Why do indoor cats spray?

The question is asking why indoor cats spray urine, which is done, as you probably know, to establish territory. Because this is the purpose of spraying urine (normally onto vertical surfaces) it occurs when cats feel that their territory is threatened by an ‘invading’ cat. How might this happen to an indoor cat?

Some examples of situations which elicit indoor cat spraying

Normally the sort of situation that elicits marking territory by spraying urine is when an indoor cat looks out the window and sees a cat entering the backyard or coming near the home.

The indoor cat begins a defence strategy which is to spray a surface somewhere within their ‘home range’ perhaps nearer the boundaries of the owner’s home as they represent the boundaries of the cat’s home range. They may also run to the door and hiss or growl at the window. They watch the intruder with intensity.

When a new cat is introduced to a resident cat there may be issues of spraying because the resident cat feels threatened by the incoming cat while the incoming cat may also feel stressed because they’ve been removed from their home range and suddenly dropped into an entirely alien environment. They need reassurance and spraying urine reassures them.

In multi-cat households they might feel crowded because their home ranges have been severely compressed. This might elicit spraying from one or more of the cats.

Lastly, a change in an indoor cat’s routine which a cat perceives as a threat may also prompt spraying both to confirm to the unknown threat that this is their territory and also to reassure themselves by surrounding themselves with the scent of their urine.

If a female cat is unsterilised she might advertise that sex is available. This behaviour would increase during the mating season and during courtship.

Personal story

On this topic, I have a visiting cat from a neighbour. My cat is not an indoor cat but he spends a lot of time indoors. When the visiting cat comes into my home through the cat flap, on occasions, she might spray urine near the kitchen sink on the countertop. She’s doing this because she feels a bit stressed in entering the home range of my cat. She feels a need to mark it to ‘claim’ territory or at least attempt to. I think she sprays near the kitchen sink because sometimes I put bleach down the plug hole and bleach seems to stimulate mental activity in domestic cat a bit like catnip. I think it can trigger this kind of behaviour. This behavior annoys me. I’ve considered stopping entry. However, my cat seems to enjoy her company.

Stopping spraying

The classic treatment for stopping spraying is to spay and neuter (sterilize) domestic cats particularly before spraying behaviour begins i.e. usually before six months of age. This should be effective in 80%-90% of cases. It was ineffective for my cat. I have seen him spray urine in my backyard perhaps because of this visiting cat.

In the examples above, of an intruding cat being watched by the indoor cat from a window, one way to avoid the indoor cats spraying under these circumstances to prevent her looking through the window or prevent the incoming cat from arriving in the backyard. That’s common sense but prevention is better than cure.

You will have to use your imagination as to how you keep a neighbour’s cat coming into your backyard. It can be difficult but people suggest motion activated water sprinklers as one possibility.

As to difficulties in multi-cat households, perhaps the best answer is to consider carefully whether you really do want to adopt another cat. A lot of aggression problems come out of multi-cat homes on my research. And if you can’t do that then you might consider a way of extending their overall territory by building a catio or catios or even a full-blown backyard enclosure to allow stressed cats to find more space and feel more secure.

Lastly, you’ve probably have heard of the commercially produced product Feliway which is a brand of synthetic pheromone, similar to cat cheek scent markers (marking territory through scent from glands in their cheeks). It is said to help relieve stress and calm cats. It is also said to keep cats away from an area where they have sprayed.

As a last resort you might consider a variety of behaviour modification drugs as recommended by your veterinarian. Personally, I would steer clear of these unless you’re really desperate.

Detecting sprayed urine and removing it

Sometimes you might be unsure if your cat has sprayed in the home but you sense they have because of a faint (or stronger!) odour. I think the best way to detect urine is to buy an ultraviolet torch (cheap on Amazon). If you use it at dusk when the interior of your home is dark it will pick up urine stains very positively. You remove urine stains with an enzyme cleaner which changes the urine chemically and nullifies it. On hard surfaces an ordinary cleaner will suffice.

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How can I tell if my cat has been spayed or neutered?

