The modern domestic cats, I want a kitten
So much has never been said and written about cats as now.
The modern domestic cats are the protagonists of comics, books, movies, musicals, advertising campaigns … In the western world, large amounts of money are invested in buying, feeding, hygiene, care and entertainment for cats. Many poets, writers, artists or politicians have declared their fondness for these animals.
The current human being is very different from thousands of years ago, who had to fight daily to survive, lived by hunting and gathering, and was both predator and prey. The cat, on the other hand, has always been the same, a wild hunter and, at the same time, a guest that we take care of in our home, who gives us the opportunity to relive ancestral memories from the comfort of our civilized life.
Through genetic manipulation we have introduced great modifications in dogs, horses, pigs, chickens, tomatoes, strawberries, corn … But the cat has not undergone radical changes. Despite the fact that the varieties have multiplied in recent years, with the realization of very different coats in terms of colors, textures and somatic types, their substantial nature remains unchanged and is still very similar to that of the African wild cat, its main ancestor. .
One reason that explains the growing diffusion of the cat as a domestic animal must be found in the changes in our lifestyle. For centuries man has considered the dog a useful animal for hunting and for guarding property. The cat was never of great use until the human being did not dedicate himself to agriculture and had to conserve food. The first signs of domestication of the dog go back twelve thousand years, and those of the cat, six thousand, although most of the vestiges dated with guarantees are of four thousand years ago.
At that time the cat began to be appreciated for its skills as a rodent hunter. Even today, on farms around the world this animal performs the function of exterminating vermin, although it is true that its main role is that of a companion animal. In this sense, there are two main reasons that lead us to prefer a cat as a companion animal. A first reason is of a logistical and practical nature: currently most people live in flats, small or large, and the most fortunate, in single-family houses in residential neighborhoods; on the other hand, work obligations require being away from home for most of the day. So, both the place where we live and the lack of time make life with a dog difficult, but they allow coexistence with a cat, especially if he lives at home.
The cat is extraordinarily adaptable
it can easily reside with its owner in a small apartment in the city, in a luxurious palace, on a farm or in a hot or cold climate, and tolerates being left alone for many hours, much longer than a dog. The second reason for preferring a cat is linked to affective demands, different in the course of life and to which this animal always responds with sweetness and reserve. When we are children we need someone to trust us, who will listen to us with discretion. When we are adults we do not always have the possibility, or the desire, to form a family in which affections are channeled.
We are often conditioned by work and family, which leave us very little time for ourselves. And when we become elderly, we feel very alone. But the cat listens to us without judging us, it always loves us and can change our life for the better, with a relatively small investment of time and money.
AT HOME OR ABROAD?
Cat fans are divided into two large groups: those who believe that the animal should always be at home, and those who think that it should have the freedom to go outdoors and walk wherever it wants. Sometimes, behind the second option, the disgust of having a cat’s hygienic house inside the house is hidden, but the statistics are clear: a well-cared for, properly fed cat that lives only at home has a life expectancy of fifteen years. twenty years; one that lives outdoors lasts an average of four to five years. The reasons for this much shorter life are multiple:
- Road hazards: the jack can be run over by a vehicle and seriously injured or killed; sometimes, attracted by the heat of the engine, it hides under the hood and is injured when the driver starts the car.
- Aggressive dogs: the cat can be the victim of dogs that, by their own nature or encouraged by irresponsible owners, are real killers of these felines.
- Pesticides and various poisons: especially in the countryside, but also in city parks, the cat can come into contact with agricultural pesticides, molluscicides, rodenticides and other poisonous substances, or it can become poisoned by biting animals that in turn have ingested these substances.
- Feline Diseases: There are three lethal diseases for the cat. These are feline leukemia (FeLV), feline immunodeficiency (FIV) and infectious feline peritonitis (FIP), which are highly contagious and that the animal can only contract from contact with other cats, especially in fights or mating. It is clear that a cat that lives away from home is much more likely to contract one of these diseases, for which (with the exception of feline leukemia) there is not yet a proven vaccine.
- People: unfortunately human beings are one of the main dangers for the cat. In the best of cases they can steal it to keep it, but they can also capture it for much less benevolent purposes: to use it for vivisection, to sell it (if it is of race), to torture it in satanic rites, or simply to suppress or mistreat it. out of sheer hatred towards animals in general or towards cats in particular.
Prejudices about the cat
The cat would be even more popular as a companion animal if some prejudices did not subsist, which often derive from an absurd and inappropriate comparison with the dog.
Many consider that the cat is a cold and indifferent animal, that lives with us only for the food and the protection that our house offers it. But this animal, in its own way, also considers us affectively. It is true that the food we give him he likes, as well as the warmth of our houses, comfortable places to sleep and games to have fun. But our feline also considers us his family and this is what he shows: he brings us the prey he captures and “kneads” us with his paws while purring, treating us as if we were his mother. When he plays with us, he regards us as a littermate, and when he “kisses” us, he treats us as if we were his puppy.
And at the same time, the cat needs its moments of solitude, to think, meditate, dream … about its next prey, about the food that it will taste or the toy with which it will have fun. Anyone who lives with a cat knows how sincere and constant their love can be. Detractors of cats often argue that these animals approach more easily those who do not love them, thereby demonstrating their indifference to affection.
The truth is that cats
In the face of strangers, show a wise and physiological distrust, appearing to be frightened when they approach too directly. And, paradoxically, they more easily approach people who show them indifference. However, in a few minutes the animal knows how to recognize who has a feeling with him and does not take long to seek his company.
Another common cliché says that cats belong to places, not people. In reality, this is a very territorial animal, to the point that it marks the territory with urine and scratching the trunks of trees, furniture and other objects in the house. And in the same way it also marks the owner: rubs his cheeks against his legs, his face, his hands, and thus defines his property. The cat loves both its master and its territory.
Being an animal of habit, it simply needs some time to adapt to a new environment, without loving “its human” any less. Taking into account what we have just said, when you have to move it should be borne in mind that this situation represents a stressful situation for the cat and that it is necessary to face the change of environment with patience and sensitivity.