Cats aren't dogs, which is neither an indictment nor compliment. And those of us who are quasi-new cat owners would be well-served to read this story in today's Washington Post about domesticated cats and why they act like they do.
The best point, via The Post: "The most important social skill a cat must learn in order to become a pet is, of course, how to interact with people. Even at the earliest stage of domestication, cats needed humans to protect and feed them when mice were in short supply. The cats that thrived were those that were able to reward people with their company. Yet cats are not born attached to people. They are born with an inclination to trust people only during a brief period when they are tiny.
"Studies of dogs in the 1950s established the notion of a 'primary socialization period,' when puppies are especially sensitive to learning how to interact with people. For dogs, this is between 7 and 14 weeks of age. The concept also applies to cats, but it starts earlier. A kitten that is handled regularly between 4 and 8 weeks generally develops a powerful attraction to people. One that does not meet a human until 10 weeks or later is likely to fear people for the rest of its life."
-- Phillip Tutor