Cat mirroring is a behavior that some cats may engage in, and it consists of cats copying the actions of other animals or people. Mirroring is often a sign of affection and isn’t usually a bad thing. However, it may become a negative behavior if it becomes disruptive.
This behavior is fairly normal in cats, but it can confuse new cat parents. Here’s what you need to know about cat mirroring and why cats may engage in this behavior.
What Is Cat Mirroring?
Cats can mirror animals and people in several different ways. Some cats may mirror actions and copy what others are doing. So, if you’re typing away on your laptop, your cat may mirror your behavior by sticking its paws on your keyboard. Your cat may also mirror your behavior when you play with them. It may copy your movements as a way to engage with you.
Another way that cats mirror people is by copying their routines. Cats may want to eat whenever their owners are eating and may rest or take naps at the same time as them.
Cats can also mirror our emotional behaviors and personalities. One study conducted in the UK revealed that cats and humans can influence each other’s behaviors and may even start to adopt certain personality traits. This study measured people’s personalities according to the Big Five Inventory (BFI) and compared them to their cats’ temperaments. The data revealed that cat owners that scored higher in Neuroticism tended to own cats with a “behavioral problem.”
Why Do Cats Mirror Others?
More research must be done to understand exactly why cats may mirror others. However, it’s a pretty common behavior that has even coined the term “copycat,” and several speculations exist for this behavior.
Kittens are known to mirror their mother’s behavior as a way to learn about their world and survive in it. So, if you have a young cat, it may mirror you because it wants to learn how to navigate its surroundings.
Some cats can be extremely social and may just want to spend as much time as possible with their humans. Cats can mirror by following the owners all around the house. Some vocal cats may engage in “conversations” with their owners by responding with meows whenever someone they like speaks to them.
Overall, cats mirror behaviors as a sign of affection and wanting to be with others. They can also mirror as a way to learn and navigate new situations.
Is Cat Mirroring a Behavioral Issue?
In most situations, cat mirroring signifies that your cat is bonded to you. So, you can take it as a compliment. However, there are some circumstances when mirroring can be a problem. For example, it can get disruptive if you’re trying to work and your cat keeps interrupting you.
Mirroring can also be an issue if cats are reflecting neurotic behaviors. So, if a cat exhibits challenging behaviors, it’s important to consider the owner’s actions and behaviors. The cat may be mimicking behaviors it’s observing from others.
It can be helpful to work with a reputable cat behaviorist if you find cat mirroring to be significantly disruptive or notice that it’s negatively affecting your cat’s emotional well-being. A good cat behaviorist will provide helpful information from an outsider’s perspective and help you develop an action plan to address any negative mirroring.
Cat mirroring indicates that a cat has bonded with someone else. Many times, it’s a sign of affection, but some negative causes trigger unhealthy mirroring. If your cat’s mirroring is ever disruptive or destructive, try working with a cat behaviorist to determine the cause and figure out a plan to properly address the behavior that benefits both you and your cat.