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  #121  
Old 12-01-2013, 01:12 AM
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Egads, gross. Meika just got snot all over my keyboard, trackpad, and hands. Yeesh!

In other news, this revelation comes a shock to... no one who has ever lived with a cat:
Your Cat Really Doesn't Care What You Have To Say, Study Shows
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  #122  
Old 12-01-2013, 05:25 AM
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I always wondered why Rainee was sucha good listener ...
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  #123  
Old 12-01-2013, 06:43 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SchrodingersCat View Post
Egads, gross. Meika just got snot all over my keyboard, trackpad, and hands. Yeesh!

In other news, this revelation comes a shock to... no one who has ever lived with a cat:
Your Cat Really Doesn't Care What You Have To Say, Study Shows
I'd just like to point out that at best we are "guessing" at what really non-Humans think about any thing at all.~

So that could be "good" news: your "cat" could or could not actually care what you are talking about, even if the study applies to most "cats" is actually true, that doesn't mean "your cat" "doesn't care" what you have to say.~

Like I tell my mom, "I listen with my ears not my eyes." and I am often doing multiple things at once: listening with my ears, watching with my eyes some thing else, and feeling for what ever I am also doing at that moment.~

Just wanted to throw a little "hope" in there.~ ^_^

Also, I kind of have more respect for most "cats" because of the fact they haven't been bred to the degree to "obey" Humans as much as "dogs" have, yet they still treat you as a "friend" often.~

In my opinion, a creature (Human or not) that chooses be your "friend" when they "want" to yet still retain a large element of "independence" is really some thing to be appreciated.~

Love,

ColorsWolf
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  #124  
Old 12-02-2013, 09:54 PM
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Disclaimer: Whenever I seem to be hinting that I know how this or that non-human person thinks or feels, just assume that I still realize I don't really know, any more than I know whether I'm just a brain in a vat. We can make educated guesses. That's the best we can do.

Hey ColorsWolf, I like the point you were making that one cat is as probably as different/unique compared to all other cats as is one human different/unique compared to all other humans. Heck I think part of the fascination humans have for non-humans is the astonishing array of singular personalities each species presents.

The kids of a long-time friend of mine had (still have?) a bunch of hermit crabs as pets. I was told that the crabs would mostly stay hidden behind the couch and whatnot, but the human family got into the habit of leaving dinner out for the crabs before the humans turned in. Dinner (or was it just a nightcap?) was a large lump of peanut butter in a saucer.

Well nothing would happen til the lights were turned out. And then, in the darkness, you could hear the clickety noises of crabs migrating towards the grub from all directions. Then suddenly the clickety noises would stop, to be replaced with a noise suspiciously similar to "omnomnom." LOL! The crabs all arrived at the treat site at the same time.

Okay, that's not an "every crab is different" story, but it is a "crabs are full of interesting personality" story. Yes, crabs, even lowly crabs. Somehow they just knew that the peanut butter was waiting for them ... but were too shy to let the humans see them going for it. That story always makes me smile and perhaps chuckle a bit.

I admit I have a thing for cats, but honest injun I like dogs too. I know humans bred them to be friends to humans, but I can't help but be amazed at what awesome friends they often are.

And I agree that cats (by and large) are more independently-spirited than dogs, or at the very least that's what the feline rascals want us humans to think. Cats (as I learned from National Geo) are very subtle about the way they express affection and attachment. A cat walking by and coincidentally rubbing a fellow cat or human, without so much as glancing at the rubbed-on person, seems to be saying hardly a thing but actually in "cat talk" is making a very definite statement. Something on the order of: "I again accept and welcome you into my pride. We're friends, but don't tell anybody."

So maybe some (or lots of) cats really do care about what we're saying. Who knows? I know that my cat always seems to pay close attention to me when I'm talking to her. I can't tell if she understands a word I'm saying, but she looks me right in the eye and seems to be carefully analyzing my every word.

