Some people might think that considering the cat the best companion animal in today’s society is an excessive, imprecise and partisan claim. It is also possible to completely change one’s opinion after having direct contact with such a remarkable feline.
Cats have always been well known for being independent, neurotic, mysterious and the bearers of disaster. These are some of the labels they have been given historically. A difficult history that has taken them from the altars to the fires of Hell, from glory to persecution. Cats were highly honoured in Ancient Egypt where they were entrusted with guarding the royal treasures, and had their most difficult time during the Middle Ages, where they were burned at the stake with their highly controversial partners, witches.
But an animal that vies with dogs, the traditional star of our homes, for first place must have some positive points. Many of our neighbouring countries have already chosen cats as the first option among companion animals. In Spain the scales are practically balanced, although it seems as if in a short time His Majesty The Cat must take first place.
But what are the virtues that are displacing the animal that has traditionally been considered man’s best friend? Aside from the species’ peculiar qualities, the main characteristic that has placed cats ahead is their ability to adapt to today’s lifestyle. It would seem that work is at the centre of our lives, and any obstacle to following this strict and rigid line does not seem to fit in. Almost half of the population of Spain owns a pet, a number that would probably grow if the virtues of our extraordinary friend were better known.
Cats do not need to be walked or played with outside the house. They do not need large houses to enjoy an excellent quality of life. They are one of the cleanest pets: they groom themselves and go to the toilet in a predefined and especially designed place.
To these characteristics we could add that cats usually accept solitude without complaint. This allows them to bear their owner’s absence for work reasons without causing problems. And, if we dig deeper into their virtues, we should not forget that, contrary to what many people think, they are extremely affectionate animals that charm their owners with their special behaviour.
However, are they perfect? With cats as pets, problems appear in most cases because their owners are not aware of their peculiar qualities. Cats are not small dogs. This assertion seems absurd, but they are often treated this way. We can guarantee that the majority of the problems that arise when living day-to-day with a cat lie in the owner’s ignorance and not because the cat has any ulterior motives.
If you do your share and try to tune into this animal’s very special and surprising characteristics, we are convinced that cats will turn into your first choice as a pet.
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Colegio Oficial de Veterinarios de Alicante
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