How Animals Manage Behavior: Cat Uses the “Wrong” End to Attack

Did you know animals are masters at behavior management?

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The black and white cat has clearly forgotten how to cat. Or has it?

Actually, this really smart cat is defusing a potentially aggressive situation by making it very difficult for its opponent to fight.

You can see the orange cat trying to offer fighting behaviors: it tries to close face-to-face, rise up on its hind legs, and swat with its front paws — and the other cat’s movements simply do not mesh with the orange cat’s fighting moves.

Generally, cats fight each other front-end-on. All their weapons (claws and teeth) are oriented forward and it makes sense for them to face that way when being aggressive. So has the black and white cat forgotten which end is which?

This cat is, very intentionally, not exhibiting fighting behavior. It is deliberately not engaging the orange cat in a fight — never turning head-on, never offering a paw — but is still managing to move the orange cat out of the way, because it is not fighting in such an in-your-face way that the orange cat can’t ignore the behavior. Look at that savvy! There’s no aggression to encourage the orange cat to escalate the fight, but there’s no backing down, either, and eventually the puzzled orange cat moves away on its own.

Animals are completely capable of not only managing their own behavior, but the behavior of others, too! Did you know that dogs engage in similar behavior? Have you ever seen your pet do something like this?