anthropomorphize: 1. To endow with human qualities. 2. To attribute human characteristics to something that is non-human. (from wiktionary)
I live with four cats who are a fundamental daily part of my life. I know I’m guilty of anthropomorphizing them sometimes, although I make a serious effort to understand them on their own terms, and it’s more often teasing than for real.
I’m the admin of a lolcats (and other lolanimals) site, which is heavy on the sincere animal lovers, but a deliberate part of the game involves reading human facial expressions, body language, motivation, thought processes, and/or other interpretation into photos of cats (and other animals). This is, however, a game, and many of the regulars are fascinated by the realities of animals.
Assuming, of course, that one isn’t writing something deliberately playing with the idea… as a writer, anthropomorphizing animals is simply unforgivable for multiple reasons. Read the rest of this entry