Psychologist believes cats are mirror images of their owners

April 24, 1991|By Ellen Creager | Ellen Creager,Knight-Ridder

YOU'RE A person, and you have a cat. That's all there is to it, right?

Not according to cat psychologist Dr. Myrna Milani.

"Cats are four-legged, fur-covered mirror images of ourselves," she says. "The image a cat throws back is more complex than what Fido throws back. The cat represents that part of ourselves we have the most difficulty with, the enigmatic side of ourselves."

Milani probes the feline psyche and its mysterious yin and yang with humans; she's studied cat behavior for years.

She's written "The Body Language and Emotion of Cats" (Morrow, $17.95).

She says people with more than one cat -- 70 percent of the 54 million cat owners in the United States -- are most likely to see behavioral problems.

Milani, who also loves dogs, hates to compare their intelligence with cats.

"If I had to compare, I'd say that dogs are linear thinkers -- they go from A to B to C to D. You can pretty much see where their behavior is going and why. Cats are more analogical thinkers, and that's why it may appear to owners that cats' behavior is off the wall, when really it is perfectly logical if you are a cat."

The only cats she has seen who truly have psychological problems, Milani says, are kitten orphans who were raised from birth by humans.

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