By The Angora cat Association/Ankara Kedisi Derneği
Probably we will be the first ones who will say that the welfare of cats, the way it is done today, is fundamentally wrong. It’s illogical and based on emotions where the cat is reduced to the human infant. In Turkey, the welfare of cats is regulated by groups of women which statistically would be from middle class, often housewives and have plenty of time to devote for cats. The picture may be different in other countries. The solutions in cat welfare are based primary on emotions however.
The cat welfare psychology:
- A cat is a pet and MUST be wanted and adopted by humans, otherwise considered homeless.
- Cats can not survive without humans. Humans need to feed them, give them a shelter or a warm house.
- There is a crisis of cat overpopulation, therefor it is acceptable to kill unadoptable, feral ones when shelter has no more space for new cats.
- Cat is domesticated. There are cats which are feral and the ones which are domesticated.
- People who spend their lives for picking up stray cats, putting them to shelters and trying to rehome them are only ones who really help cats.
The points we should consider:
1. A cat’s worth does not depend on how much it is wanted by humans or not. A cat is not a PET, it’s an animal like any other. We do not try to control populations of other animals, nor we do try to save them by taking them to shelters. There is no any other case where animals except dogs and cats are expected to live indoors with humans. So why cats? Due to humans tendency to anthropomorphize cats (dogs are actually different topic), because ”they are cute” – it is believed that cat can not live outdoors and all of them SHOULD have a ”loving home”.
2. Felis Silvestris Catus are incredibly adapted species. That they are meowing because they expect a tasty effortless treat from you, it doesn’t mean that cat is starving. A cat is perfectly able to survive on its own. If we want to help cats we should invest our effort and time for those which are in need like injured, disabled, deaf, blind etc. Any healthy cat will do without human just fine. And we are NOT responsible for every death of cats as we can not save lives of every human.
3. How many cats are too many? How one knows we have an overpopulation crisis? How its possible to count all the cats anyway?
4. Cat domestication. Science hardly agrees with that. The researcher C. A Driscoll says that a cat ”domesticated itself” and this hardly can be called ”domestication” as a cat retained its instincts and being interdependent very well. It looks like cats learn how to tolerate humans and benefit from this. Animals will find many strategies to maximize their survival. They are really very intelligent animals.
The belief that cats are domesticated will quickly collapse once we realize that a cat must receive socialization with humans in order to be ”tamed/domesticated”. Any cat so called ferals which are by the way the same cats with didn’t receive the contact with humans – will be wild. It just shows that domestication did not happen if a cat is so quick to revert to its wild state. Nothing altered in its genetic makeup too. It’s not surprising when the genetic study reveals that the so called domestic cat is identical to wildcats (lybica I suppose) in Middle East… ”Every cat must have a home” is harmful idea. It devalues the cat making it some kind of powerless baby-like creature.
Not everyone wants to own a cat and not everybody can be a good owner. Not every cat will be a good pet. Many of these cats would benefit from a TNR policy rather than shelters or forcing them to become indoor pets.
Cat welfare is actually a business, especially speaking about the shelters. In Turkey, they are just horrible. A cat would have a happier life on the street than in a shelter. Turkish people love cats and dogs, they feed them look after them. Every shop here has its ”pet”. The animal abuse is extremely rare. However some other societies may not value their stray cats, so regulating the population of those cats by Trap-Neuter-Release methods and providing education for those societies, may be the best solutions.This type of education we have today about cats as worthless, abused unwanted (”impure”) pets nobody needs, is harmful and infective. What we should teach for people is a respect for a cat. And no, its not a pet unless we want it to become one.
The flawed ideas seen as ”cat welfare” are very handy for cat fanciers. These actually serve for them very well. Once we make random bred natural cats worthless, the cat fancy will be glad to offer THEİR cats as a replacement. This I suppose how capitalism works, an art of convincing people to pay money for things that used to be free…
I hope our thoughts did not offend anybody. We would be glad if you Michael and other readers would look into the matter more closely. It’s better to avoid emotions, feelings and beliefs. To think freely, one must restrain one’s desire to believe because of social pressures to conform. It’s hard, but being open minded is always a good start.