Monday 15 November 2021

Do you think having cats is a burden?

A British woman living in London asked the question in the title. And the answer must be that cats are indeed a burden sometimes but the pleasure they bring you in various forms hugely outweigh the burden. 

But it cannot be avoided that the responsibility of looking after a domestic cat companion can be a burden. There are chores to do. There is money to spend. There is worrying to do about your cat's welfare and health. There are vets to see. There are litter trays to clear and there are sofas to protect from scratches. There are cat scratching posts to purchase from Amazon up and so on and so forth.

This is the woman's beautiful grey cat
This is the woman's beautiful grey cat. She complained about him knocking over water and of having to clear out the litter tray of a prodigious amount of shit. She appears to have flushed it down the toilet. This is not recommended by the way.

Perhaps the biggest burden is the worry in providing your cat with good levels of security and safety. But if you keep your cat indoors all the time, which is much safer, there is the worry about entertaining your cat and making sure that they are fully stimulated. The worry of boredom creeping into your cat's life is ever present. Worry is a burden but it is all part and parcel of being a cat caregiver.

But if the British lady was asking whether domestic cats are a burden without benefit then firstly she's wrong and secondly there is no point in her having cats. For about half the human population of the world cats are just a burden with no benefit. They don't really like cats.

However, a noted advantage of cats over dogs is that they are less of a burden than dogs, I would argue. You take a dog to a park in winter for a walk and you have got some serious cleaning up to do afterwards. They end up covered in mud. And dogs look to their human master for leadership. You got to provide it. That's responsibility and responsibility is by definition a burden of some sort.

Cats are more independent it is said. This is a slight misinterpretation of the human-cat relationship in my view because they are not independent by any means. But they give the impression of being independent. They don't look to their human for leadership as dogs do. They look to us for companionship, food, warmth and security.

The bottom line in answering the question is that where there is benefit as there is in the human-to-cat relationship, for both parties, there must by necessity be an equivalent burden of responsibility. It's one of the laws of nature 😟.

Obviously, if you live with more than one cat or several cats then responsibilities are magnified and so is the burden. There comes a time in that formula in my opinion when the burden outweighs the benefits. What I'm saying is that there is probably an optimum number of cats that a person should look after and live with. That optimum number would range between 1-5 approximately in my view.

If a person looks after 10, 20 or more cats then the chances are that any increase in benefit is out done by the extra demands in terms of caregiving.

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