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Photo Credit: Gatto Mimmo via Compfight cc
According to animal behaviourists, cats are not quite as domesticated as dogs, which makes them sometimes behave like they belong in the wild. Sometimes your cat can actually be incredibly stressed out by things that might seem completely mundane like the neighbour getting a new cat. A cat doesn’t necessarily feel less anxious if you spend a lot of time petting them. Dr Bradshaw, from Bristol University suggests that cats find themselves in an in-between space where they aren’t quite domesticated but also are not entirely a wild animal. When humans first domesticated cats, the only goal was to assist in removing vermin from barns and food stores. Yes, Fuzzy McFurball is the descendant of a pest controlling cat. Whereas dogs have always maintained a social relationship with one another, cats have been thrust into a new place where they are forced into close proximity of other species and worst of all a large amount of fellow cats – and cats don’t like other cats.
Even if you have two cats in the house and it looks like they are getting along, their behaviour may potentially change drastically when you are not around. If you have multiple cats they may have tiffs about who sleeps in your bed or who has dibs on the food bowl first. One of the negative effects of having stressed out cats is that they are more prone to illnesses like cystitis and dermatitis. Cats are fiercely independent and if they are spending prolonged periods ignoring you and doing their own thing it isn’t necessarily anything that you have done wrong, they just get pre-occupied with activities that don’t always involve you. Studies have actually discovered that cats that are given less attention from their owners are much more likely to show a greater level of affection towards their owners.

So can cats get reintroduced into the wild? The biggest challenge here is that cats are kind of in limbo between domesticated house pet and free range hunter. Putting Mr Fluffington out in the forest may leave him prey for predators that he is not necessarily equipped to survive against, not to mention the danger that he poses to smaller species in the ecosystem that he is being let into. In Australia, one of the adverse effects of introducing cats is that small native animal numbers are falling due to the effectiveness of these little domesticated hunters. Cats love catching birds, mice and anything small enough to get their claws into. When letting your cat out of the house, be aware of what species are surrounding your house so that you can keep the local ecosystem in balance. Your favourite pet has a great personality and if they are well looked after in the correct environment you can keep stress levels low for your pet, yourself and the local species living near your house.