A place for atheists with cats to exchange pictures and anecdotes and even ask for advice regarding our feline friends.
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I have gone to pains to point out that in most cases the behavioral changes are far more subtle than outright craziness. Such as finding the smell of cat urine more palatable.
It is not just a hypothesis. Firstly he is a world recognized wolf expert."Lucyan David "Dave" Mech (born January 18, 1937) is an internationally recognized wolf expert, a senior research scientist for the U.S. Department of the Interior's U.S. Geological Survey (since 1970), and an adjunct professor at the University of Minnesota in St. Paul. He has researched wolves since 1958"
Secondly he's hypothesis is the accepted curriculum in universities. I actually first learned about it by paging through my friends text book that he had from an animal behavior course he did. And this was from Oxford university , not some two bit degree mill.
The fact is that the earlier research definitely was based upon seriously flawed studies of wolves in captivity. Not in their natural environment. Now there are some cases where unrelated wolf packs will come together and display behavior closer to what you believe. But this is the exception rather than the rule.
But even if this was a hypothesis(and 100% wrong to boot) , the fact remains that dogs are not wolves , and have not been so for tens of thousands of years. They have evolved down different paths due to completely different selection pressures. Some of the most striking examples of this is that dogs are not monogamous, feral dogs tend to live not in socially structured packs but rather form amorphous group associations , neither do feral dogs have a feeding order , and males do not kill the puppies of other males. Which are nothing like wolves. i will provide a number of links and studies below supporting this based upon the work of actual scientists and animal behaviorists. While all the stuff supporting the dominance hierarchy are either out of date ,or from supporters like Ceaser Milan. Ie non scientists who have never taken a university degree on animal behavior. Many animal trainers also subscribe to this outdated view. Which can be explained that there is no educational requirement to calling yourself a dog trainer. There are even courses that are a few hours long that certify you as an animal trainer afterwards. Calling them degree mills would actually be a complement.
Most cat lovers are just cat lovers and aren't particularly crazy. Hoarders can hoard other animals, dogs included. While I was living in Portland, Oregon, there was a rabbit hoarder. And what about people who keep and fly flocks of pigeons.
As for your point regarding dogs, so far the analysis you are espousing seems to be just a hypothesis which, though seemingly supported by HIS research, isn't the accepted description of wolf pack hierarchy.
"Well, cat loving isn't a form of schizophrenia as far as I can tell."
Have you never heard of crazy cat lady syndrome?
"Recent research indicates a link between the parasite T. gondii, which sexually reproduces exclusively in cats, and numerous psychiatric conditions, including OCD. The compulsive hoarding of cats, a symptom of obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), has long been associated with "crazy cat ladies"
Though the effects on human behavior are usually far far more subtle than outright craziness. Which is a relief, as around 1/3rd of the human population is infected with this behavior changing brain worm. One of the more subtle but interesting changes is that infected individuals find the smell of cat urine more attractive than non infected individuals. Which i guess helps infected cat owners put up with the smell of a litter box.
Your second point is only particularly true if you have an inside only cat. Most people let their cats roam. This provides most, if not all, of a cats entertainment needs.
Your last paragraph is a gross oversimplification of a wolfs social behavior, and just flat out wrong in regards to a dogs. The problem with the dominance hierarchy theory in explaining a wolfs social structure is that it based upon wolves kept in extremely unnatural conditions. Unrelated wolves are often thrown together in large numbers into an enclosure that is far to small. This is equivalent to generalizing human behavior from studying refugee camps.
In the wild , the wolf pack is a family unit consisting of the two parent wolves and their offspring. Yes the wolf parents are dominant to their children. But the exact same thing is true for human parents or a doe deer. "In wolves, recent research has indicated that dominant behaviors have been misinterpreted as personality traits that determine the individual's place in a linear hierarchy in the pack. In contrast, Mech (see recent research, above) argues that packs are family units, and that the "alpha" of a pack does not change through struggles for dominance. Rather, he argues that the family unit serves to raise the young, which then disperse to pair up with other dispersed wolves to form a breeding pair and a pack of their own. This model undermines the popular conception of dominance in wolf social behavior."
Well, cat loving isn't a form of schizophrenia as far as I can tell. Granted, I skimmed the article, but the symptom in infected humans should be or resemble schizophrenia.
Cats are not just a matter of food and water. They are far more work to understand. They are uncooperative. They say a cat has no master. Rather he has a staff. Even though you don't have to walk a cat two or three times a day, cats need play to remain keen and interested in life, so any responsible cat master must devote an almost equal time to entertaining their cat with predation play.
