Do cats have a sense of humor? The question of animal emotions is one that behavioral scientists have attempted to answer for some time. However, any cat owner can tell you that yes, cats experience emotion, and yes, many of them have a well-developed sense of humor. Skeptics may call this anthropomorphism, or the attribution of human characteristics to animals, but I know better.
Why, you ask? Because I have had the privilege of living with these furry comedians all my life. From dry, sarcastic wits, to gross-out comics, to slapstick jokesters, I’ve seen it all.
Nevil, as you might assume from his name, was a very serious cat. Yet he did not lack a sense of cat humor. His favorite joke involved a loose screen in the basement window of my sister’s bedroom. As we regularly allowed Nevil access to the world beyond, no one would think it unusual to find him waiting outside the front door—at least not the first time. When it happened again five minutes later, we’d laugh it off as déjà vu. When a few minutes passed and he was there yet again, it would finally dawn that something was up.
Putters’ sense of humor was of the gross-out variety. Maybe he had intestinal issues—I prefer to think of his horrendous gas as a well-played joke, especially when he’d let it rip near my pillow in the dark of night. He also preferred to deposit hairballs in locations where they’d have the best effect, like the top stair, or your book report.
Calvin, Norman, Jezebel, Gabby and Tegan have each displayed their own unique sense of humor as well. And while they sometimes laugh with me, I think they more often laugh at me.
How about your cats—what kind of jokes do they play? Do you think they have a sense of humor? I’d love to hear your tales in the comments!