I think this is a very fair question particularly in relation to female cats. The video on this page concerns finding out if your female cat has been spayed. The veterinarian suggests that you take your cat to a veterinary clinic to provide you with the answer, which may not appeal to a lot of people for obvious reasons. You may be able to see a faint post-op scar when you part the fur in the middle of the abdomen. However, sometimes the vets enter the body from the side, the flank, which complicates matters a lot when looking for a faint scar.

Fiddling around with a cat’s belly fur may be tricky too! But it is certainly worth a try because the scar may be fairly obvious. The experts also say that you might be able to feel the scar because it presents as a slightly raised area of scar tissue. So, a combination of feeling and looking may help you detect this scar on the abdomen.

Spaying scar
Spaying scar. Photo: Imgur.
Whole and neutered male cat
Whole and neutered male cat. Basic image: cat-world.com. Modified by MikeB

Please read the section below about tattooing which I think is quite enlightening.

The spaying operation is quite invasive and involves the removal of the female’s reproductive system (the removal of both ovaries and the entire reproductive tract down to the level of the cervix) whereas for the male cat, the operation is much more straightforward, as you probably know. It is the removal of the cat’s testes which are visible on the backside of a male cat. If they aren’t visible, they are not there and if they aren’t there, he has been neutered. It seems very straightforward but it might not be completely obvious to a newcomer to cat ownership. if in doubt it may be wise to see your veterinarian. I realise that this is not something that a cat owner wants to do.

If your cat is a former community or colony cat who was looked after by volunteers under a TNR program, he/she may have his left ear tipped which indicates that he has been through the sterilization operation and been vaccinated. This would be a nice confirmation of the fact that they have been sterilized.

Note: This is a video from another website. Sometimes they are deleted at source which stops them working on this site. If that has happened, I apologise but I have no control over it.


Tattoo marker

Sterilization indicator tattoo on female cat who has already been spayed
Sterilization indicator tattoo on female cat who has already been spayed. Photo: Dr. Mielo.

It may surprise readers to know that sometimes the experts make a mistake in deciding whether a female cat has been spayed; sometimes they perform the operation twice, not realising that the cat has already been through it. This is why, in America, since 2010, the Association of Shelter Veterinarians, Veterinary Medical Care Guidelines for Spay-Neuter Programs has recommended that veterinarians place a “simple green linear tattoo to identify all neutered pet animals.”

This indicates that it applies to both male and female cats. This simple procedure apparently is not well-known and neither is it used a lot. I understand that two veterinarian interns carried out a research project to find out how often it was used. Dr. Julie Levy and Dr. Meghan Mielo said that many shelter veterinarians were frustrated at how frequently they end up doing unnecessary surgery on animals that had already been spayed.

As I understand it, their research indicated that only 30% of veterinary schools included tattooing as a requirement. Only 5% of the private veterinary practices that they surveyed used tattoos after the sterilisation operation.

The information is enlightening and supports the view that it can be tricky for both vet and cat owner to tell whether the female cat has been neutered.

It is likely that there won’t be tattoo based on the research and therefore you will be normally be looking under the fur for a faint scar in the middle of the abdomen. You may be able to feel slightly raised scar tissue as mentioned. They say the scar can almost disappear which makes it very hard to spot.

A spayed female cat will also behave differently. She won’t come into heat and therefore this should be confirmation of the operation. Male cats also behave differently after the procedure but the change is less obvious.

In the video, the veterinarian says that vets shave the cat to check for that elusive spaying scar. This, once again, points to the difficulty in spotting this hard-to-see scar. Good luck.

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Self-assured Felicia Wilson on TikTok owns a bobcat kitten and she is wrong

I don’t know who Felicia Wilson is. I think she is a social media celebrity rather than having a background skill such as singing or as an actress. That’s my impression but if I’m incorrect then please tell me. She has 1.9 million followers on TikTok. She appears to have a menagerie of animals. In the video on this page, she presents her bobcat kitten to the world. There are also videos of a fennec fox, a caracal and a serval (and others?). She clearly likes ‘exotic cats’ which is a euphemism for medium-sized wild cat species as pets.