But also, dogs, even lap dogs, don't curl up in your lap and purr. Purring isn't only soothing to kittens, it soothes people.
dogs are...born with a hardwired desire to trust, please, obey and form strong relationships with its caregiver.
Dogs inherited the wolf's DNA and its pack mentality. Dogs simply want their place at the table. They don't want to be scorned by the pack leader, so they need suck up after any infraction that threatens their pace in the pack.
I guess pheromones are alot more palatable of an answer than the possibility of parasites in your brain influencing your behavior to like cats more?
But in all seriousness i do not consider this such a mystery. A cat requires no real expenditure of time, maintenance or even love. A cat can easily get away from us and even survive relatively well if it goes feral ( compared to a dog) and yet will happily stick around if you give it nothing else but food everyday. Kind of like a prostitute(or gold digger) who can easily leave and yet will 'love you long time' simply for paying her to stick around.
Now compare that to the expenditure of time, effort and maintenance of raising a well balanced dog. Yes it is posisible to raise a dog by giving it nothing else but food and water. But that dog would be a terror and entirely untrustworthy around people. So the amazing part is not that cats are more popular than dogs but that dogs, which require so much more time effort and money, are virtually as popular as cats.
And likening the dog human relationship to the slave slave-owner relationship is not really accurate. It would be more accurate to liken it to the child parent relationship(I am not saying we should treat dogs just like human children). Just like human children, dogs are too born with a hardwired desire to trust, please, obey and form strong relationships with its caregiver. Even if its caregivers abuse it terribly. '"if you accidentally hurt a dog - the dog apologizes to you" - It is also very common for human children to blame themselves for the abuse their parents heap upon them. Which is nothing like the slave slave-owner relationship. While a slave may apologize if you accidentally hurt them, it is not because they have any desire to do so but because they would be hurt far worse if they did not. This would be like if a dog only apologized to you after you stood on its paw because if it did not it knew you would bring out a whip. In the same way a slave has no real desire to please its owner, but only really does so because they have no better choices.
Interestingly, a few days ago I saw a nature show on TV about cats and why they the #1 pet (dogs are just behind in numbers). It said that it's easy to understand why mankind adopted dogs as pets since dogs proved useful in so many ways. But cats. Sure they kill vermin, but it has to be more than that. That doesn't explain the emotional attachment we have to an animal that, compared to dogs, really doesn't try too hard to befriend us. I think there may be some pheromones involved.
I always say that having a dog is somewhat like owning a slave of the house nigga variety ("Yeah, Massa, what you wan' me to do now?") whereas a cat is more of a roommate that is a pleasure sometimes but can be hard to get along with sometimes.
There is also a fair bit of research on how they effect human behavior. Which makes sense as our neurochemistry is not all that different from a rats.
Not to mention inside cats are less likely to pick up and infect you with toxoplasma gondii.Which is the most common parasitic infection in humans. It is a charming little parasite that lives in the brain and has been linked to an increased likelihood of mental health issues like schizophrenia, Alzheimer, Parkinson and OCD , it has also been linked to a host of other subtle personality changes and decreased reaction times with a subsequent 3 fold increase in car accidents.
When it infects rats it makes them more attracted to cats, especially their smell ,and there is some evidence to show it can cause similar behavior in humans. So not only do cats worm their way into your heart but they often also infect you with a brain parasite to like cats more.
Makes you wonder how much of your love for cats may come from a little worm in your brain telling you to like cats.
It's an ebook. It'll be available on the Kindle and Nook sites and a couple others.
Anyway, back to your situation. A lot of people believe that cats should stay indoors both to protect the native species from an invasive species and for their own protection from cars, dogs, etc.
My daughter had a cat which we let outdoors, but we lived up against a wood which is where she mostly went. However, she did wander in neighbor's yards and out into the street (a quiet cul-de-sac) where she got into a fight with a BIG tom on one occasion. This tom was practically a bobcat with paws as big around as an American silver dollar (I think you Aussies have a similar large coin). She was getting the worst of it when my daughter went to break it up and then she got the worst of it. I'm telling you that so you don't feel I'm judging you.
I let Squeaky out on the balcony which has its own dangers. She likes to walk around on the narrow railing six floors up. I think some people are too strict. I want Squeaky to be a cat as much as I can let her be one, not just a living plush toy. She gets fresh air and might even catch a bird someday since I do put wild bird seed out, especially now that winter is setting in.
If you read my book, what name were you using then? Or...how did you get a copy of the book?
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