These people obviously have never heard of "barn cats".
Exactly. Sometimes I think that just as people often both study and teach what they need to learn themselves, that those who go into biology to study animals actually have no clue and little understanding about them.
They start with the premise animals are almost some sort of wind-up toy battery-powered by an alien ‘instinct’ and then construct barely applicable tests and experiments to determine whether animals have any thoughts and feelings at all. Then when they conclude that—eureka!—animals do have functioning brains after all, they attribute the most conniving, false and ultimately complicated motives to them possible.
But they don’t do it for YOU. They do it for THEM.