Felicia Wilson and her bobcat kitten - a part of her menagerie of animals
Felicia Wilson and her bobcat kitten – a part of her menagerie of animals. Screenshot.
@feliciawilson_85

Reply to @skippito2004 Sometimes I’m the only love these animals will ever know🥺

♬ original sound – The Real Life Snow White

Note: This is a video from another website. Sometimes they are deleted at source which stops them working on this site. If that has happened, I apologise but I have no control over it.


She is highly self-assured about what she is doing; convinced that what she is doing is correct and satisfactory. In the video on this page somebody has gently chided her about keeping a bobcat and she responds in the video to say that nobody will stop her. Like I said, she is self-assured and confident. But is she correct?

Is she correct in her thought that owning a bobcat kitten is a good idea? And the same goes for the caracal and serval. You see, I don’t think that it is a good idea. I tend to support the person who made the comment. I believe that humankind should live in harmony with all wild cats. To achieve this, we need to give them the space in the wild to behave normally. We do not achieve that by taking them from the wild and making them pets (of a sort).

And it is my honest opinion that when her bobcat grows up to be a full-grown adult, he or she will not make a good ‘pet’. You cannot turn a genuine wild cat into a domestic cat. They can be domesticated and tamed but they do not have 10,000 years of cat domestication behind them. They say that the domestic cat is very close to a wild cat in terms of character and barely domesticated. I agree but the bobcat is even nearer to the wild which means that they might spray urine if they are confined to the home due to stresses. Bobcats have large homes in the wild of around 10 square kilometers.

They might scratch or bite you badly when playing because they are strong. The same, of course, goes for a serval and a caracal. These are strong animals and relatively large. They can be aggressive and make aggressive sounds. They can be intimidating. They are certainly much larger than domestic cats. And I think that Felicia Wilson should remind herself that many people who adopt exotic wild cats such as the serval end up relinquishing them to animal sanctuaries. They discover, late in the day, that it just doesn’t work. They start with cute cubs. They are invariably sweet and they behave like domestic cats, more or less, but they grow up and change. When then are subadults and mentally independent they change. The want their own home range. They try and escape their confinement.

People like Felicia Wilson are drawn to the exotic nature of these animals. They want to possess them. I understand, but it is self-indulgent to possess them. It is far better to admire them in their own habitat. It is a very common human trait to want to possess something beautiful. People do this all the time when they buy fancy cars, fridges or toasters for the kitchen. It’s all the same thing. These people are treating wild animals as objects to be possessed because they decorate their lives.

But you have to care for these animals in the human home and it is just too artificial for a wild cat. Sometimes domestic cats struggle to adapt to the human home never mind wild cat species.

My conclusion is that Felicia Wilson’s assuredness in her thoughts and beliefs is misplaced. I think she is quite wrong in what she’s doing. What is worse, in my view, is that she is attracting a lot of social media attention because of her relationship with a menagerie of animals. Might this not be an exploitation of the animals with the intention of increasing her celebrity status? That’s the way I would see it. And it happens a lot on the Internet.

She knows that cute animals, such as this cute bobcat kitten, attract attention. She, herself, is an attractive woman. Add the two together and you get 1.9 million followers on TikTok. But I think she needs to question whether she is genuinely doing the right thing for the animals. Is she respecting this bobcat when she kisses him on the belly in her fancy car?

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Why is my cat itchy but no fleas?

Here is a list of itchy skin diseases other than a current infestation of cat fleas. One of them may apply to your cat. However, there is no substitute for taking your cat to a good veterinarian. Unless you are very competent, I would not try and self-diagnose your cat’s itchy skin unless it is pretty obvious such as fleas jumping out of his fur!

Itchy cat
Itchy cat. Photo by Buenosia Carol from Pexels

Allergic contact dermatitis; this is similar to contact dermatitis. The rash may be wider than on the area of contact. To suffer from this disease a cat has to be repeatedly exposed and/or continuously exposed to an allergen.

Chiggers: this is a tropical flea, the female of which burrows and lays eggs beneath the host’s skin causing painful sores. It causes itching and severe skin irritation between the toes and around the ears and mouth. You might be able to see the larvae which are hardly visible and are read, orange or yellow.

