Friday 21 October 2011

Wild Cats as Pets

Personally I am against wild cats as pets. But I have no right to be judgmental about people who think differently.

I don't think that the words "wild cat" go with the word "pet". Either a cat is a wild cat or a cat is a pet, meaning domesticated. An individual cat cannot be both. If it can be both it will not be good at either.

A wild cat that is truly wild is a magnificent creature. We admire the courage and fighting ability of the big cats. We admire their wild character and independence.

We love our domestic cats. The are wonderful companions. They are mellow in character unless the "owner" has screwed up.

So why try and merge the two and lose both atributes?

It goes further than that. The idea that you can keep a wild cat as a pet is not good in the long term for the conservation of wildcats.

On a simplistic level it encourages local people who live side by side with the small wildcats to poach them, take them out of their habitat and sell them to people who want a wild cat as a pet. That in itself is bad for conservation. Believe me the wild cats need protecting and they need conserving because as a whole they are endangered by the excesses of humankind.

Another thing troubles me about the idea that we should keep wild cats as pets. It encourages the idea that wild cats should or can be captive. It encourages the idea that wildcats are best captive and not wild. It encourages the culture of man's dominion over animals which leads to abuse of nature. It does not encourage conservation as some commentators claim.

A lot of people don't care about all that. They don't know about and don't care about wild cats. They just want the pleasure of owning one. Fair enough. But that attitude is detrimental to the planet.

We should focus on how to leave in harmony with the wildcats in their natural habitat rather than possessing them as captive animals. Wildcats do badly in captivity.

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