They’re solitary creatures by nature, their psychology unlike that of dogs, is not a simpler mirror of our own.
They have no guilt, and no shame, but are capable of altruistic behavior. They’re manipulative and mysterious and they walk in their own world. A dog is like a simpler version of a baby in many ways, a cat… is something strange.
I’m fond of most animals, cats and dogs and other pets and have a passing fondness for wild animals, but that fondness is a one that does not involve getting to close… I am happy to be neighbors and share a world with them, and my impulses towards them are usually benevolent more than neutral, but we are here to talk about cats, furry little aliens in our midst.
They’re intelligent like dogs, and the sole domesticated solitary predator (aside from various forms of predatory bird, and the domesticated foxes created by Russian scientists, ferrets and so on may be kept as pets, but have not been domesticated by selective breeding as cats have).
They are ours and not ours, we created them but they are psychologically different from us. Almost all animals domesticated by humans are social animals (goats, chickens, sheep, cattle, horses, dogs, camels, llamas, guinea pigs, donkeys, yaks, geese, pigeons, alpaca etc) and most are herbivorous or omnivorous (pigs are omnivores), cats are rather unique. We are social animals, cats are not. They are peculiar and psychologically strange because they are not like us, and not like most familiar domestic animals.
Their wanderings are their own, they kill for sport as well as for food, and they love us, but their love is so different from human love, so different from the more recognizable love of a dog that it might almost be best to give the emotion a different name “lurve” or something of the sort.
I like them for their otherness, for their inscrutability, for their independance. They remind me that we are not the center of the world, that minds completely unlike our own can exist, that creatures who’s thought processes and senses and emotions are so distinct from our own are.
This in particular is why I have no patience for the trivializing, cutesifying anthropomorphic impulse, sure they’re warm and fuzzy and kittens are cute, but what’s interesting about cats, what’s cool about cats is their unsentimentality and their psychology which would be at home in a Lovecraftian monster. They are inhuman and in many ways “monstrous” but they are our little monsters, monsters who historically protected our grain and shielded us from disease spreading vermin like rats