On Facebook, a few people said that cats are friendlier and more emotional than described in this piece. One reader said, “At a shelter I’ve volunteered for, many cats immediately engage with people & demand affection, while quite a number become bonded pairs. Some fit in with boisterous families with dog pets too.”
Is the nature of modern cats changing?
Cats always used to go inside or outside freely and were able to breed as they wished. These days, many cats live indoors and we tend to allow only FRIENDLY, LOVING cats to breed. And cats breed fast! Could this be making domestic cats friendlier as a species?
Quite possibly. In a genetics experiment with silver foxes run in Siberia since 1958, only the foxes more tolerant of humans were allowed to breed. By the seventh generation they were whining for human attention and licking the hands of their caretakers. By the 20th generation they would leap into the arms of the experimental scientists and go for walks on leads.
They were making barkish noises, their faces had become rounder, and they developed tails that curled up, spotted coats, and floppy ears. They had undergone genetic changes and were behaving like ‘dogfoxes’.
Is this happening with cats? We are selecting cats for friendliness and shaping the species to become more like dogs. As a species, domestic cats might be becoming more affectionate and needy. Are we creating DOGCATS – cats that need us more and behave more like dogs than tigers?
HowAndWhy - 2022 01 07