I heard an interview on Teri Gross's "Fresh Air" on NPR a short time ago with Temple Grandin about her book Animals Make Us Human: Creating the Best Life for Animals. She discusses dealing with dogs, cats, chickens, pigs and cattle. We are happy to be petless now, but this was pretty fascinating stuff.
Grandin, autistic herself, makes the case that animals see and deal with the world more like autistic people do. You may enjoy reading just the chapters on dogs and cats -or one or the other, but then, her work with the livestock industry is also very interesting.
Here is a link to the Teri Gross interview
Also a link to another interview
A childhood example from her chapter on how cats are essentially OCD:
"The whole dishwasher tray pulled out like a big drawer the way a trash compactor pulls out. Someone had left the dishwasher drawer pulled all the way out, and Bee Lee (the family tomcat) went through the sink cabinet and crawled all the way up under the drawer. Then he just kept trying to go forward to get out into the kitchen even though the space between the floor and the decorative panel at the bottom of the dishwasher was only about an inch high. His paws were sticking out and he was yowling because he couldn't get the rest of his body out.
His SEEKING emotion made him go under the dishwasher to explore the environment. But when he reached the front of the dishwasher, he couldn't put himself in reverse. The sight of the kitchen floor up ahead was "pulling" him forward.
1 had to slowly push the drawer in all the way to make him back up to the wall. Once I pushed him most of the way back to the wall he went back under the sink cabinet and got out.
I wouldn't be surprised to learn that a lot of elimination disorders have OCD-like qualities."
This was a short, informative book which I enjoyed. I relate to animals much better now. --We still do not want another pet.