Companion Vs. Other Animals
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Companion Vs. Other Animals
Comments by Gary Loewenthal - 3 Aug 2007

It is amazing how people categorize. I think one factor is conditioning. No one clamors for pig's milk or cat's milk, even if it would taste similar to cow's milk. And I suspect people would be grossed out by ice cream made with milk from human volunteers, even though it would be much more humane and healthier than cow's milk.

People dig into pig torso flesh, but not pig intestines or head. Chicken is common but how many people would consent to eating fried robin? Which gets me to thinking...if one grows up in a meat- and dairy-free society, the idea of creating animals just to kill them and eat them might seem abhorrent.

Re: cats. Cats can be amazingly affectionate. Perhaps this is even more impressive than dogs' affection since cats still are very much similar to to their wild ancestors. Many people like cats' combination of independence and friendship. (And some randomness thrown in.) Of course, every animal is different. My cat is like my shadow; our bond is profound. Also, of course, animals' worth should not be based on how friendly they are toward humans.

You are right that indoor cats can become bored in an unstimulating environment. Guardians must ensure that the cats they care for have scratching posts, cat trees (store-bought or homemade), daily interactive play, toys and treats to discover, hiding places, elevated perches with views of backyard wildlife, opportunities to be social, and so forth. Often, another cat (or cat-friendly dog) as a companion is a good strategy. There are abundant resources on the web for making one's abode accommodating and interesting for cats (and other companion animals). In any event, if the cat is rescued or adopted, the home environment may be far better than a cage or being out in the street.

You are also right that there is a conflict between veganism and buying non-vegan food for a carnivorous companion animal. Perhaps this conflict is lessened somewhat if the cat is rescued rather than bred. Cats unlike people are obligate carnivores, although some companies are working on vegan formulas. As awareness and demand for veganism in general grows, that will probably hasten the development of nutritionally complete and balanced vegan cat food that has a proven track record. That could be as little as a decade away.

Gary

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