An odd difference between cats and dogs is that dogs seem to come in a considerably wider diversity of breeds. Oh sure there's considerable difference between certain cat breeds. There's your hairless Sphinxes (known for lavish curiosity even for cats -- they can really get themselves into pickles!). There's your Abyssinians (a small breed known for extra high intelligence; most are super hyper too -- and they're colored like cougars!). There's your Ocicats (known for giving/demanding lots of attention and affection -- and for their spotted coat!). There's Maine Coons which are great big fluffy guys. There's Balinese cats (some of whom have that jarring rat face!) There's Cornish Rexes (with their softy, curly, wet-looking coat). And so on.

But different dog breeds can differ to the extreme in terms of shape, size, coat, color, and personality. Consider the odd-looking Dachshund with it's tiny legs and long body. Consider the tiny Chihuahua compared to the huge Great Dane. And that's to say nothing of all the behavioral/professional specialties humans conjured up in various breeds. This or that breed will specialize in digging, or pointing, or barking, or herding -- even search and rescue. And compared to cats with their "somewhat" similar personalities, dogs have quite the range of personalities: very energetic thru very sedate, very compliant thru very naughty, very easygoing thru very finicky, etc.

I suppose we could say likewise about the many breeds of horse (though my Lady Hinge should be writing this paragraph). Some are built for speed, others for sheer power and muscle. Some are built to race, or jump, or do battle, or tricks (like fancy gaits), or to manage heavy loads, or just to train easy and accomodate their riders.

As you said, two non-human people of the same breed will differ from each other in looks and especially in personality.

My late wife was scared of horses. I think she might have fallen off of one as a kid in Oregon. Whatever the cause, she was determined never to ride a horse (and she was a stubborn woman, bless her soul because she talked a soft talk and was always kind and courteous). Well, in Y2K I think it was, I and a good fistful of relatives took a trip into the Wind Rivers. Due to our fatness and laziness, my older brother contrived to hire horses to carry our foolishly large store of food. In theory we wouldn't need the horses on the trip back out because the food would be gone. Well, in practice, it was, but that's only because we burned about 77% of it just before we left. What the heck was my brother thinking, packing a cheesecake for the camping trip? LOLOL ...

Anyway, my wife is a sllowww hiker, and my relatives much prefer a faster gait. So we contrived to try to talk my wife into riding one of the horses.

Obviously she didn't want to, but the people who owned the horses helped us talk her into it. They said, "Oh we've got the perfect horse for you. This horse has never had a rider who wasn't pleased with the ride."

I forget the horse's name, but he was a somewhat small fellow (as horses go), and had an interesting white coat that was riddled with small milk-chocolate spots. And he definitely had a unique personality. He was gentle as could be, and totally obliging to his rider's every wish and whim. My wife often got nervous while riding him and tugged on his reigns. He was infinitely patient and slowed down for her right away each time. By the time her ride to the campsite was complete, my wife had decided that this horse was okay after all.

So non-human people (like human people) are fascinating and amazing in their endless varieties and range of personalities. It's true of both domestic and wild animals.

Owning a pet, if one rationalizes keeping domesticated companions sufficiently to go through with it, is a huge responsibility, no less weighty than siring/bearing a child. You don't get to choose your child's traits and personality. You don't get to choose your child's strengths and weaknesses. You just implicitly promise to sacrifice sleep for the child's first few years, change an endless chain of fetid diapers, dress and train and feed, tell bedtime stories, visit doctors, teachers, and dentists, cheer the child on in soccor games and music recitals, struggle with the growing child's teen-age struggles, and perhaps the toughest job of all: free the child to go and be an independent adult.

Most humans fail to do that toughest of all jobs for their pets, but they're sure as heck expected to do all the other jobs and that's no small task. You can choose your breed (though you should obviously strongly consider adopting from a shelter), but if something about the non-human person's needs or personality is unusual, you have a responsibility to accept the non-human just as he/she is, meet those needs, and love that personality. You do have the option to adopt out yes, but if you're a responsible person you'll do so only as a last resort, only through a no-kill shelter or a very trusted relative or friend, and only with the best assurance possible that your charge will end up in a loving, nurturing home.

