By Devin O’Branagan
Anthropomorphism: Attributing human characteristics to an animal.
I write fiction that is often from the perspective of a dog or cat, and I revel in anthropomorphizing. It’s a lot of fun for me as the writer, and my readers enjoy my imaginative exploration of fur critters.
Recently, I decided to ask my friends on Twitter, Facebook, and my own writers’ forum to share with me their furbabies’ human-like behaviors. This is what they said:
– Kassie Busby––My cat likes kisses and when you won’t give him any he takes them. Literally grabs your face, pulls your face in, and then gives you kisses. Such a sweet boy.
– Lorri Griffin––I came home to a cow ear placed carefully on my pillow just like a mint in a fine hotel. I thought that was a sweet gesture from my dog, though a little gross!
– Susie Harrison Wells––Our Dachshund laid on her back and let my son put a diaper on her.
– Valorie Marks––When I was sick with the flu Tyler came in and put his paw on my back and patted it very gentle like and then he just kept his paw there until I was able to get up. Always amazed me with things like that.
– Lauren Vucinich––My furbaby didn’t leave my side 15 years ago when I had a major surgery! That was the best. I miss my June Bug.
– @CritterKin––My dog never missed a Knicks’ basketball game and would cheer along with me when they won.
– @picnf––My cat, long gone now, would touch my cheek with a paw while looking into my eyes.
– @DarklyDragon––My cat Isis tiptoes onto the bed when she thinks I’m asleep!
– @Lost_Cause44––My cat talks back to me! Does that count?
– @GreenEyedLilo––My cat Lily sometimes “hugs” people she likes and wants to “hold hands” with me.
– Angie Clark––My cat Tosca opens doors.
– Prudence Halliwell––Mine opened the kitchen window while we were out and someone burgled us! [Yikes! Puts a new spin on the concept of cat burglars… – Devin]
– Karen Wingert Mittan––You could be right in the middle of playtime with Mojo, but ask him if he wants a bath, and he will instantly drop his toy and look horrified.
– Krista Walsh––Kiri throws tantrums like a kid, which lead to screaming contests. Usually results in a lot of laughs on my side.
– Kelly Schatz––I found out this weekend that Jagger likes to play on children’s playground equipment. Especially the slides!
– Paula McGerr––Our cat Lucky used to use the toilet. He would balance on the seat and do his stuff. I was quite surprised the first time; still don’t know how he learned to do it. He was a rescue cat who lived to the ripe old age of 22.
– Shari King––If we go into a store, or visit vendors at a show, Tempo will find something he wants, and just look back and forth from me to the item he wants until I get it for him. Then he is so excited. It’s quite cute how he has me trained.
– Jenny Bolter––Years ago when my daughter was only about 10, my aunt’s dog Jedi knew she had a bad leg. Instead of just laying on her leg when he curled up with her, he gently moved it with his nose, careful not to put his weight on her it, then he’d curled up by her resting his head on her tummy. I thought that was the sweetest thing ever.
– Dean Manning––I have a very polite Shih Tzu. When Sassy gets her bacon treat in the morning, she will let out a couple of grunts. It sounds a lot like “thank you.”
Speaking of talkers, here is my own story: I had a puppy named Talisman (yes, just like Ms. Tali in my books). This Tali was a Red Merle with sky blue eyes. From the time she was born, I constantly said to her, “I love you. I love you.” When she grew up she would look at me with those all-too-human eyes and actually say, “I wuv you.” Really. It was astounding.
And speaking of love, @rebeca_monster responded to my question about her furbaby’s human-like behavior with one word: “Love.”
Yes, human or animal, we share the great capacity to love. Big, profoundly awesome, magnificent, miraculous love.
Copyright © 2013 – Devin O’Branagan – All Rights Reserved
Photo of Arlo by Connie Ceberek and used with permission.
Devin O’Branagan is a bestselling author who writes novels about uncommon heroes. Her genres include young adult urban fantasy, paranormal thrillers, comic mysteries, and fiction about dogs and cats. She is a member of the Dog Writers Association of America, and many of her writing projects support animal rescue. Her books have been published by Simon & Schuster’s Pocket Books in English, Heyne Verlag in German, and Dogan Egmont in Turkish. All of her books are available in both print and eBook formats. Visit her website at DevinWrites.com, and check her out on Facebook and Twitter.