Similarities indeed even the name! I'm an avionics engineer, Phast jets and gravity defying helicopters!
I believe that a love of animals is an expression of love for humanity. It took me a long time to learn this and I'm still not too sure about the humans!
Cat's are said to understand the intonation of quite a few words, mine certainly understand: no; down; food; up; and their names...
You stated in your original post about the psychology of cats which is why I mentioned the Desmond Morris book...it explains many things that cats do regarding humans, why they purr, why they "march" why they bring "presents" what the positioning of their ears mean etc. It really is a fabulous book and worth a read.
In my experience animals raised with love and compassion give it back in spades.