Showing posts with label carecaregiving. Show all posts
Showing posts with label carecaregiving. Show all posts

Thursday 11 April 2024

Cat and dog ownership is about pleasing people not the cats and dogs

Of course, in cat and dog ownership the caregivers often do their best to keep their pets happy. And that sentence appears to contradict the title. What I'm saying, though, is that the ultimate goal of a cat or dog owner is most often to please themselves; to find support from their companion animal. That's often the primary objective when people adopt or purchase/adopt a pet.

Human centrism as depicted by an AI computer DALL-E 3.

History


This primary goal shows itself in how pet ownership has developed over hundreds of years. If you turn the clock back in let's say Britain and look at cat ownership then, cats were allowed much more freedom to behave naturally. There were more community cats in Britain hundreds of years ago.

To allow cats to behave naturally is to please them. Of course hundred years ago there were no veterinary services and therefore cats had a shorter lifespan. They would have been ill more often which makes cats unhappy. 

They would been fed human scraps rather than specially formulated cat food. All these were negatives to cat contentment but at the heart of cat caregiving in the early part of the 19th century cats were allowed behave more naturally compared to today. That's the point I'm making ultimately.

Jumping forward to today, then, although cats and dogs are healthier in some regards today they are, arguably less content. I'll highlight some specific points to support that statement.



And I'm going to refer to an environmental historian who provided advice for an article on The Guardian newspaper online for some pointers on this. Their name is Troy Vettese. Troy said:
“If people really cared about animals, we would only engage in rescues and helping animal sanctuaries’ wildlife rehabilitation – things that we find fulfilling, but that also help the animal. [Instead] we only like relationships where they are easy, where the pets are well maintained, where we can hire a dog walker, where it impinges as little as possible on our life and we are extracting as much emotional support as we want from them."
He regards the relationship as very selfish. It is indeed human-centric. The cat-to-human relationship and the dog-to-human relationship very much centres around what the human wants and desires and gets. Of course, there is a wide spectrum of types of relationship with some being far better than others but that is the underpinning process.

Pandemic


The human-centric nature of pet ownership became very apparent during the Covid-19 pandemic. Cats and dogs were adopted because people were in lockdown. They wanted company. They adopted animals for themselves. They thought less of the long-term future and how they would cope with cat and dog caregiving which resulted in surrenders to rescues and sales on Facebook when the pandemic ended. Another signal of the human-centric nature of pet ownership nowadays.

This led to many reports of shelters being overrun with abandoned pets. The RSPCA were one example who complained about this.

Expansion


In America, pet ownership has expanded a lot as is the case in the UK and I suspect in other developed countries. A report on the pet industry in the US states that 70% of US households have a pet. A massive upscaling of pet ownership.

Indoors


But in parallel with that there has been a definite trend towards keeping cats indoors full-time which is good and bad. I have said in the past that people keep their cats indoors full-time primarily for their benefit; for their emotional well-being to prevent them being anxious about their cat when they go outside. Most people don't keep their cats inside to protect wildlife. They keep them inside to feel better themselves. But they don't enrich the indoor environment which leads to an unnatural environment for the cat and a less contented life.

And it is said that dogs have "less and less freedom to move around the world and be dogs". Those are the thoughts of Jessica Pierce, a bioethicist.

Breeding


And then we can turn to cat and dog breeding. The cat fancy didn't exist before the late 1800s and the same applies to dogs broadly speaking although dog domestication started 20k years ago compared to cats at 10k years ago. 

But since then, selective breeding has created some dogs and cats with extraordinary appearances which are unnatural and frankly unhealthy. Purebred cats and dogs inherit more illnesses than random bred cats and dogs. That's a result of selective breeding. And selective breeding is about pleasing owners. It's a human-centric process. And when you breed animals you kill more shelter animals. Another process which points to pleasing people rather than doing the right thing for companion animals.

Objects


Jessica Pierce claims that people nowadays are more likely to treat dogs and cats as objects than they were in the past. This is evident in the selective breeding argument above. Selective breeding is a moulding of a cat or dog so they have an interesting appearance while almost ignoring the health consequences. You couldn't get more human-centric.

Family members


And we know that cats and dogs nowadays are very often treated as family members. Like little people. Like kids. Like toddlers and people buy them clothes sometimes and dress them up. They do this to please themselves but not their cat or dog. And sometimes perhaps rarely dog owners have an artist paint a portrait of their companion animal and hang it over the mantelpiece. Just like a family member.

Starter kids


The business side of the pet ownership industry has burgeoned. And people are having pets rather than children. They sometimes adopt a cat or dog as a starter child. This has upset the current Pope who wants Italians to have children rather than adopt a pet.

