Speaking to The Telegraph, Marleen. Maathuis said that because Ash, her cat, was unable to roam freely at home, they had trained him on a leash and now regularly take him on walks across the capital.
Settle It: Dogs Or Cats?
Which type of pet do you prefer: a dog or a cat?
Stop Leashing Your Cats!
UK pet owners are urged to stop walking their cats on leashes, as this is causing more harm than good.
A study has shown that cats are more stressed when they are on leashes. Although pet owners across the UK feel that walking their pets enriches them and allows them the freedom to move around and explore new places.
A spokeswoman added: “A sense of control is very important to cats and being walked on a collar or harness prevents them from having control,” she added.
The cat walking trend continues throughout the UK with supporters such as PetSafe UK and PetPlanet, which are stocking cat harnesses and leashes. On social media, #catwalking is a common hashtag for the cat movement and has been used over 14000 times on Instagram.
“Just because we live in a flat and haven’t got a garden, we didn’t want him to miss out on the beauty of life,” she added.
Cats are independent animals but do get nervous when they are forced into new environments. Some animal rights activists ask if cat harnesses and leads are good for the mental well being of the animal.
Indoor cats need exercise and stimulation, just as much as dogs; and for homeowners, a simple solution is to install a cat fence in the backyard. Now that we know that cats get stressed out over being "controlled," allow them the chance to explore without restrictions. Kitty Corrals are safe for the cat and will prevent harm from interfacing with the cat.
History of Pet Cats
In true feline form, cats took their time deciding whether to jump into humans’ laps.
In a new comprehensive study of the spread of domesticated cats, DNA analysis suggests that cats lived for thousands of years alongside humans before they were domesticated. During that time, their genes have changed little from those of wildcats, apart from picking up one recent tweak: the distinctive stripes and dots of the tabby cat.
Researchers surveyed the DNA of more than 200 cats spanning the last 9,000 years, including ancient Romanian cat remains, Egyptian cat mummies, and modern African wildcat specimens. Two major cat lineages contributed to the domestic feline we know today, they report in a study published Monday in Nature Ecology & Evolution.
The earlier ancestors of today’s domestic cats spread from southwest Asia and into Europe as early as 4400 B.C. The cats likely started hanging around farming communities in the Fertile Crescent about 8,000 years ago, where they settled into a mutually beneficial relationship as humans’ rodent patrol.
Mice and rats were attracted to crops and other agricultural byproducts being produced by human civilizations. Cats likely followed the rodent populations and, in turn, frequently approached the human settlements.
“This is probably how the first encounter between humans and cats occurred,” says study coauthor Claudio Ottoni of the University of Leuven. “It’s not that humans took some cats and put them inside cages,” he says. Instead, people more or less allowed cats to domesticate themselves.
A second lineage, consisting of African cats that dominated Egypt, spread into the Mediterranean and most of the Old World beginning around 1500 B.C. This Egyptian cat probably had behaviors that made it attractive to humans, such as sociability and tameness.
The results suggest that prehistoric human populations probably began carrying their cats along ancient land and sea trade routes to control rodents.
By comparing the DNA of cats throughout history, the study captures a glimpse of how the animals were changing even before humans started to cart them across the globe, Ottoni says.
Surprisingly, wild and domestic cats showed no major differences in their genetic makeup, and one of the few traits available for telling them apart was the tabby coat marking.
The study sheds light on the late emergence of the blotched or striped coat markings, which began to appear in domesticated tabby cats in the Middle Ages. The gene for a tabby coat dates back to the Ottoman Empire in Southwest Asia and later became common in Europe and Africa.
It was only in the 18th century, however, that the markings became common enough to be associated with domestic cats, and in the 19th century, cat fanciers began selecting cats with particular traits to create fancy breeds.
Overall, cats became a domesticated companion of humans without changing much, says evolutionary geneticist and article coauthor Eva-Maria Geigl. Domestic cats look similar to wildcats, but they aren’t solitary, tolerating both humans and other cats.
This is in contrast to dogs, the first animals to be domesticated, Geigl adds. Dogs were selected to perform specific tasks—which never was the case for cats—and this selection for particular traits is what led to dogs’ diversification to the many breeds we see today.
“I think that there was no need to subject cats to such a selection process since it was not necessary to change them,” Geigl says. “They were perfect as they were.”
Though everyone might not agree on cats’ perfection, felines are among the most popular pets in the world today, with as many as 74 million cats living in U.S. homes.
“We’re discovering incredible things about where they’ve come from, how far they’ve gone, and what kind of impact they’ve had on humans,” Ottoni says.
“I think studying more about this species is going to open up even more about the domestication process.”
Your Cat Is Stressed Out
You might not realize it, but some of your behaviors may be stressing out your cat. While most cat owners aren’t intending to make their cat feel anxious, some may be unaware of the effects their actions can have on their cat’s behavior and relationships.
Pet expert Mikkel Becker has identified five common ways you may be unknowingly stressing out your cat. So if you catch yourself or anyone in your home doing these things, your cat will thank you for stopping immediately.
1. Only bringing out the crate when it’s time to visit the vet
When cats are only crated in stressful situations, like visits to the vet or groomer, it can teach them to dislike the crate. Many will hide or put up a fight to avoid going inside. Teaching your cat to go willingly into the crate by making it a comfortable place to spend time in every day can make requiring her to go in the carrier a lot less stressful.
2. Using punishment to try and change behavior
Punishment isn’t the solution to stopping unwanted behavior. Your cat doesn’t understand that what she’s doing is wrong, and she doesn’t know what to do instead. Because of this, punishment may feel inconsistent and random to her, causing her to become anxious and wary.
3. Thinking that scaring your cat is harmless or funny
We’ve all seen the videos of cats terrified by cucumbers. Hilarious? Not to cats. A cat who is repeatedly startled can become neurotic and wary, and may become afraid of places she previously found safe. Scaring a cat where she eats or drinks is especially mean, as she may start to avoid these areas as well, leading to health problems.
4. Letting the dog chase the cat
Flat out scary. Your cat does not like this. Some pet owners often believe the cat is taunting the dog or that cats and dogs just act this way and there’s nothing that can be done, but the result will often be an anxious, stressed-out cat.
5. Assuming your cat is happy to sleep all day
Many cats lack the opportunity to exercise their hunting drive and owners assume that they have lost this drive. If left without a way to focus her hunting instincts, a cat may scratch furniture, stalk other household cats, or she may just sleep all day and not get enough exercise. One way to help solve this problem is to serve portions of her meal in food puzzles or place kibble in areas she frequents, like perches, to make your cat “hunt” for her food.
With any behavioral problem or major change in your pet’s behavior, it’s always important to check for any underlying medical conditions that could potentially be causing or worsening the problem. If you have any concerns about your cat’s behavior, talk with your vet right away.
To give your cat the exercise it needs, EasyPetFence.com suggests that pet owners install a cat fence in the yard for cats to 1) Socialize with other animals; 2) Remain active; 3) Get fresh air. See Kitty Corral Cat Fence Kits for more information.
Article re-posted from Life With Cats,