Cat ladies aren't 'depressed, anxious or alone,' say UCLA researchers
Cat owners are no more likely to be crazy than you.
- A study at UCLA found that cat and dog owners are just as likely to be crazy as non-pet owners.
- Misunderstanding cats often results from expecting them to act like dogs.
- Learning the natural behavior of your pet is essential for developing a strong bond with them.
The fact that this study was even conducted should bring a smile to your face. Here goes: cat ladies are not crazy.
That's the consensus of a team of UCLA researchers that published their findings in the journal Royal Society Open Science on August 21. Comparing two groups of pet owners — 264 young adults with cats and/or dogs, 297 sad humans without either — they discovered that owning a pet doesn't make one crazy.
As the researchers put it,
"We found no evidence to support the 'cat lady' stereotype: cat-owners did not differ from others on self-reported symptoms of depression, anxiety or their experiences in close relationships. Our findings, therefore, do not fit with the notion of cat-owners as more depressed, anxious or alone."
That's good news, considering that 57 percent of American residences house at least one pet. Of that number, 38 percent report having dogs, with a quarter being owned by a cat—obviously, the house changes ownership once a feline crosses the front door.
While many wonderful factoids are littered throughout the study, the team went so far as breaking down cat and dog owners by political affiliation, to which the only viable response is: come on. With 1.5 million dogs and cats euthanized in shelters each year, this should be the least partisan issue ever.
As for the history of this longstanding (and misguided) notion of mental instability in cat ownership, the researchers point to an 1872 NY Times editorial that posits cat lovers as being more infatuated (and less emotionally stable) than the "more rationally behaved dog lover." The stereotype persists even as people push overbred dogs around in baby carriages. Just saying.
Do You Understand Your Cat's Behavior?
On a somewhat serious note — this is admittedly anecdotal, having lived with cats for 26 years (and being a dog lover) — a major reason for this misperception is that most non-cat owners think that cats are like dogs. Or should be. They're not.
Their social behaviors are wildly different, as are their relationships with humans. Most dog owners (or non-pet owners) I've met expect cats to mimic dogs and become frustrated when they don't. That's your fault — not the cat's.
The biggest issue often involves loyalty. Non-pet owners believe cats to be aloof and dismissive of their humans. They might be dismissive of your directives, but that's because cats do not understand punishment. They respond to reward, which is why clicker training is the only way you can teach an old cat new tricks.
If you yell at them, even while they're in the act of doing whatever it is that you don't want them to do, they'll treat you like an aggressive ape (as my wife taught me when I first starting living with her formerly feral Maine Coon). They certainly won't learn any silly "lesson" you were trying to teach.
If you want to be in the good grace of cats, you can't let them free feed. Too many cat owners put out a bowl of dry food and call it a day. Not only is this terrible nutrition, you'll never teach them anything when they have 24/7 access to kibble. You have to control their food supply. That way they'll engage in clicker training. If the food bowl is always an option, they'll take it.
Our Dollface Persian, Baltasar. Six weeks after rescuing him, we discovered he has congestive heart disease—a powerful reminder to love those around you daily.
Cats are intimately tied to place. By contrast, dogs are bonded to their caretaker. That's why most dogs will happily join you wherever you want to go. Cats are territorial. They need to know the scent of their surroundings. If you start taking kittens outside, though, they'll adapt. That is much harder when they've matured.
This is why my wife and I never check our three cats into a shelter when we travel. We either have a friend apartment sit or we pay someone to visit twice a day to distribute medicine, clean litter, and feed them. (We do leave out dry food while traveling, as their usual 4x a day feeding schedule is disrupted. If that sounds like a lot of food, it's not: cat digestive systems do better with four smaller meals than two larger ones.)
Finally, you can't pet a cat like a dog. Most (though certainly not all) dogs are ready to have your hands all over their body. Again, scent: cats don't want to be covered in some foreign smell spread by strange fingers. You need to first crouch down and meet them eye to eye, then offer a "magic finger" to sniff. They'll let you know if you can proceed to scratch their necks or top of their heads. Attempt to touch them anywhere else, especially if they don't know you, and the claws come out.
As the study points out, both cat and dog owners were more acutely aware of animal vocalization distress signals than non-pet owners. Yes, cats speak a language; in fact, they rarely vocalize to other cats, unless hissing and preparing to fight. Cat vocalizations are an evolutionary adaptation to appeal to human sensibilities — if they do it right, our guilt and gullibility.