The process is one of converting an animal to a human. If you treat a cat or dog as a human you are not really respecting the animal and doing right by the animal. There should be a focus on what an animal needs to be content which means creating a world fit for the animal in which they can express their natural desires.

Overindulge


And people sometimes overindulge their animals which has resulted in what veterinarians describe as an 'obesity epidemic'. Once again this is about people wishing to be nice to their pet resulting in overfeeding and a lack of exercise for their companion animal. Human failings based around but humans want to do and not what is right for their animal.

Emotional support


Pierce claims that often people tend to adopt a dog as a support animal, and emotional aid. She says this is not good for dog health and claims that veterinary literature reports that the level of dog anxiety is "off the charts".

People are asking dogs and cats to fulfil a human need and looking for unconditional love. This appears to be humans controlling their pet to the point where they are only allowed to give unconditional love. If they were allowed more freedoms with they give it?

Focusing on cat and dog needs


Another thought is that even when cat and dog owners are very thoughtful and conscientious they intend to underestimate the needs and desires of their companions. It's difficult to say it but the domestic cat is a top predator. They need to prey on animals to be content. It is their raison d'être. It is the centre of their lives. Bang them up in they home full-time and they can't do it and they become unhappy. They lack mental stimulation and opportunities to do what they want. They sleep all the time. They eat for pleasure. They become fat. Sometimes they suffer from separation anxiety when their owner leaves them alone all day.

Boredom


Vettese believes that "the boredom of animals is intense." He is referring to parrots stuck in cages bored out of their minds and stressed. But the same can apply to many indoor cats.

The captivity of cats is an issue. The full-time indoor MO makes them zoo animals in effect. And we know how bad zoos are the wild animals and the domestic cat, at heart is a wild animal.

Adopt from rescues


One thing we can do better is to adopt animals from rescue centres only. In line with this, many American jurisdictions are preventing pet shops from selling animals such as cats and dogs and forcing people to adopt them from shelters or the pet shop can be an extension of a shelter. The concept of breeding cats and dogs and then buying them is very human-centric and treating them as objects such as a new car. Dog and cat breeds are about appearance because humans are fascinated with appearance.

Ownership and caregiving


There is a distinction between owning and caring for a companion animal. The concept of ownership is wrong in terms of fostering good cat and dog caregiving. Ownership fosters or reinforces a problematic attitude towards animals and renders them as a property whereas caregiving fosters treating animals as animals. Respecting them more.

Failure


I have argued that cat domestication is a failure when considered overall. A thought. Too many feral cats. Each feral cat is a sign of failure.
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P.S. please forgive the occasional typo. These articles are written at breakneck speed using Dragon Dictate. I have to prepare them in around 20 mins.

Sunday 31 December 2023

Do you have sinus problems? Take an antihistamine tablet before you go to bed!

This is indirectly about cats: it is about the mental state of the cat caregiver. The better he/she feels the more likely it will be that their caregiving will be of  high standard. Miserable caregivers because of poor health might struggle to be a good companion to their cat.

I suffer from sinusitis. It is not bad but I do have a sinus problem. I use various tricks to deal with it. I'd like to pass them on as they work for me. I am 'paying it forward' as they say although no one told me about these methods. It was a case of trial and error over many years.


The key is prevention. If the sinuses become full of fluid they create a good medium for bacteria to grow. You can develop a bacterial infection in your sinuses particularly after a viral infection due to a cold. I believe I needs to minimise the amount of liquid in one's sinuses. It is about DRYING UP the sinuses.

You can achieve this by taking an antihistamine tablet at night, every night. You wake up with a clear nose and the benefit carries through during the day. Taking the pill at night is useful because if it causes drowsiness it means you sleep better. Taking antihistamine pills in the daytime can sometimes make people a little drowsy which impairs function.

In addition, I use NeilMed which is a solution to flush out your nose. This helps to keep it clear which reduces the possibility of irritants being in your nasal passages which in turn might stimulate the production of sinus fluids. The objective once again is to minimise the amount of liquid inside your sinuses.

I also use a pressure equalizer. This is a device which opens up the eustachian tube from the ear to the mouth. I'm not sure how much this helps but I do it anyway.

Please feel free to ask a question in the comments section.

Note: I am not a doctor. I'm just passing on my personal experiences. Antihistamine tablets are bought over-the-counter and therefore you don't need a prescription for them. The advice I'm giving cannot cause harm but if you have some concerns then please see your doctor. The basic advice I am delivering is based on common sense but it took me a long time to work it out! :)

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P.S. please forgive the occasional typo. These articles are written at breakneck speed using Dragon Dictate. I have to prepare them in around 20 mins.