Contact dermatitis: this causes an inflamed skin with bumps, which is itchy and red at the site of contact with an irritant such as paint, detergent or a chemical. It can sometimes be caused by plastic or rubber food dishes. There may be hair loss and a scaly skin.

Ear mites (ododectes): these are nasty little parasites which cause intense irritation in the ear canal. They sometimes migrate out of the ear canal onto the body. Your cat will scratch at her ears, head tilt and shake her head to try and alleviate the itching. An inspection by a veterinarian will reveal excessive brown, waxy or purulent material in the ear canals.

Discharge from cat ear mites can be foul smelling
Discharge from cat ear mites can be foul smelling. Image: PoC.

Feline miliary dermatitis: this is often a flea bite allergy. ‘Miliary’ comes from the word ‘milium’ which is Latin for millet (seeds). The crusty lesions of the skin look like millet seeds. There are small bumps and crusts around the head, back and neck which can be felt beneath the fur. It may be complicated by pyoderma.

Feline miliary dermatitis caused by flea bit allergy
Feline miliary dermatitis caused by flea bit allergy. Photo by Michael. It can be used under a creative commons license.

Flea allergy dermatitis: over the inner thighs, rear legs, back and the base of the tail there will be red, itchy pimple-like bumps. After you have killed the fleas and your cat is flea-free, the scratching will continue.

Food allergy dermatitis: there may be swelling of eyelids combined with severe itching over the head, neck and back. Or it may present as reddened ears. There may be hair loss and oozing sores because the cat scratches and bites herself.

Inhalant allergy a.k.a. atopic dermatitis: this is similar in symptoms to feline miliary dermatitis and the maybe symmetrical hair loss over the body.

Lice: Lice can live on the skin of a cat and feed on it. They are 2 mm long insects or white grains of sandy material, which are the eggs called nits, attached to the hair. They sometimes infest cats with matted coats living in poor conditions. There may be hair loss where the hair has been rubbed off.

Maggots (myiasis): This is a fly larva. It is soft bodied. The fly lays them in the fur, or in an open wound. My experience tells me that if a cat is ill cat is very static for long periods of time outside the home, they may acquire maggots. I don’t think they always cause irritation though.

Scabies (sarcoptic mange): This presents as thick grey to yellow crusts with the hair rubbed off. It causes intense itching around the edges of the ears, neck, face and head.

Ticks: a parasite which is quite large, relatively, when bloated with blood or quite small before feeding. They attached to the skin. They are picked up in long grass. They might be walking slowly through a cat’s fur. They are often found along the back, around the ears and between the toes.

Tick
Tick. Photo in public domain.
Removing ticks on cats
Removing ticks on cats. Photo in public domain.

Walking dandruff (cheyletiella mange): Itching may be mildly caused by large amounts of dry scaly, flaky skin over the neck, sides and back.

Cat dandruff
Cat dandruff. This photo by me is of my late female cat companion.

The list might not be comprehensive. Please do your own research and consult with a good vet if needs be. Itchiness is distressing to very distressing for cats so prompt action is desirable.

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Steve Bouquet the ‘Brighton Cat Killer’ sentenced to 5 years imprisonment

NEWS AND COMMENT: You might have heard of Steve Bouquet, 54, from Brighton who was dubbed the “Brighton Cat Killer” because he terrorised Brighton, UK and the environs by stabbing 16 cats between October 2018 in June 2019. Nine of the cats, Hendrix, Tommy, Hannah, Alan, Nancy, Gizmo, Kyo, Ollie and Cosmo, were killed while seven were severely injured. He was tried and convicted because he was caught revisiting the scene of one of his crimes on a security camera attached to the home of a man who had lost his cat to this monster.

Also, they found the knife with which he stabbed the cats and they found DNA on the knife linking him to the stabbings. All in all, the evidence was incredibly strong and a conviction was assured. He’s finally been sentenced to 5 years and three months behind bars. The jail term of five years represents the killings to which three months was added for the possession of a knife. In addition, he was jailed for a further three months for failing to answer bail. He is an ex-Royal Navy gunner and shopping centre security guard.

