Writing in the Times newspaper today, Deborah Ross says that she doesn’t even consider her dog as a pet (implying she considers her dog as something much more important). She then goes on to say:
“A goldfish, yes; that’s a pet. A rabbit is a pet. A cat is a pet. A hamster? Good luck with that. But you share a life with a dog…”
As can you see, Deborah thinks that cats are pets while dogs are true companions in almost the same league as humans.
On behalf of all domestic cats I feel insulted by that. It is completely inaccurate and it besmirches the character of the domestic cat and yet again it is the work of a journalist. Clearly Deborah Ross has no knowledge of the domestic cat and the relationships, in their millions across the globe, in which people share their lives with their cat in much the same way that other people share their lives with the domestic dog.
I’m not sure why Deborah came to this conclusion that cats are less of a companion animal than dogs. Let’s first mention that the word “pet” is somewhat derogatory and I nearly always avoid it for that reason. The word pet indicates a creature of lower standing. It almost hints at the animal being like a toy to amuse us.
As Deborah has bracketed the domestic cat with a goldfish, it implies to me that she thinks that the domestic cat is less intelligent than the dog and less interactive and therefore is less able to provide companionship. All of us, who understand cats, know that that is inaccurate.
Deborah also says that you share your life with the dog implying that you don’t share your life with a cat which is frankly ridiculous. She says that she is completely in tune with her dog. Any genuine cat caretaker would say exactly the same thing about their cat.
She also says that dogs tell their owners that they love them every day implying that cats don’t but I disagree with that completely once again. Cats show their love in many different ways but it is of equal value.
Cats are not in-your-face, and their form of communication is more subtle than dogs but nonetheless there is a ton of communication between cat guardians and their cats.
Cats are more independent and less needy than dogs but personally I do not think that it means that a cat is less of a companion. To some people, it is an advantage. Cats are more able to look after themselves and require less maintenance. Many people like that.
However, she does mention one thing which also hints at speciesism (a form of racism against another species). She refers to the well-known television programme in the United Kingdom, For the Love of Dogs, which stars Paul O’Grady and which is filmed at Battersea Dogs & Cats Home.
Battersea Dogs & Cats Home is a world-famous rescue center for cats and dogs located in central London, in the area called Battersea. I believe that there is a good argument for a similar television program which could be filmed at a major cat rescue centre. What about Cats Protection in the UK? They use volunteers who foster their rescue cats but I feel that there could be a television program in that.
In addition, I don’t see why the cats at Battersea Dogs & Cats Home cannot have their own television program. I feel there is a need to raise the profile of rescue cats and what better way than making a daytime television program about them.
Photos: from Blink on Instagram