Do you think animals have feelings?

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j_k
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27 Mar 2024, 9:57 am

I was scrolling through a discussion board yesterday, and someone put it out there as a point of fact that animals don't have feelings. For context, the thread was on a vegan discussion, and this isn't to dissuade anyone from changing their diets. There is still a natural order, and I get it (I don't think you hate animals or anything like that).

I actually feel like animals are easier to read emotionally (maybe emotionally isn't the eight word?). They generally don't mask or try to hide their feelings or their intentions. If they want affection, they let you know. I'd they don't, they let you know. Hunger? Playtime? Potty? They have a way of communicating. Feral animals, much more independent, are not looking for the attention that pets are, so, eh, often when you see them they're just working on surviving.. But, by observation, you can tell they have feelings.

For a bit of anecdotal evidence, I remember growing up, we had a cat that was pretty acrobatic. One day, I was sitting in the front room, just eating my pot pie. He had jumped to the top of this grandfather clock, and from there tried to jump onto the blade of a ceiling fan. Underneath the ceiling fan was a table full of ceramics. It was a wreck. He broke the fan, a bunch of glass, and, I would say his pride.i didn't have much a reaction, because the whole scene seemed so ridiculous. But even before my parents got home, he just went to his spot in the back of the house and hid. Nothing seemed physically wrong with him (no wounds, no limping).... it really seemed like he felt shame or embarrassment.

I don't know. Anyone have any thoughts on this type of thing?


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Aspinator
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27 Mar 2024, 10:18 am

I personally feel they do. On PBS a few years ago there was a man out west who was accepted as part of the herd of mule deer. His sole interest began as wanting to photograph them only. I guess they saw he was no threat to them and as long as he remained a certain distance from them the mule deer ignored him. As a result he was able to observe their behavior. A behavior I remember was a momma mule deer and she had a buck for a son. The buck was shot and the momma grieved that he was gone. She wouldn't eat and walked around bellowing. He also noticed this behavior in others as well. He finally had to stop as he was becoming traumatized by their behavior.



DazyDaisy
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27 Mar 2024, 10:26 am

As far as I am concerned animals have both feelings and a soul. They can express love and affection, fear, anger, sadnesses, happiness, silliness, even jealousy, curiosity, depression and anxiety, etc. Pretty much the same range of main emotions like human beings. And as for soul it is only Christianity that claims that animals don't have a soul..( I don't know about other religions), but if they don't what are they than? They are not robots. They are living creatures, so they must have a soul (to my mind)..

I also have cats and I think they are not aware that breaking things and making mess is a bad thing, they won't feel shame or embarassement. They will be only scared if the mess they made was noisy or if someone shouts at them. I have learned that there's no point of shouting at them, they'll have tantrums if they don't get what they want, it's usually something to eat or they want to get outside or in another room. So it is not just that they have feelings, they have also a character and a temper. My three cats even have different characters, actually personalities.


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Last edited by DazyDaisy on 27 Mar 2024, 11:23 am, edited 2 times in total.

blitzkrieg
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27 Mar 2024, 10:27 am

Animals absolutely do have feelings.

The parts of the brain responsible for emotion are there in some animals, and the biggest 'upgrade' for humans is their thinking power, although that might make emotions for humans, more complex, too.



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27 Mar 2024, 10:31 am

I don't understand the specific meaning of “feeling” in this thread.

If it's the ability to tell pain, they must have it.
If it is the ability of social cooperation, they have.
If its to understand the meaning of goodness and justice and use them to guide their behavior, I don't think they have the ability to do so.

All they can do is identify acquaintances and ingratiate.The trick is learned only because the owner will be happy, and they can't think further.


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27 Mar 2024, 11:33 am

Yeah because dogs wag their tails when they're happy


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27 Mar 2024, 12:24 pm

Another story that illustrates this point: I have 2 dogs; one is a large dog (75-85 lbs) and one is a young dog; when this happened she was a puppy (she was probably 5 lbs) The young dog was acting like a puppy; she was playing and tormenting him by latching on to his tail; then she would bite his leg. When the older dog (he's very laid back) would walk away from her she would bite his ear. She would then chase him through the house. The large male came to me and looked at me pleadingly (he was concerned for my feelings as he knew I was against correcting a puppy) I told him "do what you have got to do" The older dog then walked into the den and I heard a startled yelp from the puppy and she stopped bugging him. Evidently the older dog had given the puppy a little nip communicating that he didn't want to play anymore . I feel this illustrated he was concerned for my feelings and the puppy's feelings as well.



