A Cat Is Not A Toy
I take this title from an article in the Times newspaper that is about dogs, “handbag pups” in fact. These are very small dogs that socialites buy in the same way that they buy a handbag. The pup goes in the oversized, Louis Vuitton handbag or is carried in the arms à la Paris Hilton. Paris Hilton is the classic example of this sort or behaviour. It truly is treating dogs as an accessory; something that spruces up their image in public. In private there is a high rate of relinquishment of handbag pups as the person tires of the animal and finds that she cannot cope or does not want to cope.
The same mentality can be said about people who declaw cats. A person who declaw’s a cat must see the cat as almost inanimate, like a household accessory. The fluffier and cleaner the better. The popularity of Persian cats especially small Persians (teacup cats) reflects this mentality.
Both handbag pups and fluffy declawed cats are victims of modern society. Let’s think back to 50 years ago. There were no extreme-bred purebred cats at that time. Siamese cats looked like real cats. Persian cats did not have flat unhealthy faces. They had classic cute but functional faces. The Persian cats of the 1950s are now called traditional Persian cats yet they are actually the real thing.
Overbred cats, declawing and handbag pups are all in the same category. They are “pets” whose role in life is to please their human companion who sees the pet as an accoutrement to their lifestyle. A symptom of the modern, debt based, consumer orientated culture of western society in the 21st century.
We need to turn the clock back and abandon this way of relating to companion animals and treat them with the utmost respect as our companions. We should respect their natural behaviour and do all we can to accommodate it. All companion animal breeding whether it is a cat or dog should be concerned with health and character. Appearance should fall well behind these priorities.
I know I am setting high standards and I know I fail these standards sometimes. To respect the domestic cat as a animal that is very close to the wildcat is the best way to foster a long term harmonious relationship. It is the best way to promote health and contentment in both parties to the relationship.
A cat is not a toy but a thinking, feeling, sentient creature.