What's sad is that some pet owners don't take that responsibility seriously. They really do objectify their pets and think of them as toys or fancy decorations. That's a terrible thing to do to a pet. You don't force your pet to mold itself around your convenience. You mold yourself around the pet's needs. And as much as possible, you feel and show respect and honor for your pet. Affection too: however much your pet asks of you (if not more!).

After that, I know we end up back at the Mexican standoff known as our "Keep-Captive or Set-Free" debate. But I think we can all agree that if you do keep a pet, you'd better be implicitly agreeing that you'll treat your pet like royalty, be it a cat, dog, horse, hermit crab or whatever.
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  #125  
Old 12-02-2013, 10:08 PM
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P is a "bug guy" - he's kept various critters of the multi-legged variety over the course of the years. He's given my youngest daughter two tarantulas as pets (which she LOVES), and we have two scorpions as well. Safely locked in an enclosure (no need to put the kitties at risk).

What fascinates me (and still baffles me) about this is that, apparently, spiders are completely instinctively driven. Stimulus/response. No emotional responses at all.

He once kept black widows, all from the same brood, in a series of small containers. He would feed them at the same time (moving from one container to the next), and each spider would do EXACTLY the same thing to its prey at EXACTLY the same time. The ones who didn't - who would wrap the prey up oddly, or come at it from an odd angle, or not eat it right away - would be the ones who died sooner than the others.

Utterly fascinating and completely foreign to me to think of a critter only driven by instinct and not emotion/feelings/desires/etc.

There's obviously a lot more to it than that, but it's actually made those critters even more interesting to me than cats or dogs (which I can relate to on a "higher" level, I suppose).

I'll refrain from posting pics of THOSE critters, though, unless I'm asked. Just tossing out another "pet" that may not be quite so common.
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  #126  
Old 12-02-2013, 11:17 PM
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Yeah according to my one friend, his kids had all kinds of weird pets (when they were young at least). That is interesting that spiders seem to be so ... robot-like. I wonder, does Nature draw a specific line between which species will display emotions and varying personalities, and which species won't? She must, right? You can't be "halfway" pregnant, and you can't "halfway" have emotions or "halfway" have a subspecies personality. You just either do or you don't.

How about fish (e.g. goldfish), do they have emotional, distinct personalities? I think reptiles do. Not sure about amphibians.

One thing that blew me away was (on some show I watched eons ago) observing this parrot that had a huge volcabulary and an apparent *understanding* of the words he/she was saying, and which words were the most appropriate for which occasion! She-itt ... that parrot had better conversational social sense than I do.

And as for those crazy spiders: I can't live with 'em and I can't live without 'em. They scare the bejesus out of me and simultaneously tempt me to draw closer and get a better look. Interesting how different spiders are so specialized in different things. Some in running, some in traction, some in web design (heh), some in jumping, some in creeping steadily along ... and how about their crazy mating rituals, eh? not to mention interesting behavior such as Mommy wolf spider carrying the kids on her back. If a kid falls off, he/she runs straight back to Mommy and jumps on her back again.

There's some really weird/cool stuff that lives in the ocean too. But that would be a topic for our "Wildlife" thread.
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  #127  
Old 12-03-2013, 04:55 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by YouAreHere View Post
P is a "bug guy" - he's kept various critters of the multi-legged variety over the course of the years. He's given my youngest daughter two tarantulas as pets (which she LOVES), and we have two scorpions as well. Safely locked in an enclosure (no need to put the kitties at risk).

What fascinates me (and still baffles me) about this is that, apparently, spiders are completely instinctively driven. Stimulus/response. No emotional responses at all.

He once kept black widows, all from the same brood, in a series of small containers. He would feed them at the same time (moving from one container to the next), and each spider would do EXACTLY the same thing to its prey at EXACTLY the same time. The ones who didn't - who would wrap the prey up oddly, or come at it from an odd angle, or not eat it right away - would be the ones who died sooner than the others.

