Are pet psychics genuine? Let’s ask this squirrel using the power of telepathy!
There’s a difference between animal behaviour and animal communication and you’ll see for yourself what it is if you read this article in the Baltimore Sun: “What your cat is really trying to tell you“.
But you don’t even need to read that article to know what the difference is. If you’ve ever had a pet then you learn to know what your pet wants based on how it acts; that’s animal behaviour and it’s something that comes from observation and experience. At no point – unless you’re batshit crazy – do you start hearing voices or imagine that your pet is transmitting images into your brain; that’s animal communication and it doesn’t happen. Ever.
If someone approaches you and tells you that there’s a woodlouse with a message from beyond the grave for you you’re going to think they’re nuts. And you’re right to do so. A snail wants to let you know it was okay that you trod on it while putting the bins out late at night? I don’t think so. But a gerbil you loved as a child wants to appease your guilt over leaving the cage open near that window ledge? If you’re interested then that’s wishful thinking on your behalf and either con-artistry or delusional behaviour from whomever is acting as the medium. It doesn’t become more plausible because the animal’s cute or belongs to the Mammalia class.
But, back to the article, which is mostly about Terri Diener:
In his writings on the subject, [Skeptical Inquirer research fellow Joe] Nickell says pet psychics employ the same “cold reading” techniques that fortunetellers use to gather information from a source “while giving the impression it is obtained mystically.” These include stating obvious facts, asking questions and making safe or vague statements.
Indeed. And unlike a psychic who works with humans there’s no chance at all that the subject can look puzzled and say: “Er, no actually, that’s not what I was thinking at all.” Very handy if you’re making it up as you go along.
Of course, these animal communicators or pet psychics want to be taken seriously.
Hampstead animal communicator Diane Carlson says she sometimes tries to prove her legitimacy to new clients by asking animals to show or tell her something only their owners would know.
“Ninety-eight percent of the time, it proved to be right,” Carlson says.
I’m convinced. Are you?
But wait! It’s not just people quoting statistics with no actual figures to back up any of it. An actual veterinarian has something to say!
Dr. Christina Chambreau, a Baltimore-based homeopathic veterinarian, embraces animal communication and says pet owners should look for another veterinarian if their veterinarian won’t consider it.
Oh. A homeopathic veterinarian. Right down there amongst the lowest of the low in my opinion. It’s one thing to persuade some gullible moron that this weirdly-named water will heal him in ways beyond the ken of science; it’s another thing to tell that to a poodle suffering discomfort. You know, on account of it not understanding and all that, and so not having a hope in hell of falling for the placebo effect. And let’s just analyse that quote from the article for a second: it’s an appeal from authority that completely undermines the authority its appealing from in order to promote insanity; I’m a veterinarian so listen to me when I say that veterinarians don’t know what they’re doing unless they promote pet psychics, like me, a veterinarian so I know what I’m talking about, but not a veterinarian with some crazy notion that budgies sending messages is bonkers. Confused? Perfect.
Animal communicators: bollocks.