How Animals See Themselves

How do you know what you look like?

Without mirrors or photographs, you might have a completely different impression of your appearance.

I enjoy hearing how animals describe themselves. A small cat described herself as a panther. A full-grown German shepherd thought himself a lap dog.

One day I talked to a cat called Charley who has cerebellar hypoplasia. He was very happy and we had a nice conversation. Then his human explained that Charley walked funny because of his disease. Charley didn’t think he walked funny. So I went to the YouTube video she had made of him, and I found that he does walk funny—skillfully and effectively, but not like an able-bodied cat.

His human had made the video to spread awareness of the disease, and she was really proud of him, and wanted him to know that he was inspiring humans to keep cats like him instead of putting them down.

So I showed him (in my head, the way I talk to animals) the video.

He was most offended. He said that was not him on the video, and that he did not walk that way.

I apologized and told him he was right, and that I had made a mistake. After all, who am I to change his self-image?

It’s a cute video, though. You can watch it here.

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