The Three Types of Cat Caretaker
Did the child's presence have a detrimental effect on the cat? Read on..Photo by Beth Nazario (Flickr)
Apparently there are three types of cat caretaker, the dominionists, the humanists and the protectionists. So concludes a research study carried out by Indiana University South Bend cultural sociologist David Blouin.
He explains that people who care for pets change their attitude towards them when they have a a new human member of the family. A baby in other words. The change is one that is detrimental to the pet.
The dominionist human would seem to the kind of person who would declaw their cat; seeing a cat as something that is not a creature that demands the kind of respect which is provided by a humanist. The humanist sees their pets as human beings with equal rights. The protectionist does what the name suggests, they feel the pet needs protection but don't treat the pet as a human.
I would have thought that there is a large overlap between humanists and protectionists.
I any event if a person is a humanist before having a baby, afterwards they are liable to become a dominionist, treating the cat or dog worse, taking the cat or dog to the vet less often and spending less time with the pet. Their attitude changes, the cat or dog becomes a lesser member of the family, it seems to me.
The point being made is that a pet caretaker's attitude to his or her pet is influenced by environmental factors; it is flexible, almost fickle.
Personally, I find this depressing but not unexpected. It shows how fickle our attitudes can be when in fact we should have entirely consistent attitudes and relationships with our pets because we are dealing with living, feeling sentient beings that depend on us (when they are domestic cats or dogs).
We can be fickle and change our minds about the kind of dishwasher we like or want to buy or the furniture we want for the living room but we do not have the right, I believe, to change are approach to cat companions as it should be governed by morality and morality is black and white and immutable.
We should accept that humans are not as clever and as worthy as some people believe.