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Relationship With Pets Essay

Much has been written about the human-animal bond, and the benefits it can bring to owners of companion animals.  Sometimes pets are portrayed as more-or-less interchangeable, as if it made little difference to the relationship whether the pet happens to be a cat, a dog, or a rabbit.  The emotional ties that owners feel towards their pets may be somewhat independent of the type of animal involved, but the way the animals feel about their owners will be markedly different from one species to another.  Moreover, these differences have profound implications for the well-being of animals that find themselves in a less-than-ideal relationship.

Of course, it’s obvious that cats and dogs aren’t the same, and the differences between them will be reflected in what they can contribute to the relationship.  Few cat owners take their cats for walks, so it will mainly be dog owners who get the benefits of physical exercise and sociable exchanges with other owners.  Dogs are much easier to train than cats are, and are much more tolerant of other members of their own species: both these differences stem from the two animals’ contrasting origins, and both are clues as to how they perceive their relationship with us.

The domestic cat is essentially a rather solitary and territorial animal, and one that is still not completely domesticated, despite appearances to the contrary.  Descended from the North African/Middle Eastern wildcat Felis lybica, it probably began a loose association with mankind some 10,000 years ago, but domestication in the sense of turning into a pet does not seem to have begun until about 2,000 BC, and has not proceeded entirely smoothly since then.  The status of cats as pets has waxed and waned over the centuries, and it is only very recently, on an evolutionary time-scale, that they have become as popular as dogs.  Apart from the minority of kittens that come with a pedigree, most are the product of matings planned by the cats themselves, not by their owners. This habit takes cats outside the strict definition of a domesticated animal, which requires breeding to be at least predominantly under human control. 

Moreover, many cats appear to enjoy hunting, a habit that until recently formed much of their raison d’etre, but now disgusts many of their owners, and enrages lovers of wildlife.  That cats have been unable to shed this habit is probably due to their exacting nutritional requirements, shared with all of the cat family including lions and tigers.  Until these became fully understood some forty years ago, much of the food provided by cat owners would have been nutritionally inadequate, forcing those cats to hunt in order to obtain the nutrients they needed for successful breeding.  Now that a completely balanced diet for cats is available in every supermarket, no cat should need to go out hunting, but insufficient time has passed for this instinct to die out.

Dogs have a much longer and more complete history of domestication.  Moreover, they are descended from a species, the grey wolf, which had already evolved a highly sophisticated social brain that was, evidently, ripe for adaptation to a life with mankind.  By eight thousand years ago, when cats were still making their first tentative steps towards eventual domestication, dogs had already diverged into multiple types, adapted for guarding, hunting and even as status objects. 

Domestication wrought two major changes in their behaviour that were crucial to their adaptation to the domestic environment.  As they turned into dogs, they became much more tolerant of other members of their own species, unlike wolves, which are highly aggressive towards all but the members of their own pack.  They also gained a unique sensitivity towards human body language, gaze and gesture, enabling them to be trained to carry out a multitude of tasks, from herding to guarding to guiding.  Cats, perhaps unfortunately, have not made as much progress on either of these fronts, most still regarding other cats with deep suspicion, and having a much more limited understanding of human behaviour than dogs do.

For most cats, the relationship with their owner is important, but not all-consuming: most cats seem perfectly content to keep their own company for much of the day.  Cats undoubtedly display an attachment to their owners that transcends mere cupboard-love, based as it is on behaviour such as rubbing, purring and licking that are also used to cement bonds between one cat and another.  However, their limited ability to communicate effectively with cats outside their immediate family means that many owners inadvertently place them under significant stress. 

Cats do not naturally “get along with” each other, but many owners will obtain a second cat in the belief that it will be “company” for their original cat, only to witness their house being acrimoniously divided into two separate territories.  Even a cat that feels relaxed while in its owner’s home may be terrorised by a neighbour’s cat as soon as it emerges through the cat-flap.

For most dogs, the attachment they feel towards their owner is fundamental to their well-being.  Thousands of years of selection for animals that are biddable and easy to train has ensured that while dogs enjoy one another’s company, they crave human attention.  Unfortunately, they do not appear to have evolved the ability to turn this off at will, so the modern habit of leaving companion dogs alone for hours at a time can cause them considerable distress.  Thankfully, it is possible to train dogs to relax while they are on their own, provided they have not already experienced the cycle of anxiety caused by what they experience as repeated abandonments.