His defence barrister at the trial, Ravi Dogra, said that bouquet served in the Royal Navy for 22 years and that he may suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder. He had also served in Northern Ireland and Iraq. He has thyroid cancer which has spread to his lungs and liver. The barrister’s remarks were designed to minimise his prison sentence.

The Crown prosecutor said: “None of us can comprehend what drove Bouquet to do this”. Judge Jeremy Gold QC said that the crimes were “appalling” and that they had had a considerable impact on the families.

Bouquet did not attend court for his trial and was therefore tried in his absence on all 16 charges of criminal damage and the possession of a bladed article.

Steve Bouquet
Steve Bouquet being interviewed by police. Photo: CCTV at police station.

If you wish to read a bit more about the buildup to the trial and conviction you can click on one of these links:

Steve Bouquet the devil incarnate
Steve Bouquet the devil incarnate. Image: MikeB based in pic by GARETH FULLER/PA.

Comment: unsurprisingly, Steve Bouquet’s behaviour has attracted a lot of attention and anger, obviously from the cat owners concerned and from the public. Their comments to the news indicate their outrage. Some comments also point to a degree of culpability from the cat owners allowing their cats to roam outside when a cat killer was about. I have some sympathy for that argument.

Steve Bouquet operated over quite a long period of time and yet the cat owners who lost their cats subsequent to the early killings must have been aware of the dangers but apparently either made a risk assessment or ignored the risk.

One person who commented thought that a 10-year sentence would have been more suitable. Quite a lot of people in the UK believe that judges are being too soft on crime through jail terms that are too short.

There is another aspect to his punishment. Arguably he needs treatment as well. He needs to see a psychologist to find out why he took pleasure in stabbing 16 cats. There is an argument that he is psychopathic and often criminals who are violent towards animals progress to violence towards people. That presumably is a distinct possibility with Steve Bouquet in the future.

Another commenter said that animal abuse should be on a par with child abuse. Both are equally innocent as victims and unable to comprehend the situation. I can sympathise with that argument too.

A five-year jail sentence is nonetheless quite a good one for animal cruelty. It might be fair to suggest that violence against animals, sentient beings, is generally under-punished.

The UK is debating the introduction of the Animal Welfare (Sentience) Act. If it passes it will enshrin in law that all animals are sentient beings. This will provide umbrella protection to animals in the UK across all segments of society. If this case had been tried with that act in place, I suspect that the outcome would have been a more severe sentence.

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UK animal sentience bill frightens the countryside pursuits brigade

Animal Welfare (Sentience) Bill
Animal Welfare (Sentience) Bill

NEWS AND COMMENT: In Britain, there is a vociferous group of people who like to participate in countryside pursuits which includes hunting foxes and shooting birds. They defend their right to kill animals for pleasure at every opportunity (fox hunting is banned in the UK but it still happens). And an opportunity has arisen for them to start shouting from the rooftops. It is the Animal Welfare (Sentience) Bill which is currently being debated in the House of Lords as it goes through Parliament. I would hope and expect it to become law and in which case it would enshrine in law the principle that animals are sentient.

The title to the bill: “A Bill to make provision for an Animal Sentience Committee with functions relating to the effect of government policy on the welfare of animals as sentient beings”.

Animal Sentience
Animal Sentience. Photo in public domain. A superb Maine Coon.

This would be a major step in improved animal welfare in the UK. It would lead almost all the world’s countries. To recognise that animals are sentient, have emotions and feel pain would force a change in attitude towards animals by people who have a less than sympathetic approach to animal welfare. In a sense, the world can be divided into two groups: those who are sensitive to animal welfare and their feelings and those who aren’t. The latter is the same group that likes to shoot animals for pleasure which explains why they are frightened of this proposed law.

They say that it will be used by animal advocates to destroy countryside pursuits such as fishing and game shooting. The angling community are worried. Let’s remind ourselves that fish feel pain and therefore in my view fishing should be banned entirely. And perhaps this bill might lead to that eventually.

