Are cats completely domesticated?

Putting aside selectively bred pedigree breeds, which are a tiny minority, most cats choose their own mates and go where they please unless they are neutered and confined to the home. However, although in the West domestic cats are spayed and neutered and often confined to the home, in the majority of the world they are not. Because they can choose their own mate and do what they want to do it is hard to agree that cats are completely domesticated. Complete domestication implies that humankind has complete control over an animal including which individual cats are allowed to breed and which are not.

Persian cat with lion cut on hind legs
Persian cat with lion cut on hind legs. Picture in public domain.
Until September 7th I will give 10 cents to an animal charity for every comment. It is a way to help animal welfare without much effort at no cost. Comments help this website too, which is about animal welfare.

The inescapable conclusion is that cats (and of course we are referring to domestic cats) are not completely domesticated. We don’t really have to be that specific to come to an answer. Observant cat guardians see the wild cat ancestor in their domestic cat companions all the time. Cat owners don’t so much as control their feline companions as accommodate them. If you want to get a cat to do something you can’t force it, you have to use your intelligence to trick your cat into doing what you want. You use their wild cat traits to get your way. That’s why understanding cats well helps with the relationship.

In contrast, the dog is much more domesticated. Perhaps there are two reasons for this (1) they have been domesticated for up to three times longer than cats and (2) the primary purpose was as a working animal and they still are primarily working animals in many parts of the world. As a working animal may have to do as they are trained and told for the benefit of the human owner.

One reason why some people hate cats is because they are not completely domesticated. A lot of people, perhaps insecure people, don’t like cats to not do as they’re told, to be independent. Arguably cat hating people like dominion over animals to use the words of the Bible. It is a sign of insecurity so I would suggest that people who dislike cats are more insecure than those that like them. But that is another subject.

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