cat and owner relationship cat socialization

Buster’s Vision Education Tool

2 Things Every Cat Has Said to Its Guardian

“Don’t Tell Me What to Do, You’re Not My Real Mom.”

By Terry Ambrose, Writer & Ardent Animal Advocate

October 4, 2017

cat and owner relationship

Share this Post

Unlike dogs, who look at their primary guardian as a pack leader, cats think of their primary guardian as their mother.

See mother.

Cat and owner relationship

This article is about cat and owner relationship, and cat socialization.

After kittenhood, cats only meow to their guardians. They mark us as theirs by rubbing the scent glands in their faces on our legs. Like kittens stimulating their mother’s’ milk to flow, cats knead our laps and drool blissfully reexperiencing the safety and contentment they felt at their mother’s’ breast.

Like human children, our cats have a strong independent streak and a love of adventure. They delight in exploring the world around them.

With these thoughts in mind, it should come as no surprise that at least once in its lifetime every cat has told its guardian two things:

  • I can get out of here if I want,” and
  • “Don’t tell me what to do, you’re not my real mom.”
It’s in their nature. Cats dislike closed doors and they dislike being told what to do.

If you understand these two things, both you and your cat will be much happier.

It can be a closed door to her carrier, a closed window (small clear door in cat speak), a closed bathroom door, a closed kitchen cabinet door, or a closed front door. No matter, cats dislike them. If a cat encounters a closed door, she will either open the door herself or figure out a way to make you open it.

If you have ever attempted to convince your cat not to open a door or, worse yet, not to ask you to open the door, you have no doubt been told, “Don’t tell me what to do, you’re not my real mom.”


I learned these truths early on with my first cat, Buff. We had just moved into temporary quarters in a very large house in Germany. The owner lived downstairs and there was a private stairway between the two stories. Our apartment had these wonderful large German-style windows that opened inward from the top or inward from the side.

It was a sweltering day and there was no air-conditioning. Since the windows were 5 feet off the floor and opened from the top, and because I was young and stupid, I felt certain it would be safe to open them. There was no way Buff or Kitty (Buff’s younger, wiser sister) could escape from those windows.

I futzed around the kitchen and then put down the cats’ food.
Kitty came running but without Buff. “Strange,” I thought as I walked into the living room. I was just in time to see Buff’s tail disappearing out of the window! “Stop,” I ordered. Climbing onto the back of the sofa, I looked at the ground below. There she was, tail held high, admiring the landlord’s backyard as if it were her own. “Don’t you move,” I cried. I ran to the stairs that led from our kitchen to the backyard. The same stairs Buff took to make her escape.

I arrived in the yard in time to see her strut through the open back door of the landlord’s house!
“Buff, you come back here! Don’t you dare go in there!” I was whispering my commands because I didn’t speak a word of German and, in fact, had never met the landlord. How would I ever explain to her that my cat was in her house? I called out once more to Buff as she disappeared down the hallway, but not before she turned to look at me and said, “Don’t tell me what to do! You’re not my real mom.”
I crouched and tiptoed down the landlord’s hall and into what appeared to be the living room.
Buff was seated in the owner’s chair. “Come,” I begged as I moved toward her. She jumped away from me and onto the sofa. Just then I heard a door open and footsteps. I ran from the house and sat on the steps to gather my thoughts. Shortly, I felt Buff’s furry body rub against my leg. I glared at her for a moment. She looked at me. She slowly closed and then opened her eyes. That’s cat lanuage for “I love you.” As I carried her back up to our apartment, I said, “I love you too.”

The End!