Sunday, July 25, 2010

Baby substitute

I was sitting at the computer replying to comments on my last post and feeling a bit sad. Then Cassie cat wandered into the study and leapt up on my lap. After turning round a few times to find the most comfortable position, she settled down, leaned back into the crook of my left arm and started purring.
She's a very pretty cat - rather small and very very soft. And I sat there rubbing her head with my right hand and she purred and purred and purred.
All this impeded my typing.
And I thought how odd it is that even modern human beings, with their sophisticated lifestyles, cynicism, technical abilities and knowledge of history and language and all that, can be comforted and completely charmed by a small furry creature weighing just over 3 kilos - 6 and a bit pounds - for no better reason than that it's beautiful, fluffy, dependent and trusting. And I'm sure the same sort of thing - or only slightly different - can be said for our relationship with dogs.
She's just returned to my lap and now I'm typing with one hand because the other is stroking her.
I suppose that we're hard-wired to protect small things and when we run out of small humans, we turn to substitutes. Which may be a bit pathetic but it's lovely. And very handy for cats and dogs.


  1. I think cats sense when you're sad. El Pussy Gato always comes and snuggles up with me when I'm feeling down. He also is very soft,and snow white. Best therapist around!

  2. The relationship we have with our animals is fascinating. It doesn't matter how loving a family we have, animals still give us something. Maybe it's the dependent and trusting aspect you mention, but a relationship between us and our animals is not pathetic - it's wonderful.
    And making exceptions here for people who can't have pets because of allergies or they travel a lot, or live somewhere they can't have them, people who love and keep animals are just better adjusted and more compassionate.

  3. Cat fur is so delightfully soft and just begs to be stroked. Stroking must be good for cats, and who else but humans can do it? Being licked by another cat is obviously not the same. I do so wish I had a cat.

  4. Anonymous12:47 pm

    Nurturers must nurture!

  5. Isn't it wonderful that we have our kitties? And ohmygoodness, I'd forgotten how petite Cassie is -- Scruff, weighing in at around 17 obese pounds would probably squish her!

  6. I read a quote somewhere about cats being an excellent baby substitute because of their size and big eyes, but it is their purr that I find so therapeutic.

    It was agony losing our last cat because I had no cat to comfort me in my misery!

  7. Been there - done that...and love that purring and calmness that ensues.

  8. Apparently we and they release the same happy bonding hormone brain chemical thingy that happens with mothers and babies.

    As you say, it's handy for dogs and cats, as a species, but their vulnerability and dependence on us isn't always happy for them individually. Still, Cassie looks pretty happy about it!

  9. I do so agree! Your cats are so beautifully glossy and gorgeous.
    Pets are good for almost every aspect of one's wellbeing, given that they lower blood pressure and give unconditional love and companionship for the lonely... as well as the accompanied!

  10. Smiling and agreeing with you all on the warm and fuzzies we get with cats. Only trouble with our Topsy is that she is so big, it nearly breaks my back to pick her up, so I have to wait until she is in the mood to jump up on the couch beside me. Even then she gets all patted out after a few minutes, and hops off the couch to go into the kitchen and check her food bowl.