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Thread: do animals/pets understand the concept of "accidental"?

  1. #1
    SCSI Dude Faust's Avatar
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    Apr 2000
    Huntington Beach, CA

    do animals/pets understand the concept of "accidental"?

    i have often wondered about this.

    i was walking though the hallway in the dark and accidentally kicked one of the two cats we have (i knew which one it was - the small female - because the other cat is ~23lbs and i would have felt his heft). i immediately turned on the light and walked over to "apologise" to her (pettin' her with a soft hand and the like for a moment). she seemed to be either......

    a) quickly forget about it in light of the sudden provision of attention/love.

    - or -

    b) understand that is was an accident and then resort to thought pattern "a)".

    what do you guys think?...... very short memory/easily dismissed memory, or understanding of what an "accident" is?

  2. #2
    SG Enthusiast Think's Avatar
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    Sep 2001
    Depending on the force, the cat resolved the intervention as a playful intention. Do it a little harder and I don't think she'll forget.

    PS Don't try this at home
    got old

  3. #3
    R.I.P. 2017-10-02 Joint Chiefs of Staff's Avatar
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    Mar 2001
    The Sandbox
    We have a landing at the bottom of our stairs. For the first six months we had our two cats they would boot it down the steps to play with our shoe laces as we would try and tie our shoes/boots etc. This was cute for the first little while until both cats got pretty ticked off if you try an move them away.

    So, I (not my wife) decided it was annoying since guest had problems putting on their shoes too. I decided to nudge them left or right with my foot, just moving them to one side or the other. They thought that was fun, a game. Then one night we came home from a show and the chandler above the landing wasn't working (blown fuse) and we couldn't see entering the house. Guess who we stepped on coming in. Both cats. It was a sin. The cats were screaching and crying like they were being murdered as my wife and I tried not falling on each other.

    Needless to say we made up with them 10 minutes later with some tuna fish. They wait at the top of the landing for us now. They still play with the shoe laces but if my wife or I make our way down the stairs they high tail up to the top just as fast as they can.
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  4. #4
    Second Most EVIL YARDofSTUF's Avatar
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    Nov 2000
    my cat is black, so u kinda gotta learn how to walk to ntot kill, my mom is the only retard that manages to step on her paws, but my mom is stupid so i understand.

  5. #5
    Advanced Member christine186's Avatar
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    Jan 2002
    Cats have great memories and they can feel your emotions so your cat forgave you and will one day get you back with a nice swat of a paw. One of my cats tossed a dodo from the litter box at my mom one day because she wouldn't feed her liver. That was funny.

  6. #6
    R.I.P. 2018-07-16 RoundEye's Avatar
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    Jul 2000
    In a dry but moldy New Orleans, Louisiana
    My cat likes to get underfoot a lot. He stays outside most of the day, but at night he wants in big time. When we come home, he makes sure that he is the first one in the door. He's been kicked a few times because of this, doesn't seem to mind, because he always comes running we he hears the car.

    I've also sat on him quite a few times, one of his favorite place to sleep is on or under my computer chair. Once I get up it's just a matter of seconds before he jumps on my chair. Which has caused him to get squished by my ass when I sit down without looking first. Poor cat.

    He seems to always come back for more, and will get in my lap any time I let him. So he must realize it's just an accident, or he's just a sadomasocat.
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  7. #7
    R.I.P. 2015-05-13 minir's Avatar
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    Aug 2000
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    Hi Faust

    As funny as it may sound, i do believe Cats have a memory and do understand forgiveness.

    My Son was married with 2 kids and His then Wife wanted a Cat. The Family enjoyed the Cat, but not my Son.

    He was constantly calling it names and booting it out of the way if it tried getting near Him. Not hard, but enough it knew it wasn't wanted.

    Well something further must have happened somewhere along the way as the Cat started to quest revenge.

    Like most Homes the landing by the rear door is the collection point for Shoes, boots for the Family.

    Out of all the Shoes there, only my Sons were ever bothered.

    It didn't matter what shoes He wore, Nor if in fact they where boots, they became the target for the day.

    According to His X wife ( they divorced ) the Cat would rush to the landing every time my Son went there in the morning and sit with a smile on his face (She thought it smiled) then run like hell and hide when the @#$^#$@& hit the Fan.

    The Cat would suss out my Son's Shoes and piss in them.

    Every Day.

    The Family thought it hilarious, not so my Son.

    He chased that damn Cat a million times but was never able to catch him in an unguarded moment.

    He wouldn't accept food from him, nor go near him.

    It went that way with My Son hiding his shoes at night etc. but sooner or later he'd forget and the damn Cat would be on them in a flash.

