Richard G. Petty, MD

The Canine Gandhi: Cats, Dogs and Interspecies Communication

“Thousands of years ago, cats were worshipped as gods. 
Cats have never forgotten this.”
–Unknown Author

I need to tell you about something remarkable, that, if you think about it, has amazing implications.

We have a new little kitten. An eight-week-old little girl, and already a brave explorer who wants to play with everyone. Interestingly, she is already strongly right-handed. (Yes there is clear evidence of handedness in most mammals, and even some fish. But in cats, dogs and horses it’s not always clear until they are a little older than this.)

The other cats are not best pleased by this turn of events. After all this is their house, even if they do have to put up with the occasional human and a large mobile rug called Shannon. Shannon is an enormous dog of questionable pedigree but extremely calm disposition, who just hates any kind of noise or commotion: she is the original gentle giant.

The humans in the house are tolerated only because they are the suppliers of food, treats and comfy laps.

After all, as an unknown author once pointed out,
“Dogs have owners. Cats have staff.”

Little kitten thought that with Shannon fast asleep on the floor, it would be fun to play with another cat called Hannah. Now Hannah’s an older and very dominant cat who survived in the wild for a year. She didn’t take kindly to the small ball of fluff skipping toward her. Little kitten did not have the wit to understand that Hannah’s taut, crouched posture and narrowed eyes were not an invitation to a game, but preparation for the pounce that would quickly generate a kitten-shaped snack. We were about to intervene when something remarkable happened.

Shannon, who had been busily stacking ZZZZZs, got up shambled forward and put her enormous head between cat and kitten. No sound was made. She didn’t look at either of the protagonists. She was just like a great big bouncer getting between a couple of drunks in a bar.

She just stood there, unmoving and implacable. Like the Black Knight in Monty Python and the Holy Grail, "You shall not pass!"

After a few moments the kitten realized that there’d be no way through, and went off in search of one of her toys. And Hannah cat saw that kitten tartar was off the menu. She slunk off to go and groom herself.

With which Shannon went back to her spot, lay down and promptly fell asleep again. She was soon back to a dream that involved a lot of running.

There can be absolutely no doubt about Shannon’s intent. She wanted to keep the peace, and she woke from sleep to do so. It’s not the first time that she’s protected the cats from harm.

Late at night a couple of weeks ago, we couldn’t get her to come in the house. She kept running back outside and growling. Very odd for a sweet natured creature who normally always comes running when called. It was only when I went outside for a third time that I realized that I’d been a bit slow. A few feet away was a large feral cat that we’d not seen before. He had Hannah cornered against a pillar and Shannon was trying to protect Hannah and chase the away the interloper.

As soon as the dumb humans got out of the way, Shannon saw the gatecrasher off the premises and escorted Hannah back into the house.

These can’t be unique examples of inter-species communication. Do you have either anecdotes or research to share?

“Always remember, a cat looks down on man, a dog looks up to man, but a pig will look man right in the eye and see his equal.”
–Sir Winston Churchill (English Statesman, British Prime Minister, 1940-1945 and 1951-1955, and, in 1953, Winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature, 1874-1965)

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About Richard G. Petty, MD
Dr. Richard G. Petty, MD is a world-renowned authority on the brain, and his revolutionary work on human energy systems has been acclaimed around the globe. He is also an accredited specialist in internal and metabolic medicine, endocrinology, psychiatry, acupuncture and homeopathy. He has been an innovator and leader of the human potential movement for over thirty years and is also an active researcher, teacher, writer, professional speaker and broadcaster. He is the author of five books, including the groundbreaking and best selling CD series Healing, Meaning and Purpose. He has taught in over 45 countries and 48 states in the last ten years, but spends as much time as possible on his horse farm in Georgia.


3 Responses to “The Canine Gandhi: Cats, Dogs and Interspecies Communication”
  1. William Croft says:

    Hi Richard, found your site via a review on Amazon of Laszlo’s recent book. I see you have Sheldrake’s site at left, so you’ve probably read “Dogs That Know When Their Owners Are Coming Home And Other Unexplained Powers of Animals: An Investigation”. But that seems most relevant to your question.

  2. Richard Petty says:

    Dear William,
    Thank you for taking the time to write.
    I like Rupert’s work very much, and I’ve spent some happy hours chatting to him about his ideas.
    And you are quite right, there are some extraordinary reports of amazing animal behaviors. Though I don’t remember anything quite like this.
    You have prompted me to send Rupert a note about our observations and ask what he has in his extensive files.
    Kind regards,

  3. Jim Pfrommer says:

    Gosh, I’m sure I left a fairly long and somewhat rambling reply to this last night. I am unable to recall any good examples of interspecies mediation. I’ve read most all the books and even submitted on my web page for anecdotal observations.
    An example where it appeared as if my mule was about engage such behavior, could more simply be explained on a terratorial protectiveness sort of a schema.

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