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27 Mar 2024, 1:11 pm

All animals feel joy, sadness, anger, and fear just like we do.


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DazyDaisy
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27 Mar 2024, 1:29 pm

Aspinator wrote:
Another story that illustrates this point: I have 2 dogs; one is a large dog (75-85 lbs) and one is a young dog; when this happened she was a puppy (she was probably 5 lbs) The young dog was acting like a puppy; she was playing and tormenting him by latching on to his tail; then she would bite his leg. When the older dog (he's very laid back) would walk away from her she would bite his ear. She would then chase him through the house. The large male came to me and looked at me pleadingly (he was concerned for my feelings as he knew I was against correcting a puppy) I told him "do what you have got to do" The older dog then walked into the den and I heard a startled yelp from the puppy and she stopped bugging him. Evidently the older dog had given the puppy a little nip communicating that he didn't want to play anymore . I feel this illustrated he was concerned for my feelings and the puppy's feelings as well.


^^^ Amazing and cute :). That illustrates they are not only having feelings, they are smart, too. And interesting things about dogs, especially when they are in a group, just like cats they have strict hierarchy and realize quickly who are Alpha males and females and who to obey to. My oldest cat was always a boss and requested to have a priviledged napping place that was always on the highest spot - it was on the top of my sofa pillows. Now when he's old and weak he wants to sleep on the floor only.

17 years ago I also have had a dog, an old abandoned dog who used to live with a family with a kid that was maybe four years old when they moved and left her behind. One day, I was walking her and she suddenly stopped, raised her ears and run away toward some 18 years old guy who was standing some 300m away. She was barking like a crazy and jumping all over that guy. When I came closer I recognized once four years old kid in him, that my dog didn't see for 14 years. I was aftraid that she might refuse to leave him or that he came to pick her up. But no, she just wanted to say "Hi!", played with him for a few minutes and then came back to me.


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27 Mar 2024, 1:46 pm

Yes.


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j_k
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27 Mar 2024, 1:50 pm

I sort of wish there was a "like" button for posts. I like your responses.


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27 Mar 2024, 4:14 pm

There is no question that animals (at least animals with brains) have feelings, but I think it's dangerous to assume their feelings are always the same as ours. Even animals that are biologically relatively close to humans evolved in very different situations and their brains work differently from ours. Does your pet love you? Yes, but probably not in the same way you love them. For example, by human laws cats are our property, but by cat laws we are their property, because we are covered in their scent. Every animal thinks about the world in a completely different way.
In fact, maybe it's not that different from autistic people vs. NTs. We all experience the same things and feel something, but it's not always the same thing or even a feeling another person can understand.


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27 Mar 2024, 5:46 pm

I know that animals have feelings and emotions. Animals are Sweet Peas. How could they not have feelings and emotions?


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27 Mar 2024, 5:48 pm

Homo sapiens are animals, and we have feelings.


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j_k
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27 Mar 2024, 6:10 pm

utterly absurd wrote:
In fact, maybe it's not that different from autistic people vs. NTs. We all experience the same things and feel something, but it's not always the same thing or even a feeling another person can understand.


100% agree. And I feel like there loads of things autistics,/ND's do to show others how we feel, even when we don't, or can't, vocalize them.


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27 Mar 2024, 6:21 pm

LOVE :heart:

When I met my bride she had two cats, one of whom disappeared whenever she had guests. (Actually, she said that cat even hid from her for more than a month.)

The first person she saw that cat immediately be interested in was a guy who hated cats; perhaps cats have a perverse sense of humor? The second person that cat immediately showed interest in was me; she clearly liked me!; I'm certain that endorsement spoke well about me to my future bride.

When we married my bride and two cats moved in with me. And that cat followed me around like a clingy girlfriend. She couldn't keep her paws off me. She was clearly in love with me...and I reciprocated. We were in love! :heart:

Which annoyed my bride. Her cat had abandoned her for me. (Though the cat retained her as a servant.)

EMBARRASSMENT :oops:

Those two cats were older cats and were long-hair. That meant a lot of throwing up.

One day while I was at work my bride called me to tell me she had gotten the cats "Lion Cuts" and they were acting embarrassed. She was going to be away from home when I got back from work so she told that when I got home I should not laugh at them.

When I got home both cats were acting very self-conscious and embarrassed. I did not laugh. I told them they looked great and petted them, a lot. And while I was petting them I kept telling them how wonderful it felt.

They liked the attention and chilled out. Afterwards they liked getting their Lion Cuts...as in, rubbing up against the electric clipper at the groomers when they were getting the cuts. :)


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