Do we demand too much from our domestic cats?

It can be argued that, in the 21st century, people demand too much from domestic cats. It is only recently, say within the past 10-20 years that people in general have altered their expectations of how domestic cats should behave. In the past cats kept pace with human expectations. There was little talk of environmental damage and the loss of wild species.

Can domestic cats meet our expectations?
Can domestic cats meet our expectations?
Two useful tags. Click either to see the articles: Toxic to cats | Dangers to cats

Because of a dramatically increased world human population and continuing human population growth there is increased pressure and threats on wild species both plant and animal. Climate change, a human problem, has added to the threats. There is a quiet catastrophe happening with the reported gradually extinction of around one million species.

Rather than focus on themselves humans look for easier ways to conserve species and sometimes they turn to the domestic and feral cat. Nowadays cats cannot meet the demands and expectations of humans with respect to predation. People don’t want cats to hunt anymore. If they are feral cats that are hunting they want them eliminated. If domestic cats hunt they want to keep them inside the home.

Humans did a deal with wild cats 9,500 years ago. It stated that the cat should be a pest controller due to its hunting skills and the human should care for the cat. Humans no longer want the domestic cat to be a hunter as they find it objectionable. That form of feline behaviour does not fit in with the modern world where there is a lot more focus on the environment and conservation. Cat owners want companionship from their cats. They can’t always satisfy this expectation which is why we often see cats criticised for being aloof and cold.

Local authorities all over America and Australia are scratching their heads over how to protect wild animals from domestic and feral cat predation. They wrestle with the problem and make inroads into fixing it through imposing rules on cat ownership but in the longterm the answer is for the domestic cat to evolve some more to the point where they no longer wish to hunt or to wander outside in nature. That evolution will take hundreds if not thousands of years and it will be far too slow for the anxious human.

The same sort of over-expectation takes place inside the home. Cat owners often believe that they should be free to choose their cat’s companions while disregarding the domestic cat’s core character inherited from their wild cat origins; solitariness and a territorial attitude. Some cat owners presume that as dogs are flexible when accepting canine companions the same should apply to felines. Often house cats don’t really get along that well or at best they accept each other.

This is another character trait which does not always meet with human expectation and which will probably iron itself out over future hundreds of years of evolution.

Cat breeders are able to selectively breed for appearance and character which results in cats like the Persian and Ragdoll both of which are more in tune with human expectation. They are designed for the unnatural human world and companionship. But purebred cats are still relatively very rare when taken in the context of the world domestic cat population.


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Useful tag. Click to see the articles: Cat behavior

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Useful links
Anxiety - reduce it
FULL Maine Coon guide - lots of pages
Children and cats - important
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