Crazy? Not at all. But if you want to take in any animal, you need to understand that species on their own terms, not on your hopes, which is why New York becoming the first state to criminalize declawing is so important. All states should follow suit. If you don't want your couches scratched, don't bring a cat into your home.
Cat people aren't crazy. We just love them for who they are — not what we wish they'd be.
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A strange weakness in the Earth's protective magnetic field is growing and possibly splitting, shows data.
- "The South Atlantic Anomaly" in the Earth's magnetic field is growing and possibly splitting, shows data.
- The information was gathered by the ESA's Swarm Constellation mission satellites.
- The changes may indicate the coming reversal of the North and South Poles.
Is the Magnetic Field Reversing?<span style="display:block;position:relative;padding-top:56.25%;" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="e3e0b16dac3b05dab808a4ddf04d198b"><iframe type="lazy-iframe" data-runner-src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/51usJ74pPP8?rel=0" width="100%" height="auto" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" style="position:absolute;top:0;left:0;width:100%;height:100%;"></iframe></span>
"Nothing but naked people: fat ones, thin ones, old, young…"
"The Yellow Sands", 1888, John Reinhard Weguelin; source: Wikimedia Commons<h3>Naked revolution</h3><p>Yet long before anyone knew about beach fashion, naturism was trendy. Bathing naked in the sea was going on in England as early as 1840. However, during the reign of Queen Victoria, this pleasure was outlawed. But it popped up again among the conservative Germans. In 1898, the first Naturist Club was founded in Essen and in 1900 the Wandering Birds group (<em>Wandervögel</em>) was scouring the country for uninhabited places and naked sunbathing. In the same year, Heinrich Pudor wrote <em>The C</em><em>ult of </em><em>the </em><em>Nud</em><em>e</em>, winning the hearts of contemporary supporters of naturism.</p><p>In the 1920s, on the back of this, members of the Movement for Natural Healing (<em>Naturheilbewegung</em>) organized naked sunbathing for the improvement of health. Persuaded by Pudor's theory of the healing properties of the sun and wind, which could be absorbed through the skin, they launched the naked revolution.</p><p>Pudor's book became the naturists' manifesto and soon after, not far from Hamburg, the Free Body Culture (<em>Freikörperkultur</em>, or FKK) movement was founded. This spread through other German centres and brought together thousands of people. The FKK still operates under the same name today.</p><p>The cult of the naked body even wrote itself into the ideology of fascist Germany, which advocated a pure, Aryan race. But in 1933, Hermann Göring issued an order that defined nudity as "the greatest threat to the German soul" and, with that, criminalized naturist organizations. But this wasn't the end of the movement. The naturists went underground, continuing their activities under the guise of improving physical fitness.</p><p>In 1936, the idea was even floated of having a naturist display to open the Berlin Olympic Games. It was quickly dropped. Despite this, in 1939 the naturists managed to organize their own Games in the Swiss village of Thielle.</p>
Would you ever have sex with a robot?
- In 2016, "Harmony", the world's first AI sex robot was designed by a tech firm called Realbotix.
- According to 2020 survey data, more than one in five Americans (22 percent) say they would consider having sex with a robot. This is an increase from a survey conducted in 2017.
- Robots (and robotic tech) already play a vital role in speeding up manufacturing, packaging, and processing across various industries.
