Wednesday 25 April 2012

Mutual Benefit of Cat Human Relationship

The domestic cat to human relationship is of mutual benefit. That is why the relationship exists. There was a moment thousands of years ago when the cat went from being a utilitarian animal (in killing rodents to protect grain), to becoming a companion animal and then a member of the family who sometimes takes precedence over other humans.

Human Benefits
  • Physiological - control over blood pressure, relaxation, decrease in anxiety, improved survival, longer lifespan after heart attacks.
  • Psychological - decreased depression, improvement in mood.
  • Practical - animal-assisted therapy, alerts to oncoming medical problems (anecdotal), focal point for conversation and action.
  • Communal cooperation, common goal - e.g. assisting in trap-neuter-return programmes, assisting in reducing cat abuse including eliminating declawing, devocalisation operations,  or being part of a team of foster carers for cats that need rehoming.
Cat Benefits
  • Reliable food source/supply.
  • Medical care.
  • Protection from predators and disease.
  • Pleasant environment (dependent on the quality of the cat caretaker).
  • Decreased stress (also dependent on skills and commitment of human).
Note: it could be argued that the relationship is unbalanced as millions of unwanted cats are deliberately killed each year at shelters. Accordingly as a result, it could also be argued that the domestication of the cat has been a failure for the cat due to humankind's inability to respect the cat sufficiently.

Associated: Human - cat relationship

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