As a cat owner, you would probably see yourself, though a human version, as its mother who feeds it, plays with it, and cleans it. However, according to Dr. John Bradshaw, an English biologist who has studied domesticated animal behavior for over 3 decades, in his new book Cat Sense, your cat shares quite a different sense of this pet-owner relationship. In fact, your cat sees you as a larger but non-hostile cat.
According to Bradshaw’s book, there are some interesting explanations for how cats behave when they are around humans. Since cats have always been bred for only one specific function—to look nice, they are thus less domesticated than the dogs breeds that are more willing to play around and help with family chores. Bradshaw’s book indicates that due to the fact that 85% of cats breed with feral tomcats, this species has, thus, remained relatively wild. The interactions between the cats and their owners are, in fact, driven more by pure instinct than by learned behavior.
As Bradshaw further explains, when your cat kneads your body or the surface of a bed, it’s a message that it wants milk; when your cat rubs against your leg or hand, it means that it is treating you as another cat (this is “the clearest way cats show their affection for us," said Bradshaw); and when your cat leaves dead rats around the house, it does not mean that it is trying to “feed" you but it’s trying to find a safe place to enjoy its kill.
So, the next time you call your cat"baby" or chide it for being naughty, just remember this: your cat thinks that you are merely a pleasant roommate that just appears to be freakishly large.