Science is constantly changing. Once upon a time, it was said that animals experience the same range of emotions that humans experience. This was determined by Coates in 1998. Over time, we’ve learned much more about pets and emotions.
Today we wanted to ask the question, “do pets have feelings?” Let’s dive into this topic to learn more about how pets think and feel. This will help each one of us be better pet owners, as we’ll start to understand how and what our pets feel.
Animals Know Who They Are
In most cases, animals walk around knowing who they are. They’re aware of who their friends are and who their enemies are. This is on a simpler scale than human beings, as animals don’t seem to look at life through the view of past, present, and future. They merely live in the present at all times.
As you watch animals from birth to adulthood, you’ll notice that not every animal in a litter acts the same. If you’ve ever had a litter of dogs or kittens then you know what we’re talking about. Sometimes a kitten is shy while the other is bold.
This is totally normal and shows us that pets do feel emotions at some level. They’re able to come into this world with anxiety, happiness, or confidence. You can see this in how they behave from the moment they come into your life.
While you can’t ask a pet how it’s feeling today and get a verbal response, you can notice a change in body language with your pet. This body language is how your pets communicate with you. You’ll see the wagging of a tail in a dog to mean they’re happy while cat tail wagging may mean they’re feeling spunky or upset.
Over time you start to learn the various signs of body language your pets have so that you can coincide it with how they’re feeling in the moment.
While there’s much debate about what feelings animals can have and if they’re conscious or not, the truth is that our pets do feel some sort of emotions. You can witness the feelings of your pet as you interact with them.
Your pet will show you when they’re happy and want to do something again. They will show you when they dislike a food by spitting it out and refusing to eat it. They will come to get snuggles when they sense you’re feeling down, which is part of being empathetic.
Pets truly are amazing animals on Earth, and it’s such a wonderful opportunity to raise pets in our lifetime.