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Cats, they’re so cute and cuddly and playful
and they would absolutely murder you if given the oppotunity.
Beneath that wide-eyed cuddly veneer
lies the blackened heart of a cold calculated killer.
Every year in the United States,
cats kill literally billions of birds and small mammals.
Sure they’re only acting according to instinct.
But they have been listed as
one of the 100 worst invasive species on the planet.
And free-ranging cats on islands have been blamed for
the global extinction of 33 different species.
Though not as prolific as cats,
dogs can certainly be killers too.
Close relatives of dogs like the grey wolf
are among the most successful predators on the planet.
Yet despite their insatiable bloodlust,
cats and dogs are by far the most popular pets in the world.
A recent survey by the American Pet Products Association
estimates that there are a staggering 94 million pet cats
and 89 million pet dogs in the US alone.
That’s like over half of the human population.
That is an insane amount of killers living among us.
But they’re so cuddly and lovable.
But hold on a second,
could there perhaps be a connection here?
Is there something about vicious killers that makes them good pets?
I never consider myself much of a cat person
until I wound up with this guy.
His name is Rico, full name Ricardo “Flopper” Montalbán,
named after the late great Mexican actor.
Corinthian leather, of course why not the best?
And his hard flopping tendency.
Yes, I’m now officially a cat person.
While I was quickly entranced by his cuddliness and charm,
I couldn’t help but get the feeling that
the only reason he hasn’t tried to kill me yet
is because I give him food and because I massively outweigh him.
So is it possible that cats’ proclivity for violence
is in some way connected to their likability as pets?
To answer this question, let’s take a look at
why exactly we love cats so much
aside from just their cuteness.
After hours of diligent research watching cat videos on the Internet,
I’ve broken down the human love for cats
into several different categories of likability.
First, let’s take a look at playfulness.
One of the first things that I noticed after adopting Rico
was that I couldn’t just throw ball and expect him to fetch it.
If I wanted to get him play,
I had to simulate the experience of hunting.
As if the toy itself was a living creature
that he could patiently stalk
waiting for just the right moment to attack.
And there’s a good reason for this behavior.
Cats are obligate carnivores.
They need nutrients found in animal flesh to survive.
Hunting is necessary for cats in the wild.
And the instinct to hunt hasn’t gone away
despite centuries of domestication.
It’s been theorized that play is a way for adult cats
to satisfy their urge to hunt
and for kittens to develop their paw-eye coordination,
strengthen their muscles and practice their pouncing skills
which also happens to be very entertaining for the human counterparts.
So the fact that playtime for cats is essentially murder practice
seems to support the hypothesis that vicious animals make good pets.
Of course, this isn’t the only reason that humans love cats.
Turns out this is actually an important survival tool.
Until a kitten is three weeks old,
they’re unable to regulate their body temperature.
So they curl up with their mom and siblings for warmth and safety.
If a kitten is properly socialized and exposed to humans at a young age,
they will see us as potential snuggling partners as well.
Of course lots of animals snuggle too,
not just carnivores like monkeys, penguins
and even this turtle hippo couple.
So cuddliness doesn’t seem to be directly linked with murderousness.
Although it could also be a component of socialization and bonding.
Other observable snuggling behavior like rubbing up against her leg.
And that head-butting thing is basically
your cat’s way of marking you with its scent.
This is called allorubbing.
By combining its scent with yours, your cat is basically
acknowledging that you’re a part of its social group
and reinforcing the group on an identity.
An old misconception about cats is that they’re
aloof loners that have been forced into cohabitation.
But that’s not true.
Cats are actually very social. Feral cats will naturally form tight colonies
and female cats in the colony will often work together,
helping to raise and nurse each other’s young.
But getting back to the original hypothesis
what is the importance of social groups for predatory animals.
Well, it might actually have something to do with hunting.
We know that close relatives of dogs like wolves and coyotes are pack hunters.
Cooperative hunting in the animal kingdom is actually quite rare.
and only occurs when the benefits of hunting in a group
outweigh the benefits of hunting alone.
但狼 狮子 野狗 人类 甚至海豚
Wolves, lions, wild dogs, humans and even dolphins
are cooperative hunters.
Their success at hunting would not be possible without their advanced social skills,
and the close bond they share with other members of their group.
So is this our answer?
Does cooperative hunting require socialization which makes certain animals good pets?
Well, there’s a problem with this idea.
While lions are cooperative hunters,
most felines are not.
Cats can hunt and capture mice perfectly fine by themselves.
Also alligators and crocodiles sometimes hunting groups
and they’re not exactly great pet material.
So, certain traits that make dogs and cats desirable pets
do seem to originate from their predatory nature.
But as I’m sure many of you would point out
that’s not enough for a causal link.
So maybe instead of asking what makes cats and dogs good pets,
we should be asking why are cats and dogs pets in the first place.
It’s hard to pin down exactly when humans begin domesticating dogs,
but DNA evidence suggests
that it may have started as early as 40,000 years ago,
long before the invention of writing and the end of the last Ice Age.
One theory is that some packs of wolves
began following around human hunting parties.
The wolves that were more comfortable around humans
found a convenient food supply
in the remains of carcasses left behind by the hunters.
some of these wolves could have begun participating in hunts alongside humans,
helping them to take down prey
and eventually becoming permanent hunting partners.
In fact, the disappearance of Neanderthals
began around the same time as a domestication of dogs.
It’s possible that our early dog hunting companions
gave us an evolutionary advantage,
allowing us to out-compete the Neanderthals
and ultimately leading to their extinction.
Okay! So dogs helped human hunters
but what about cats.
There’s definitely a lot of evidence
从早期文明 如古埃及开始 猫就是受人崇敬的
that cats were revered by humans from early civilizations, like the ancient Egyptians.
But the first humans to tame wild cats
were possibly the Natufian
who lived in the eastern Mediterranean around 10,000 years ago.
The Natufian lived in a mostly sedentary society unlike their nomadic peers,
and are widely regarded as the inventors of agriculture.
As the first agrarian society,
it would also have been the first to contend with the enemies of agriculture and grain in particular-
The wild ancestors of house cats
probably moved into early farm settlements
to prey on the large mouse and rat populations.
Ancient humans likely saw in cats an effective pest control system
that also provided snuggles on occasion.
So dogs and cats are more than just pets.
They are a huge part of the evolutionary history of our species.
They helped us grow from nomadic hunter-gatherers
to permanent settlers of agrarian society.
And none of this would have been possible without their mastery of murder.
Their cuteness and cuddliness have probably helped too.
Who’s a cuddly murderer?
You’re a cuddly murderer.
Yes, you are.
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Also, if any of you guys are fans of low-budget sci-fi or ridiculous comedies,
You should check out this other show that we’re working on.
The show is called * in Space.
不好意思这个名字需要屏蔽 它可能含有敏感字眼 不过真的很有趣哦
I can’t say the name without bleeping it because it’s not safe for work, but it’s pretty fun.
Also starring Good Stuff producers Craig Benzine, Sam Grant as the robot,
and Matt also does the voice of the spaceship.
And now we’re trying to raise a little money to help finance the show,
so if you guys could chip in a few bucks or share the campaign link with your friends
that would be awesome. Thanks guys!