Utterly fascinating and completely foreign to me to think of a critter only driven by instinct and not emotion/feelings/desires/etc.

There's obviously a lot more to it than that, but it's actually made those critters even more interesting to me than cats or dogs (which I can relate to on a "higher" level, I suppose).

I'll refrain from posting pics of THOSE critters, though, unless I'm asked. Just tossing out another "pet" that may not be quite so common.
I just wanted to point out that just because it may not show in their actions that you or any one has observed doesn't mean that a particular creature isn't feeling emotion or isn't "driven" by emotion.~

After all, how many times have you asked people, "How are you feeling today?" and they responded, "I'm fine." and made no indication whether physically or not that they "weren't fine", but in actuality they may not feel so "fine" or even be feeling very horrible.~

I think many of us are so used to "action" when comes to emotions: crying, screaming, laughing, smiling, etc., but some times people (including non-Humans) don't always "express" their emotions and even if they do they may not "express" it in the way that we might think they would.~

And being "emotional" does not mean some one is going to do some thing we ourselves would approve of or not do some thing that we would not be willing to do ourselves.~

And Kevin, I think we've both by now determined that nothing is impossible and that emotions alone can be a very complex thing add in priorities, goals, and the will to survive just to name a few and we've got a big ball of wibbley-wobbley complexness.~
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Last edited by ColorsWolf; 12-03-2013 at 05:18 AM.
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  #128  
Old 12-03-2013, 05:48 AM
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Well ultimately, I suspect that we're all like spiders: a composite product of our genes and our environment (and how our genes, and memories from past environments, prod us to respond to our present environment). Uh-oh, I've been caught not believing in free will -- D'oh.

From this atheist's point of view, emotions are ultimately chemical animals, and so I suppose it's very possible a spider experiences the emotion we call "the thrill of the hunt" when capturing its prey, as well as "the satisfaction of knowing that lunch is at hand." These would be motivating emotions that would direct the spider's actions.

Anyway, the one thing we (think we) do know is that we don't really know anything; therefore everything we assert is just an educated guess.

Interesting follow-up questions:
  • Do plants have feelings?
  • Do planets have feelings?
I'll leave those riddles for others to ponder but may tackle the questions personally myself at some point.

Regards,
Kevin T.
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Last edited by kdt26417; 12-03-2013 at 05:55 AM.
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  #129  
Old 12-03-2013, 05:50 AM
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Originally Posted by kdt26417 View Post
How about fish (e.g. goldfish), do they have emotional, distinct personalities? I think reptiles do. Not sure about amphibians.
I once heard a story on CBC that has always stuck with me.

"A recent study has shown that rainbow trout are capable of experiencing fear. The study further reports that given the choice, the trout prefer not to to feel afraid."

No clue how they determined that, but I always giggle at the "prefer not to feel afraid" bit. Like, yeah, duh?

I can imagine emotions being only partially expressed. For example, some research shows that pleasure and aggression are produced in the "older" (evolutionary) parts of the brain, whereas "higher" emotions are produced in "newer" parts. So animals that have the older part but not the newer part may be capable of fear, pleasure, sexual excitement, etc., but not love, sadness, joy...

It might be interesting, also, to study emotional responses in humans with damage to certain regions of the brain. Do they lack emotions of which they were once capable? All of them or just some?

Anger is an interesting sensation. Some researchers have proposed that it does not exist as an emotion unto itself, but rather an intellectually stimulated response to analyzing events and behaviours in combination with "real" emotions such as fear or sadness. Likewise for depression, shame, and guilt. The idea is that these are not raw "emotions" but rather combinations of thought and emotion.
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  #130  
Old 12-03-2013, 06:38 AM
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Interesting info SC. Perhaps emotional range lies along a continuum; as a brain evolves to have new areas or lobes, it thusly gains new levels of emotional experience.

At least that's what I think.
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