General Question

janbb's avatar

What makes interspecies "friendship" videos so appealing?

Asked by janbb (57237points) January 24th, 2015

I’m not questioning that they are; I think most of us find that cat and dog, or owl and pussycat FB video irresistible. I just wonder what it is in us that responds so positively to them. Any thoughts?

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12 Answers

canidmajor's avatar

I have wondered this, and I think it may be the “delightful surprise” aspect. It catches us off guard, and in an increasingly “there’s nothing new under the sun” world, the video of a cockatoo tossing milkbones to the dogs, or the labrador nurturing the baby dwarf hippo just tickles our happy bones.

ucme's avatar

Maybe we’re conditioned into believing animals gravitate to their own species & this adds to the impact, unusual/quaint equates to attractive/cute.

zenvelo's avatar

It’s not the interspecies factor as much as it is the apparent “mortal enemies are friends” factor.

A dog and a horse aren’t much for me, the owl and the cat are interesting because one would expect a cat to try to capture and gut a bird, while one would expect an owl to attack with its talons.

ucme's avatar

^ Bit long at just over half an hour, but incredible stuff.

Coloma's avatar

I think a lot of the time it is some need for mothering or attachment.
I put up the picture in my avatar, temporarily tonight, to share my gooses “Sonora” odd attachment to my old neighbors sheep. haha
They spent hours hanging out together at the fence and Sonora would follow the sheep all the way up the fence line on my road if I left my gate open. The sheep was kind of an outcast from her flock and my goose didn’t have a mate, he lived with his buddy Marwyn another gander.

I think these two had a strange mating type attachment. They were inseparable for several years until I moved. Now Sonora has a big gray lady goose that he is madly in love with. :-)

janbb's avatar

Very cute picture @Coloma. The question is about why we are attracted to these videos and stories, though, not why the animals are attracted to each other.

Coloma's avatar

@janbb I JUST caught that, missed the word “video”.. Oh well…easy, because we all love cute animals of all kinds and we like to project human emotions on them. :-)

chyna's avatar

They make me laugh or smile. It’s so nice to see something besides bad news or horrific videos.

JLeslie's avatar

As far as cats and dogs, I was taught they are natural enemies (I have no idea if that is really true) so seeing them happy together is like the Israelis and Palestinians finding a bond. There can be peace in the world.

Also, I think any friendship or display if caring warms our heart. When an animal cares for it’s own babies or others in the group it’s sweet. When they do it for other animals we know for sure it is not a baby or mate if that animal, so it shows an outreach to care for one that is not their own. I guess caring for our own can be dismissed as instinct (although, it’s still very nice to see animals caring for their own babies, siblings, and other members if the group) while caring for a different kind of animal shows more than instinct, it shows a higher level of emotion.

tinyfaery's avatar

Because it’s cute as fuck. And unexpected.

dappled_leaves's avatar

@JLeslie “As far as cats and dogs, I was taught they are natural enemies (I have no idea if that is really true) so seeing them happy together is like the Israelis and Palestinians finding a bond. There can be peace in the world.”

It’s kind of funny that you should say this, because I have a (vegan, of course) friend who will occasionally post these kinds of “predator and prey are cute friends!” videos, and rather than make me happy, they invariably make me sad.

A lion is only a lion because it has had to become good at killing gazelles. And a gazelle is only a gazelle because it has had to become good at running in fear from lions. Seeing the two of them be cuddly together is like a brief glimpse at two freaks of nature, before they are bestowed Darwin Awards.

It’s not a sign that there can be peace in the human world. Their world is nothing like the human world.

JLeslie's avatar

@dappled Domesticated cats and dogs have no reason to be enemies assuming they are both well fed and cared for.

In the wild, I doubt animals that are usually predator and prey for each other ever do the inter-species cuddle and nurture thing.

The domesticated animals represent that if everyone has their basic needs of food, shelter, water, and basic freedoms, including fairness, met they don’t need to be aggressive with each other.

I’m just waiting for the “Messianic era” when there is peace in the world. We can hope.

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