Thus the well-being of both cats and dogs depends critically upon their owners’ perceptions of how they experience that relationship.  For most cats, their owner’s careful and sympathetic management of their interactions with other cats is perhaps more important than the nuances of the relationship they enjoy with their owner.  Dogs, by contrast, feel that relationship with such an intensity that many can only be contented if they are taught how to cope with being left alone.

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#1 (permalink) Thu Jan 23, 2014 5:32 am   close relationships with pets? 

Many people have a close relationship with their pets. These people treat their birds, cats, or other animals as members of family. In my opinion, are such relationships good? Why or why not? Use specific reasons and examples to support your answer.

Nowadays, many people take care of pets such as birds, dogs or cats and consider them as good friends or members of family. From my point of view, however, I strongly believe that these relationships are not good. This is because they spend too much time and money and also exert harmful impacts on people’s health.

The first reason I firmly claim that treating pets is not beneficial is that it wastes too much time and money. It is obvious that when you nurture an animal and think that it is a good friend of yours, you have to spend time and money making it happy. It is very negative for you because you would be distracted from doing other work more important. For instance, when you are excessively interested in a bird you cure at your home and just think of it in all of day, you could not focus on studying, then result of studying would fall down. Needless to say, it is really appreciative to establish too tight relationships with pets.

Another reason I actually oppose close relationships between people and animals is that in most cases, it can create dangerous diseases threatening people. In fact, cats are a major element to convey asthma to people. More particularly, a lot of children in the world are inflected the disease when they play with their cats. Therefore, buiding a too close relationship with an animal is dramatically risk. The reasoning behind this is that people are not for sure that which of animals are healthy. There is no doubt that it is better for people to keep themselves away from animals.

In conclusion, based on the arguments explore above, I am absolutely convinced that curing pets as members of family is a bad idea. This is because it is a waste of time, money and also creates disastrous impacts to people’s heath.

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Hoangle308
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Joined: 13 Aug 2013
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#2 (permalink) Thu Jan 23, 2014 17:24 pm   Re: close relationships with pets? 

Hi Hoangle, I thought your essay started off strong - I liked this introduction. You also had some good ideas and supported them well. But you had a lot of odd sounding words and phrases, some of which were pretty unclear to me. Overall, I would rate this a 3.5 out of 5.

Hoangle308 wrote:
Many people have a close relationship with their pets. These people treat their birds, cats, or other animals as members of family. In my opinion, are such relationships good? Why or why not? Use specific reasons and examples to support your answer.

Nowadays, many people take care of pets such as birds, dogs or cats and consider them as good friends or members of family. From my point of view, however, I strongly believe that these relationships are not good. This is because they{what is "they"? is sounds like you are referring to "relationships", but that does not work here - relationships don't spend, maybe "they cause us to spend"} spend too much time and money and also exert harmful impacts on people’s health.

The first reason I firmly claim that treating pets is not beneficial is that it wastes too much time and money. It is obvious that when you nurture an animal and think that it is a good friend of yours, you have to spend time and money making it happy. It is very negative for you because you would be distracted from doing other work [that is] more important. For instance, when you are excessively interested in a bird you cure{"cure" is incorrect here - what do you mean?} at your home and just think of it in all day, you could not focus on studying, then result of studying would fall down. {this phrase sounds pretty odd} Needless to say, it is really appreciative{"appreciative" is wrong here - what do you mean?} to establish too tight relationships with pets.

Another reason I actually oppose close relationships between people and animals is that in most cases, it can create dangerous diseases threatening people. In fact, cats are a major element to convey[ing] asthma to people. More particularly, a lot of children in the world are{"become" is better} [inflicted with] the disease when they play with their cats. Therefore, buiding too close [a] {"too close a" doesn't really make much grammatical sense, but it is what we say } relationship with an animal is [a] dramatic risk.{or "is dramatically risky"} The reasoning behind this is that people are not [completely] sure which animals are healthy. There is no doubt that it is better{"safer" might be better here} for people to keep themselves away from animals.

In conclusion, based on the arguments explore[d ] above, I am absolutely convinced that curing{"curing" is wrong here - what do you mean?} pets as members of [the] family is a bad idea. This is because it is a waste of time [and] money and also creates disastrous impacts to people’s heath.

TOEFL listening discussions: A conversation between a research professor and a student
Luschen
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Joined: 08 Apr 2011
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Location: Nashville TN, USA
differences between 2 generations | university assign a student to share a room with you,or choose your own roommates

 
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