On 28th March, it was Respect Your Cat Day. What does is it mean to respect your cat? You would think it would be common sense, almost. Respecting the cat will be a personal decision; as to how you do it. This is how I would do it. And I have instinctively extended the remit to cover feral and wild cats. These are not ‘our cats’ but we have responsibility for them; same difference.
Accepting your cat’s character
It might be fair to say that some cat owners treat their cat as a human member of the family. Perhaps they expect their cat to behave like a human in certain situations. For example, they might pick up their cat and treat him as a baby. There is a natural tendency to anthropomorphize domestic cats. This is why Persian cats are so popular because they have round baby faces and big baby eyes.
The first way we can respect our cats is to remind ourselves that we are living with a cat who is not that far from his wild cat ancestor in terms of character. Let him be what he wants to be and make the environment where he lives as good as possible in terms of allowing him to express his natural desires as a cat. Obviously, domestic cats live within the human environment and lots of cats live indoors full-time. To respect the cat we have to make sure that they can behave as a cat and they can only do that in an environment where their natural drives and desires can be expressed.
The second point is we have to accept our cat exactly the way he is. I am referring to her anatomy. We have to accept every part of her anatomy if we are to respect our cat and not as a fluffy companion creature modified by removing her claws which is actually 10 amputations of part of her toes.
I’m sorry to harp on about this because I don’t want to keep stating the obvious but cat declawing is the opposite of respecting your cat.
Respecting your cat also means discharging responsibilities as a cat owner to as high a standard as possible within the means at your disposal. The domestic cat lives within our world and our world is theirs. We have to make sure we take them to the veterinarian’s clinic as soon as necessary if they are ill. We have to observe them on an ongoing basis to assess whether they are healthy or not. They are dependent upon us to take care of their health and we must discharge this duty.
It is stating the obvious but if we are to respect our cat we have to make sure that they are fed the right food which means the highest possible quality wet cat food that can be afforded together with the odd treat and perhaps some dry cat food of a high quality as grazing food at night but it should be limited as it can cause bladder problems for cats who are poor drinkers.
Feral cats must feature in this article. If we are to respect the feral cat we must be introspective and remind ourselves that we created them. Once again I don’t want to harp on about the same old subject but the simple fact that we created feral cats means that if we are to respect them we must act responsibly and humanely towards them. This can only mean a non-violent approach by which I mean no shooting and killing of feral cats. Nowadays there is only one system which works which is TNR. A lot of people hate it but realistic cat lovers and indeed animal lowers know that it is the only current way of dealing with feral cats with respect.
We have to mention the wild cats in this article. The way that we can respect wild cats is to leave them alone, ensure that they have enough habitat in which to live live naturally, not to abuse them and exploit them, not poach them and to then cut them up and use their body parts in some spurious, nonsensical food product, and instead to try and live with them. Of all these, the most important is habitat. To respect the wild cats of the world we have to give them a home. This will be the hardest goal to achieve for humans because of rapid human population growth leading to settlements and businesses which encroach upon and destroy the habitats of the wild cat species.
We have to mention cat breeding in this article as well. If you work for PeTA you would argue that all cat breeding should be discontinued as soon as possible if you are to respect the cat. I understand that argument. Even a less extreme argument would insist that cat breeders must treat their cats humanely and decently. They should not be bred to extreme and focus should be on health rather than appearance. Cat breeds built upon mutations which are unnatural should be discontinued by which I mean cats such as the Scottish Fold and the Sphynx. There are others.
I am an admirer of PeTA and you can use their motto as a guiding light with deciding how to respect the cat. If you substitute “animals” for “cats”, you could say this: Cats are not ours to eat, wear, experiment on, use for entertainment, or abuse in any other way. All these things are happening to cats. They are eaten in China by the hundreds of thousands. Their fur is worn all over the world and most of that fur comes from China. They are experimented on in laboratories. They are used as entertainment in zoos and online sometimes the videos are objectionable. Finally they are abused in many ways. We know about the abuse; we are fed examples daily online. All of these things are highly disrespectful. If they stopped we would respect the cat.
P.S. there are other aspects to respecting the cat. This is an overview and limited to 1000 words.