Had an interesting talk with my hikers today about animal psychology and my theory on why dogs and not cats are man’s best friend.
My hypothesis has to do with the fact that a cat’s heart rate is much higher than a humans’ (150-200bpm resting pulse vs. 60-70bpm for a human). Cats are a bit more high-strung-they operate on a higher frequency. Large cat trainers will tell you that you must always be “present” around cats. This keeps them relaxed.
It’s similar to walking a dog. When a dog is being walked and you give up your leadership position, either by letting the dog walk ahead or getting distracted by checking your phone, talking, etc., the dog loses respect for you and takes over leadership. A dog wants to know that the pack is safe and packs need their leader. A dog may get anxious if put into a leadership position when you ought to be leading, and will react by being “bad”: pulling you, wandering, etc., attacking other dogs. They are just nervous.
Cats always are on high alert. I think this may have to do with their heart rate. If you lose focus around a cat, the cat will perceive you as unstable/unpredictable, and therefore a threat. My cat is basically half feral so I think she is a great example of this instinctual behavior. The cat may seem to suddenly “out of nowhere” attack or do something unpredictable. Usually, this is just because you simply weren’t paying attention. You weren’t on their frequency. Rabbits and birds have even higher heart rates than cats, and this behavior is similarly exaggerated. Their nervous systems are simply running on a higher frequency.
Dogs, with a frequency close to humans (60-150bpm) probably fit us like a best friend because they are easier to predict. Higher strung/high energy breeds (like pit bulls) exhibit more quick-turn tendencies which may explain why they are the black sheep of the species.
We are comfortable with animals we can relate to :-)