A quick Google search of ‘psychological condition where human believes he is an animal’ opens up a whole bunch of links to different disorders. For instance, clinical lycanthropy. It is defined as a rare psychiatric disorder where a person believes that he (or she) can transform into, or has transformed into, or is a non-human animal. Google offers up another suggestion – species dysphoria. According to Wikipedia, this is the experience of dysphoria and, sometimes, dysmorphia associated with the feeling that one’s body is of the wrong species. However, trying to understand the unusual story of a 20-year-old woman, Nano, from Oslo in Norway would probably take more than just a customary Google-search.
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Nano believes that she is a cat trapped in a human body. In other words, she is certain that she was born in the wrong species.
In a special feature on NRK P3 Verdens Rikeste Land’s YouTube channel, Nano opens up about how she lives her human life as a cat. She claims to possess many feline characteristics such as a heightened sense of hearing and a strong aversion to water. She embraces her true identity by wearing a pair of cat ears and an artificial tail. In addition to that, Nano showcases her near-perfect ‘meows’, which is how she chose to begin her 3-minute-long interview.
Nano claims she first realized that she was a cat when she was 16 years old. This was the time, she says, that “doctors and psychologists found out what was the ‘thing’ with me. Under my birth, there was a genetic defect.”
As Nano walks through Oslo’s central station, the reporter asks her to identify things that she can see or hear which would be imperceptible to human senses. Nano quickly zeroes in on the sounds of suitcases rolling on the ground, keys clinking in pockets and people with ice crampons under their shoes.
This increased hearing ability is one of the greatest advantages of being a cat, according to the Norwegian woman. She also claims to possess night vision. “I can see better in the dark than in daylight. That’s no problem,’ she says. “I have been running a lot after animals that can be seen in the shadows.” However, Nano has never managed to catch a mouse, despite her best efforts.
Her relationship with man’s best friend is also predictably strained. She hisses when she sees a dog and explains that “…it’s because of their behavior and my instinct is automatically reacts by hissing.” Her habits and mannerisms closely reflect those of a cat, as she is seen crawling on all fours and wearing a pair of pink paws with which she rubs her face, as though she were grooming herself. She confesses that she loves sleeping in the sink or on the windowsill. At one point, the reporter asks Nano if she was just born in the wrong species. Nano confirms that that’s what it is.
Surprisingly, Nano has found the purrfect companion and introduces the reporter to her best friend, Svein. Svein, she claims, has many different personalities and one of them is a cat.
While interviewing Svein, he reveals that the two of them often communicate by ‘mewing’. To demonstrate, Nano lets out a series of meows that are, apparently, supposed to translate as “Come on, let’s go,” and Svein confirms he understood every single one of them. “Suddenly I start meowing or she does, and then we answer each other and communicate by cat language,” he says. In the end, Nano says that her life as a cat is certainly ‘exhausting’ but one that you eventually get used to. Even though her psychologist has told her that she could eventually grow out of this phase, Nano is skeptical that that will happen.