Why Humans Are Obsessed with Cats | Obsessions | The New Yorker

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We take a look at how felines took over the Internet, our homes, and our lives.
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Why Humans Are Obsessed with Cats | Obsessions | The New Yorker
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[music]. i've always been a cat person i've had . cats since i was a little child i'd say . that our obsession with them is reaching . a crescendo mom what you hungry . it was some numbness yeah we cohabitate . with cats in this really intense way we . know more about them we wonder more and . that just feeds this we have i think . it's fair to say that we are obsessed . and they are not humans never really . decided hey we're gonna domesticate cats . cats domesticated themselves it started. off just that cats were scavengers in . our first settlements the most fearless. have survived and had more babies in ate . more meat and they became what we. consider domesticated animals today. humans have gotten tamed dogs and pigs . say by reading the friendliest animals . with each other and getting more and . more malleable animals the interesting . thing about cats though is that they . undertook these changes on their own the. way some scientists think about it is . that they went through the process of . artificial selection but they did it . naturally cats are these amazing . adaptable high-performance hunters that . can survive anywhere from arctic islands . to hawaiian volcanoes but humans also . have a weakness for these animals cats . have infants features that were . attracted to large round heads and large . eyes and sort of big looking cheeks they . weigh about maybe eight pounds or so . just the size of a human newborn and . they have a cry that can sort of . resemble the wail of a baby in nature . these cats are very quiet animals they . hardly ever me out it's when they . realize how susceptible we are . what they say that's when they start to . speak i think you can see our . relationship with cats as a series of . cat controlled takeovers in egypt sort . of the first cat obsessed society all of . these funerary fresco's and statues and . kind of worshipping them at a certain . point from there cats got on our ships . and wherever we went they went to the . vikings took a liking to orange cats and . you can trace the pathways of the . vikings by looking to see where there . are lots of orange cats the global . population of house cats is difficult to . tally but scientists think something . like half a billion maybe even a billion. there's countries in south america where . the population of pet cats might be. growing by a million cats per year's day . no matter what we do we're never gonna . get control over these animals or make . any but the smallest dent on the global . cat population they took over our bodies . in terms of this very mysterious cat . parasite toxoplasmosis gandhi that . they've spread to one and three people . on the planet and scientists are sort of . looking at how that might alter human . behavior some people think that . toxoplasmosis may be one of the causes . underlying schizophrenia there are. interesting studies and rats that. suggest that rats infested with . toxoplasmosis lose their fear of cats . the favorite newspaper phrase this fatal . feline attraction because then if you. lose your fear of the smell of cats . you're more likely to be eaten and some . people have speculated that you know hey . if i have this parasite you know maybe . i'm becoming attracted to cats as well . to me what's the most interesting is . that we as humans have to build this . narrative where we're like okay i . actually have a physical disease that is . making me obsessed with my cat and it . may be true of course they've taken over . our modern homes apartment buildings and . last of all taken over the internet . people for a long time have tried very . hard to capture images of cats i think . that there are sort of particular . features of felines that play really . well online that sudden jump sort of . pounce ambush behavior that's just good . for that 10-second clip of something . crazy happening okay my cat freaked out . and you know jumped on a vacuum or away . from a cucumber there's the fact that we . love to look at cat faces and the fact . that they look so human to us but are . blank in a way that human faces aren't . it's open for captioning it can reflect . whatever we want it to say only 2% of . the cats on the planet are purebred or . pedigreed cats however as there are more . and more cats on the planet more and . more sort of weird mutations crop up and . i visited these very nice veterinarians . who were breeding this kind of cat . called the like oi or werewolf cat which . favors a mutation for partial . hairlessness and looks a little bit like . a werewolf another interesting trend . that's been going on in cat breeding is . the mixing of domestic cats with other. small cats like the asian leopard cat . and often these cats have a temperament . to match their wild looks and a lot of . them end up badly in shelters and even . big cat shelters i think our obsession . with cats shows how much we can connect . still with animals and how much we want . to give and can't give . money at the same time i think that the . way we see them is sort of little fur . dolls basically are these internet stars . kind of speaks to our nature of humans . to sort of pretend that these animals. are doing our bidding when actually they . have wormed their way into every niche . on the planet practically and run. roughshod over us in a lot of ways you . know when you look down at your cat . don't say oh there's a fur baby say oh . there's the hyper carnivore and i think . that that will only increase your . appreciation for cats to sort of know . the journey that they've undergone and. the odds that they beat to come and sit . on your lap . [music]. you. .
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