Those who like to participate in countryside pursuits regards animal advocates as zealots and ideologues. They see them as dangerous and that the bill will “herald the start of a systematic assault on country sports such as fishing and shooting.”

I’m pleased that they are worried. They should be. They have had it their own way for too long; taking pleasure out of country sports which is a euphemism for hurting animals for pleasure.

The bill is the product of Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park, the environment minister who is a friend of Carrie Johnson. We know that Carrie Johnson, the Prime Minister’s wife, has an agenda which is to improve animal welfare. This is very welcome to animal advocates like myself. She obviously has the Prime Minister’s ear. This bill would not have been created but for her and her friend Lord Goldsmith.

If and when the bill becomes law it will appoint an animal sentience committee which would scrutinise whether government ministers had paid due regard to any adverse effect that their policies might have on the welfare of animals as sentient beings. In other words, any proposed future policies and laws would have to comply with the Animal Welfare (Sentience) Act. The act would protect animal rights and their welfare. It would stop those rights being trampled on by the conservative elite of the UK who see nothing wrong in activities which harm animals.

The detractors to the proposed law say that “it must be sensitive to ensuring the country continues to have a successful agricultural industry”. They fear that farmers may suffer because of it. It may, for example, lead to steps being taken against the production of halal meat.

Lord Goldsmith is a patron of the Conservative Animal Welfare Foundation as is Carrie Johnson. The organisation campaigns on many farm animal welfare issues. They are calling for a ban on farrowing crates for pigs, cages for hens, live exports and rules to protect fish from suffering slow painful death.

The bill will ban live exports for slaughter and fattening. The Conservatives, in their manifesto, committed to maintain the recognition that animals are sentient beings as set out in article 13 of the Lisbon Treaty which applied when the UK was part of the EU. Goldsmith wants the law to go further than EU law.

The advice delivered by the scrutinizing committee need not be followed. Therefore, the law is reasonably drafted and does not need amendment as demanded by the Countryside Alliance.

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Domestic cats don’t appreciate beauty. Discuss.

I have said that domestic cats don’t appreciate beauty. The discussion is philosophical. Philosophical discussions don’t result in hard conclusions. I can’t provide a guaranteed answer as to whether domestic cats appreciate beauty or not. I also can’t provide a definitive answer as to why humans appreciate beauty. That, too, is a philosophical question. I’ve done research briefly on this and discovered that there is no definitive answer on the appreciation of beauty by people. Therefore, I’m left to try and work out and answer it myself.

Gary the cat does no appreciate the beauty of the landscape behind him
Gary the cat does no appreciate the beauty of the landscape behind him. He sees no function in it because he is well fed. Screenshot.

Cats don’t appreciate beauty

Domestic cats don’t appreciate beauty and neither do other animals. That’s my conclusion. But they do appreciate fitness to procreate in beautiful mates. Beautiful displays by male birds attract females. I’m going to argue that they don’t attract females because they look beautiful but because the female perceives the display as indicating that the male bird is fit and will create strong offspring.

In the cat world, male lions with dark, lush manes are more attractive to lionesses and other lions. They perceive these lions as being fitter. And in being fitter, their offspring, after they’ve mated, will also be fitter. This will help to sustain the family. The female lion’s cubs will more likely survive if she mates with a lion with a dark mane. So, she selects him and mates with him. She is not attracted to the beauty of the lion but she is attracted to the functionality of a healthy, dominant lion.

In my view, therefore, in the eyes of cats and other animals, beauty is transformed into functionality and efficiency in the interests of better survival of the individual, the family and the species as a whole.

As to Gary the cat in the video not appreciating the landscape behind him, it is because he is well fed! If he was a wildcat like his ancestor, he would look at the landscape and decide whether there were any prey animals in it or not. To a cat, the landscape is not beautiful but functional if it contains prey to aid survival. Functionality merges with beauty. I discuss this further below.

Note: This is a video from another website. Sometimes they are deleted at source which stops them working on this site. If that has happened, I apologise but I have no control over it.