Monday 25 September 2023

Young cats are skinnier than middle-aged cats

 A user on the Reddit.com website was concerned about their recently adopted young Maine Coon. As you can see in the photograph, he is quite skinny. He looks a little bit underweight to me. But young cats tend to be skinnier than older cats. They are more active and they don't tend to eat enough to bulk up to counteract the increased activity in my view. 

And in any case, Maine Coon cats tend to be quite rangy or skinny below that shaggy coat. That's the normal shape but you don't want your young Maine Coon cat to be too skinny.

Young MC is skinny. Image: Reddit user: u/morbidleo

I think it's okay to feed treats in moderate amounts which might help to bulk them up a little bit. My cat is not a Maine Coon but he likes king prawns! He likes them so much that I can bulk him up a bit because he was skinny when he was a youngster. In middle age he's become a little stockier in appearance which is fine.

If a young cat is skinny, it's okay. You might describe them as fighting fit. But you've got to make sure that they are actually fit and not suffering from some sort of health problem. Being underweight is a symptom of illness but the trouble is that there are a large number of illnesses which can cause a cat to be underweight.

But it should be apparent if a cat is ill causing the cat to be underweight because they would have lost their appetite. This is a case of watching a cat and making sure that they are eating enthusiastically. Young cats should eat pretty enthusiastically. They should be doing everything enthusiastically!

Tuesday 12 September 2023

Keeping cats indoors is a rare solution where everybody wins including the cat. Is this correct?

Full-time indoors
Full-time indoors. Image: MikeB (Canva).

In The Guardian today there is an article written by Calla Wahlquist which says that keeping cats indoors is a solution where everybody wins. By "everybody" I presume she means people and cats. She is goes on to state that "cats should be kept indoors for the sake of cats".

For full-time indoor cats their behaviour is neutered as is their anatomy. It is the modern way to turn cats into fluffy plush feline toys. - MikeB

How does she know? How does she know what is good for cats? Is she mind reading domestic cats? No, she's not. All she is doing is stating that when cats are kept indoors, they are protected and therefore safer. But that might not be the same thing as being what's good for cats. Domestic cats might like to take risks. They might not mind being injured or hurt or killed. Perhaps their normal lifestyle is to take risks? Perhaps they are happier when they take risks.

Perhaps they need to be predators outside unsupervised. Perhaps being happy and living a life which is shorter is better than being unhappy and living a life which is longer. A lot of people think that statement is true.

And there is a big hole in her argument. People do keep cats indoors a lot nowadays to protect wildlife and keep their cat safe but they do not enrich the interior of their homes to ensure that their full-time indoor cats are kept entertained; kept happy. They just close the doors on them and confine them to what is a list zoo-like but entirely human environment. Somewhat sterile. Perhaps very sterile.

And that's why you often see people saying that their cat sleeps all day. Absolutely! That's all he or she can do. There is nothing else to do but to sleep/snooze because the poor thing is confined to the indoors all the time and the owner is not entertaining them. He or she is not playing with them. There is no way to express their character. The natural drives are neutered as are they. There is no cat companion to play with. Is that better for the cat?

The reason why people keep cats indoors all the time is for their peace of mind. That is the primary purpose. The secondary purpose is to keep wildlife safe but you will find in studies that the vast majority of people don't really care about keeping wildlife safe. They want to keep their cats safe because they don't want to be anxious about their cat being hurt outside. Or lost or stolen.

The decision to keep a cat indoors full-time is human-centric. It is about human emotions primarily. And in Australia where there is a trend towards keeping cats indoors full-time or curfews on keeping cats indoors at night, this changing human behaviour is a directive from the authorities. It is the conservationists of Australia who are telling the authorities to do all they can to stop domestic cat preying on native mammals and marsupials, especially the small ones. 

And so, the authorities dictate to people to keep the cats indoors. If it wasn't for that directive, I don't think they would do it. Unless of course they've being fully indoctrinated about protecting wildlife which actually might be the case.

I can't even be bothered to read Calla's article because I know what it states before I read it. It's just talking about protecting wildlife and then arguing back from there to say that it's better for cats anyway to keep them indoors. Frankly, it isn't. 

If we really wanted to make the domestic cat's life better, we would allow them to go outside perhaps into a large enclosure which encompasses the entire backyard full of games for the cat to play and trees to climb. No one will do that because it's too expensive. They will just close the front and back door and call the job done. I get it. I understand what's going on but Calla is wrong when she confidently says that everybody wins.

When you keep cats indoors full-time the cat does not win. They lose. They lose their life. They lose a chance to express that predatory drive. To hunt, to chase the feel alive. Their behaviour is neutered as well as their anatomy.

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