From homemade dildos to Harmony, the AI sex robot<span style="display:block;position:relative;padding-top:56.25%;" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="3f7451615568e74c6a839f04329c9902"><iframe type="lazy-iframe" data-runner-src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/-cN8sJz50Ng?rel=0" width="100%" height="auto" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" style="position:absolute;top:0;left:0;width:100%;height:100%;"></iframe></span><p><em>"...amid an economic crisis, with restaurants and retailers closing their doors and larger companies laying off and furloughing employees, the sex tech industry is booming."</em><br></p><p>A Bustle <a href="https://www.bustle.com/wellness/the-sex-tech-industry-is-booming-amid-economic-crisis-22819801" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">article</a> published in April 2020, weeks after COVID-19 was declared a pandemic, explored the drastic boost in the sex tech industry. According to the research, <a href="https://www.dameproducts.com/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Dame Products</a> (a popular sex toy retailer) experienced a 30 percent increase in sales between the months of February to April, and popular sexual wellness brand <a href="https://unboundbabes.com/?utm_source=%7Bsource%7D&utm_medium=%7Bmedium%7D&utm_keyword=unbound%20babes&utm_matchtype=e&device=c&utm_campaign=%7Bcampaign%7D&utm_adgroup=%7Badgroup%7D&gclid=CjwKCAjw1v_0BRAkEiwALFkj5qYbdEwANUjCdRkCeVZ2HZzHjcGmpYbsOXYcMcNneLc2nySvrbaalBoChEsQAvD_BwE" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Unbound</a> reported selling twice as many toys as normal in this period.</p><p>While the new coronavirus was crashing the economy in other ways, the sex tech industry was one of the few that actually saw improvements, likely due to people all over the world being advised, encouraged, and in some instances forced to stay at home.</p><p>Something similar happened in 2008, <a href="https://www.villagevoice.com/2010/08/23/the-great-recession-is-a-turn-on-for-the-sex-toy-industry/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">during the recession</a>: the sex toy industry was one of the only industries at the time that didn't gravely suffer. </p><p><strong>The evolution of sex tech from stone dildos to artificial intelligence.</strong></p><p><a href="https://sofiagray.com/what-is-the-history-of-sex-toys-from-stone-to-silicone-and-beyond/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">The history of sex toys</a> is quite interesting. A 28,000-year-old siltstone dildo was uncovered in Germany in 2005. Luxury bronze dildos have also been found in China that are at least 2,000 years old.</p><p>Aside from various materials being shaped into dildos, there has always been an interest in how to advance sex technology, even before it involved actual technology at all.</p><ul><li>The 1700s: Steam-powered vibrators (such as the Manipulator).</li><li>The 1800s—1900s: The invention of the first electric vibrator (the Pulsoson) and "beauty tools" being used for sexual satisfaction (such as the Polar Cub massager)</li><li>The 1920s—1940s: The introduction of hand-held massagers (the Andis Vibrator) and compact devices (such as the Oster Stim-U-Lax)</li><li>The 1940s—1960s: Japan introduced the "Cadillac of Vibrators" (The Hitachi Magic Wand), which eventually made it's way to America.</li><li>1965: The invention of silicone, which most modern sex toys are made of.</li><li>The 1980s—1990s: The invention of the rabbit-style vibrator, made more popular with one of the first showings of a sex toy on television ("Sex and the City"). </li><li>The 2000s: Visual porn website Pornhub launched and sex toys became increasingly popular. Erotic literature also became more common and popular, with "50 Shades of Grey" and others like it. </li><li>The 2010s and beyond: Sex toys and technology start to blend, and the world's first internet-controlled sex toy was launched in 2010 by Lovense.</li></ul><p>In 2016, "Harmony", <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-cN8sJz50Ng" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">the world's first AI sex robot</a> was designed by a tech firm called Realbotix. </p>
From television shows to real-life applications, artificial intelligence (AI) is becoming more and more popular in all areas of human life.
Credit: Willyam Bradberry on Shutterstock<p>In 2020, more than one in five Americans (22 percent) say they would consider having sex with a robot. <a href="https://today.yougov.com/topics/science/articles-reports/2020/03/19/2020-both-men-and-women-are-more-likely-consider-h" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">YouGov conducted a study</a> in February 2020 that compared results from a similar study from 2017.<br></p><p>According to the results, 6 percent more people in 2020 are comfortable with the idea of having sex with a robot than in 2017.</p><p>YouGov points out that the increase in consideration is particularly significant among American adults between the ages of 18-34 years old. Additionally, how people feel about having sex with a robot has also changed. In 2020, 27 percent of Americans said they would consider it cheating if they had a partner who had sex with a robot during the relationship, compared to the 32 percent reported in 2017.</p><p><strong>"If you had a partner who had sex with a robot, would you consider it cheating?"</strong></p><p>The results from this interesting study also reveal that many people (42 percent) believe having sex with a robot is safer than having sex with a human stranger.</p><p>Robots (and robotic tech) already play a vital role in speeding up manufacturing, packaging, and processing across various industries. From television shows to real-life applications, artificial intelligence is becoming more and more popular in all areas of human life.</p><p>According to YouGov, "a <a href="https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-07-12/amazon-plans-high-end-echo-ramps-up-work-on-alexa-home-robot" target="_blank">Bloomberg</a> report outlining Amazon's plans for an Alexa-powered robot that follows and helps you around the home may redefine how these machines service humans in the near future." </p>