People

As for people, we know that humans appreciate the beauty of a landscape as seen in the video and photograph on this page. We see the beauty in another person and are attracted to that person. Everything we see we judge as to whether it is good looking or not. But I believe that at its root the assessment of the beauty or otherwise of an object is also about survival. In short, there is a functional basis to the appreciation of beauty.

If we look at a beautiful landscape we go back to our ancestral roots. Humans came out of the landscape, the primeval soup (the hypothetical set of conditions present on the Earth around 3.7 billion years ago)! We are connected to it, and when we look at it, we feel that connection, although we don’t realise it, and it feels good. Unfortunately, most humans have distanced themselves from nature. They are orphans from their origins. This makes them unhappy. If people connect with nature, they invariably feel better which is why doctors recommend that depressed people spend half an hour in a wood, forest or landscape to help them feel better.

So, people like beautiful landscapes because it makes them feel better and it makes him feel better because they are connecting with their roots. And in doing so they feel better, empowered and more able to survive.

People see beauty in another person but I think that this, too, is ultimately functional. The philosophers would probably disagree with me. But a beautiful person will make healthy kids, that’s the theory and that is where the attraction comes from. Once again it goes back to survival.

But why do we find some inanimate objects beautiful and some ugly? The first point is that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. It is subjective but you will find a consensus that some objects are more beautiful than others such as the Apple Computer designed by Sir Jonathan Ive. And the E-type Jaguar is considered by many to be the most beautiful car.

This question is hard to answer. But if I follow my original theory that beauty is about functionality, it may be the case that when people see a beautiful computer like the Apple MacBook Pro, they believe that it is highly functional. The image that the object presents to the viewer is that it is highly functional and advanced. So, functionality is presented as beauty and beauty represents functionality. The two merge.

Even if a beautiful object is not particularly functional and rather badly made, initially we see that object as both beautiful and highly functioning until we learn otherwise. But the starting point is that beauty represents high quality functionality in inanimate human-made objects.

Humans versus cats on beauty

My conclusion is that humans are the same as cats although we see ourselves as very different and more intelligent regarding the appreciation of beauty. In humans we have to go back from observing beauty to recognising functionality. In cats they are already at the functional stage. They don’t waste their time deciding whether something is beautiful and not. They just decide if it is going to work for them and help in their survival.

So, when wild cats look at a landscape, they will decide whether the landscape can provide them with prey animals to hunt and live off. They don’t look at it and think that it is beautiful. They look at it and say there are prey animals there I can eat. Once again is about functionality.

Note: I am not a philosopher (as you might have guessed). I am trying to apply common sense and science to the question at hand.

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Picture of a stairway to heaven with a 4-cat guard of honour

The idea for the title comes from the photographer who posted on reddit.com: u/marysa-xo. It seems that her name is Mary. It is a really nice photograph. She called it: Is this what the stairway to heaven looks like? 🐱. I had to add the word ‘cat’ to make sure Google finds the page. I feel that if this is a post-death vision of the route to heaven, the cats line it (or get in the way) as a guard of honour in the same way sporting teams do when congratulating the opposing winning side as they leave the playing field. The cat in the foreground has a mournful expression as if seeing their deceased owner struggle to ascend the stairs to heaven. This is the pet equivalent to crossing the rainbow bridge. I see this as a stairway to heaven for a cat loving person not a cat.

Picture of a stairway to heaven with a 4-cat guard of honour
Picture of a stairway to heaven with a 4-cat guard of honour

Wouldn’t it be great if there was something on the other side? To see our deceased cats again? I’d love to see them again. It would bring me immense pleasure. This tells me that I miss them a lot even after 20 or more years. Sometimes when a cat companion dies a bit of their human guardian dies with them. You never get it back until you see them again ‘on the other side’ (if it exists).

I don’t believe it exists but a lot do. They need to believe. Without this belief life can seem meaningless. I believe that on death there is nothing. I can accept it. But it does no stop me hoping that there is something and that I could see my little darlings again, to cuddle and talk to them, to play and smile. If this does happen, I hope my stairway to heaven has a guard of honour like the one we see in the photograph.

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