Human-companion animal partnerships substituting conventional relationships

Taylor Swift relating to her Ragdoll cat as a baby
Taylor Swift relating to her Ragdoll cat as a baby. Image: Instagram.
Two useful tags. Click either to see the articles:- Toxic to cats | Dangers to cats

There is an overlap between parents caring for their baby/infant and humans caring for their cats and dogs. The infographic below summarises some of these overlapping aspects of the relationship. There is a trend, too, in developed countries to adopt a pet over having a baby! Pope Francis, the current Pope, doesn’t like it and sees it as ungodly. Married couples should have kids. It’s their duty. But many are shunning it. Perhaps one reason is that the world looks too destabilised. The future does not look great for children. Potential parents perceive this.

Any many people are turning their backs on marriage and human partnerships, they are preferring to adopt a cat or dog instead. There are many advantages to the latter. Firstly, dogs and cats are better partners :)! A debatable statement but up to 50% of people in the West believe it according to a study.

Domestic animals are more reliable and they are not judgemental. The dog is obedient. Great for some men! A lot of men find that they can discharge their innate desire to nurture with a dog, while women can enjoy the same process with a cat companion. Hence the often-seen description of ‘fur baby’ when referring to a cat.

Fur babies is a good description for cats and dogs!
Fur babies is a good description for cats and dogs! Infographic by MikeB.

There is a general trend of human population decline. Euronews states:

China is forecast to lose almost half of its people by 2100, plunging from more than 1.4 billion to 771 million inhabitants. Russia, Germany, South Korea and Spain are all set to join this downward movement, with their populations beginning to decline by 2030.

Flawed human psyche?

In parallel there is a general increase in the population of cats and dogs worldwide. The future looks different. There seems to be a fundamental flaw in the human psyche; an inability to ensure that partnerships remain stable and enduring. Many work well but far too often marriages fail these days. There is a very high failure rate.

The partnerships between cats and dogs and their owners are far more durable than between a couple of humans. That’s because cats and dogs are more reliable as mentioned. They don’t play games or argue. They fit in with their human’s life rather than grate against it. That might be a bit too negative but the average marriage in the UK lasts around 9 years which is half the lifespan of a pet cat! Most people care for their cat until the day their companion animal dies.

Fur baby

This topic is interesting from another perspective. The cat breeders realising that people often relate to cats as babies have created cats that look like babies! Not all the time obviously, but as mentioned in the infographic the Scottish Fold looks very baby-like with a rounded face as the ear flaps are missing. This breed should not have been created in truth. The Persian is a failure too in moulding the face to look baby-like of flower-like. Horrible. And unhealthy.

But the breeding of round/cobby cats with big round eyes that are huge in relation to head size is fairly common. The Burmese is a bit like that. This is the overlap between real babies and fur babies.

It isn’t just about the nurturing relationship between woman and cat which mirrors the mother-baby relationship to a large extent, it is that cats are sometimes baby-like in appearance.

Caution needed

There is not a lot wrong with humans relating to cats and dogs as children. The upside is that strong caring bonds are created which improves animal welfare. The downside is that some humans can have misplaced expectations and expect their cat to behave like a child. And they can handle their cat as they would a child which may be a problem from the cat’s perspective.

Anthropomorphizing the cat or dog

This is humanizing the cat or dog. It is a natural thing to do. It underpins the causation process which leads to people calling their pets ‘fur babies’. Humans have done this throughout history which is very apparent in medieval paintings of cats. They look like humans! Hundreds of years ago people were terrible at drawing/painting cats. It doesn’t matter which nationality the painter was.

Medieval cat painting from Europe
Medieval cat painting from Europe. Another hybridised cat/human I would say. You can see the human face. I suspect that what you’re looking at is the face of the artist! In mediaeval times the world was more human-centric than it is today which is saying quite a lot because the world is still heavily human-centric to the detriment of the planet and nature.

Message to Taylor Swift: please don’t think your cat is a baby

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