Animals are incredible creatures that improve our lives in many ways. Some of them have amazing personalities that keep us feeling loved and entertained. Others are born with unique markings, as in the case of a kitten that looks like he has facial hair like a person. His story reminds us of how these little things can help to make us fall in love with these anomalous pets that are unique in ways that pull at our heartstrings.
The kitten that was nicknamed a leader
A story about a kitten with a full-on goatee in a Yahoo release has gone viral. Two women discovered a 2-month-old kitten at a Buddhist temple. The kitten is one of the most unique looking animals we’ve seen. His face looks like it has a goatee and a mustache. He is a cat with fur that looks like he has facial hair. They named the cat Lung Gammnan which is translated as Uncle with connotations of being a wise leader in the village. What could have inspired the ladies to grant this kitten such a status of high esteem? As it turns out, there is an entire study behind the psychology of animal analogies in first impressions of faces. According to PMC, when an animal has a facial resemblance to a human, we tend to ascribe more positive attributes to the animals. Without even realizing what we’re doing, we look at the physical appearance of an animal and assign a slew of judgments based on assumptions of the personality traits that an animal will possess, whether it’s factual or not. While this is an overgeneralization on our parts, most people do this on a subconscious level. On the plus side, it gives abandoned or vulnerable cats and dogs an advantage for finding a loving home, if they possess unique facial features or other markings that are considered to be unique. On the downside, it means that many worthy animals would otherwise make great pets that are ignored because there is nothing about their physical appearance that catches our attention.
How to fairly judge a potential pet
Thousands of healthy and loving cats are euthanized in kill shelters that are overfilled with needy felines. Many healthy animals are passed over by potential pet parents because they don’t see anything on a visual level that appeals to them immediately. Now that we’re aware of our great potential for biased thinking when it comes to pet selection, we can sidestep this faulty habit to look beyond the physical appearance of an animal to judge them rather by their potential for fitting into the household and becoming a beloved family pet.
Maddie’s Fund offers a few tips on how to use a behavioral assessment tool to choose the right pet for your home, regardless of its physical appearance. The ancient Greeks had a few good ideas about the character that include assessing health personality, character, and temperament. These factors are essential for finding the ideal fit between pets and humans. We’ve seen how Ivan Pavlov conditioned a dog to respond physically to the ringing of a bell, and this shows us that pets can be trained, even if they’re not accustomed to living with humans, but the earlier this begins, the better.
Consideration for the environment
When you arrive at a shelter to look for a new pet to bring into your home, take into consideration that the animals that are housed in the facility are basically imprisoned in their cells. They are not free to roam around, many lack the care and attention of humans and they are likely to be under a great deal of stress because of the environment. They’re not going to be at the top of their game. Some may be hypervigilant and wary of humans. It’s a good idea to give them a chance to warm up to you. Try talking to the cats in the shelter to see how they respond before you check them off your list of possibilities. You may find that there are a few that will warm up to you and seek more attention. You can tell a lot about the personality of a shelter cat by interacting with them. It’s worth a shot to ignore the outward appearance and spend a little time getting to know them before you judge their pet-worthiness.
Tips for choosing a shelter cat
Princeton Vet recommends learning what you can about the temperament of a cat you’re considering. It’s essential to find a cat that will be compatible with you and other family members. Some cats crave a lot of human attention and want to become a lap cat, while others are more standoffish. When it comes to the age of the cat, bear in mind that any new pet will require a lot of attention at first. You’ll need to help them become acclimated to a new environment. Kittens are likely to take up the most time with training and socializing. Some older cats are former pets that are household ready. If you have small children in the home it becomes more important to choose a pet that is tolerant of children with a laid-back personality. It’s usually a good idea to try to pick up a shelter cat you’re considering to find out how he or she reacts to human contact. It’s also recommended that you ask as many questions as you can bout the animal’s history, behavior, and what is known so far about personality traits and behaviors.
Although we tend to go for cats that have a unique appearance, we may be missing out on some of the best family pets by not looking a little further. Appearances can be deceiving, so it’s wise to look for other characteristics when choosing a pet. Personality, behavior, and temperament are far more important than physical appearance. If you’re looking for a new cat to adopt, we strongly recommend checking out your local rescue shelter before looking elsewhere. You might find your new best friend waiting for his forever home.