they hear a cat outside, they pay a lot of attention. Even when they hear a cat meowing on TV, they react. When one of the cats is choking up a furball (about the only time they don't feel good), the other always watches him. Now, I'll go one step further. One of my dear cats shows geniune concern when a human in the house is sick. He stays real quiet and just clings to the person. He's very sweet. He'll just sit or lay by you and keep looking at you and purring softly. He's just the sweetest thing ever.
1 person likes this
• United States
20 Aug 07
Rainy does the same thing. When I don't feel well, she'll lay close by to check on me. And if I have the blankets up too far, she'll use one paw to pull them down so she can see my face and ask (meow?) if I'm okay. She just refueses to share her toys and her people with other kitties.
• United States
19 Aug 07
Knowing Rain's history, I would suspect that either it was a sibling or that she recognized the sounds that the other cat was making as similar to some she (Rain) had made in the past. Maybe the same mean cat that had beat up Rain had gotten the one who was crying outside, too. I do think that cats have a lot more intelligence and longer memories than some people give them credit for. I'm pretty sure that Vlad preferred to play with Jerome rather than Jesi or I because he remembered that it was girls who overhandled his siblings--he thought that girls were not nice people.
• United States
19 Aug 07
that's my thoguht too...she remembered being the victim of things that beat up kitties and was off to the rescue. I read somewhere last week that cats are as smart as toddlers and have longer memories than chimpanzees and knowing Rainy, I believe it!
• United States
20 Aug 07
My second cat, Dubby shows empathy for certain animals, but not all. He is mostly the kind of cat who just wants to impress the ladies.
1 person likes this
• United States
21 Aug 07
This is her here - her name is MsPrissy
She does after she has killed the grasshopper, beatle, mouse, bird, or whatever she has victuously killed. Then she acts like she feels sorry for it, she brings it to, like mama is gonna fix it, like make it alive so she can start the whole process over again. She is a attack cat. She once has another kitty friend that used to come over and play. She is so mean that he stopped coming over, even though the food was good, haven't seen him in a while. She is a tree climber as well. So nothing is safe.