Saturday 26 September 2020

The dependence and independence of the domestic cat

The domestic cat is both dependent and independent. In many respects domestic cats are far more independent than we are but in one major respect they are highly dependent: for safety, security, sustenance and warmth.

However, unlike us they are not dependent upon water, shampoo and soap in order to wash themselves (unless they fall into a paint pot). In this respect they are entirely independent relying, as they do, on their saliva and their comb-like tongue to do what is necessary. And they do a great job in keeping their coat in first class condition provided they are not overweight, infirm, ill or they have been bred to extreme with overly-long coats. Sometimes they do enjoy some help from a feline friend although this is not strictly required.

British SHs allogrooming. Photo: Karen Goldsmith (Germany)

The domestic cat is also completely independent with respect to clothes. Humans have a wardrobe full of clothes or they normally do. My wardrobe is incredibly small but I am dependent upon wearing something whereas domestic cats wear the same clothes day in day out, whatever the weather conditions and whether they are inside or outside the home. It is a self-generating coat. It is constantly being renewed and it never wears out unless, once again, they are ill in which case there could be hair loss.

Of course, the domestic cat's wild ancestor is entirely independent in every regard. It is only domestication which burdens the domestic cat with a reliance upon people the sustenance and safety. But for domestication, the domestic cat would be entirely self-reliant.

We should, perhaps, marvel at the purity of the self-reliance of the domestic cat in the clothes they wear on the showers that they do not need. 

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