• It seems that way on my theory. If people can become less smart without even knowing it, it is certainly possible the domestication of cats can, very gradually, over millenia, make cats less smart. Natural selection is the guarantee for becoming smarter and stronger. Remove that key element of life and life will fade gradually.

  1. I agree with you, Ruth! I have an indoors only cat, and it’s something that I struggle to deal with every day. I have a passion for wildlife, and too frequently pull their carcasses off the road, so often I find cats joining the carcasses on the road. I hate having my cat indoors, and I will one day build him the biggest outdoor enclosure I can afford, so that he can climb, run and play to his heart’s content. I put a lot of effort into enriching Chilli, because I think indoor cats can easily become just like backyard dogs. Backyard dogs never leave the yard, they rarely get a walk, and they never go outside. They’re an ornament. They make the yard look interesting, and give the owner something to brag about. They’re miserable, bored and that’s where behaviour problems begin. The same with indoor cats, if you leave them to sleep on the couch and get fat, that’s exactly what they’ll do! An indoors cat needs lots of enrichment and attention, and someone who owns an indoors cat should have a lot of knowledge on signs of stress, stereotypic behaviour, and a range of enrichment activities. Cats aren’t an ornament to make your house look pretty, they’re a living, breathing animal, and they were not put here to please humans.

  2. I agree too, I feel sorry when I see cats trailing the roads with huge luminous collars on, or see them sitting looking out of windows longing to be out, or into windows wanting to be in but having to wait on their “owner’s” convenience. I feel sorry when cats are treated as babies and get into trouble for acting like cats, when they are expected to use dirty litter trays and punished when they don’t, when they are expected to eat whatever is put down for them and if they don’t they get nothing else until they do, when they are bathed, when they are given “lion cuts” and laughed at, when they are dressed in clothes to resemble humans, when they are put on show in cages, when they are left to breed and then their kittens are taken away and destroyed, I love cats but loving them sometimes gives me great sadness when I see the way cats are exploited.

  3. Hi Ruth, thanks for the article. I have always thought about cats as you do. I agree with your post. Domestication of the cat was initially a two way process as you say. The wild cat was fed and in return kept down rodents etc.

    But it seems to me that the natural balance in the relationship that existed early on, has gradually shifted in favour of the human.

    There is too much in the way of collateral damage to the cat and none to the human in the current relationship – declawing and mass euthanasia are two examples.

    I am sure at the beginning there was no intention to allow cats to breed to the point where they had to be slaughtered in their millions.

    But even as early as ancient Egypt the cat was abused. The human got onto the cat abuse bandwagon quickly as it suited him.

    What you are saying is that people are taking too much from the cat. Yes, there are millions of contented and well fed cats but the price is the one I have mentioned. Too high a price for me.

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