    Well the Cat relocated with the Family after the Divorce where he still resides, by the way.

    He's never done it again after they split up.

    My X Daughter in Law phoned me one day awhile back killing herself laughing.

    When finally under control She told me my son had come to Her house to pick up the Kids for a Visit and had a coffee with Her before leaving.

    When He and the Kids got ready to leave, You Got It, the Cat had struck again.

    This after a seperation of over 3 years.

    So yep! i believe. hahahaha



  8. #8
    mikemean's Avatar
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    Nov 2000
    I believe they would understand it was an accident if you quickly cuddled them and said you were sorry. I have always talked to my animals as if they understood me. If you didn't make up after accidentally hurting them , then they may think they are not wanted. So my advice is: If you hurt or step on your pet accidentally, make up and appologize right away.

  9. #9
    Senior Member grundy's Avatar
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    Dec 2000
    I think that animals are pretty in tune with people's emotional state. They can tell if you are angry, and they know the difference between being attacked in anger, and being kicked by accident.

    however, some learn that if they ham it up after an "accident" they will get some special treats

  10. #10
    Dr Tweak mnosteele52's Avatar
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    Jul 2001
    Chesapeake, VA
    I know they understand if you apologize, I have 2 dogs, a Dalmatian and a Rhodesian Ridgeback and they are my kids. I speak to them like people and I know they understand ALOT of what I say, I tell them to do something and they do it - they know.

  11. #11
    Disciple of Doom SeedOfChaos's Avatar
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    Apr 2000
    Comfortably Numb
    Yes, I believe cats are fairly intelligent beings, and I think they can make the distinction between intention and accident.

    Looking at it from a cats perspective, humans are pretty damn clumsy. Cats see that every day. Cats know if another being is a cat, a dog, or a human, and it does change it's behavior accordingly. Most cats will shun dogs, at least if they haven't learned to live with them and vice versa.

    Also, when you "punish" a cat, you usually blow in their face or something but not hit her or step on her. Plus, usually cats (who are very empathetic to humans...) realize when you "mean to get them", probably even before you do. Ever tried to get a cat to the vette? Ours was horrible, she ALWAYS knew what we were up to, and she HATED cages... I remember her going rampant in the car, and breaking loose while we were driving *LOL*.

    But anyhow, yes, I think cats can make the distinction. Your cat know that you didn't mean to harm her, as you made your real intentions clear right away. When you're truly pissed at your cat, you do not talk to her like that or pet her. Oh, and at least our cat was VERY forgiving .


  12. #12
    resident Humboldt's Avatar
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    Oct 2000
    Northern CA
    OK, there are cats...then there are intelligent creatures such as DOGS

    My dogs understand accidental, as far as I can tell of course. I've booted them and poked them in the eye and sat on them and stepped on their feet and talis...all accidentally. They react, then look to me as if to see what it was they did wrong that they're being punished for.

    Once I give them a bit of pats and attention and say "I'm sorry" then they seem to forgive completely. What else, they're dogs.

  13. #13
    Senior Member XSeaNX's Avatar
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    Feb 2002
    Someplace warm, cold and uninviting...
    Originally posted by YARDofSTUF
    but my mom is stupid so i understand.

    thats definately going in my sig dogs know when they do something wrong, and get hit ( I dont beat my dogs ofcourse) or if we accidentally step on a tail or kick them cause they are in the way and we dont see them.

    when its an accident they kinda look at you like "wtf did I do?" then once you say Im sorry they wag their tails and come up to be petted....weird...

    Im sure the dogs understand...otherwise everyones pets would hate them.
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    Originally posted by YARDofSTUF
    this dude needs some pimpish SG title lol

  14. #14
    Moderator Roody's Avatar
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    Nov 2000
    Central Florida
    I would agree that cats are pretty smart regarding those kind of things. i would imagine they can interpret the intent of your actions based upon your response even if they don't actually understand your words.

  15. #15
    Imperial Impotentate brembo's Avatar
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    Mar 2001
    My dog knows when I'm angry with her, and won't come near me, she knows she'll get her nose boxed. But if I step on her tail, or paw, she squals and gets as close to me as possible, cuz I rub her and apologize. I once put down the leg bit on a Laz-Z-boy on her leg, oh geez the scream she let out, and she immediatly jumped in my lap and curled up, she knew I meant no harm.


    She will intentionaly do naughty things when I "ignore" her. If she's being a brat and wants out because I'm being boring, she'll go grab a sock, or a shirt and shake the piss out of it, something she knows is a big no-no, just to make me get up. Funny animal.
    Tao_Jones Cult Member since 2004
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