This isn’t always the case

I actually suspect the idea that cat ownership’s correlated with less green space’s only true for the developed world. As in when it comes to cultures and countries where dog walking’s rare if people did own dogs it’s usually for a few things like hunting, shepherding and guarding the former two being the only times where most adults would walk their dogs. This would make dog walking for pleasure a very recent thing.

It might not even be consistent among non-Western countries and even some Western countries to an extent (Russia for instance). Both Cameroon and Nigeria are highly agricultural but the latter doesn’t tolerate cats that much whereas the former does even if some degree of distrust occurs. If I’m not mistaken, at least in two studies (one in Yaounde and the other in Bamileke villages) cats outnumbered dogs by a margin.

Mostly for pest control. Conversely speaking, some African communities, locales and churches (like their European counterparts before them) associate dogs with witchcraft even if that doesn’t stop people from owning dogs. Though it does hurt their popularity. Ireland may’ve had a higher cat ownership rate before in the Middle Ages due to Catslechta in which cats are assigned jobs.

Same with dogs in Rwanda prior to the genocide. So pet ownership rates aren’t always due to the amount of available green space (that’s if/when dog walking for pleasure’s not fashionable yet) but also social and cultural beliefs. It’s like why some people don’t walk their dogs often and don’t let them in for long’s that they (secretly) associate dogs with filth even if they own them themselves.

If they think dogs are dirty, if they did own dogs at all the dogs would be expected to stay outside in time (as to literally not deal with their poop often) and wouldn’t walk their dogs often in public too. If dogs are expected to be distrusting towards outsiders, it makes sense that if the dog’s inside owners are expected to distract them to keep them from repelling visitors.

And also partly why some people don’t walk their dogs is because they expect them to guard premises. Ad infinitum, ad nauseum with other animals to whatever degree.

British Cats

Not that it’s any better either to whatever degree for whatever reason but I partly suspect the real reason why cat ownership’s relatively higher in the United Kingdom (if I’m not mistaken, higher in Scotland) than in Ireland’s that cats are still valuable and practical. Especially when it comes to keeping vermin down in not just churches and farms (the old-fashioned way) but also ships and distillery.

It’s not that Britons necessarily like cats more (though social attitudes would’ve changed and aren’t even necessarily universal nor consistent) but because they tolerate them more. Especially when it comes to industries that still rely on working cats that I think partly explains why would more Scottish people* own cats than Irish people do.

Both of them have a shared history, famines and agriculture. But there are big differences with Ireland being this heavily rocked by serious social upheavals and famines that whatever prior tolerance they have for cats like they did in medieval times would’ve declined as much as Rwandan tolerance for dogs did.

Not to mention with Ireland achieving independence from Britain much sooner, it can be said that Scottish dependence on Britain’s something of a blessing in disguise socioeconomically speaking.

*I could be misremembering things but I also forgot the actual link so.

Irish Cats

Whilst it’s true that in some studies, dogs are much more popularly owned in Italy than cats keep in mind that it’s also true that Ireland (at least in the Middle Ages) used to be cat-centric or at least relatively more tolerant of cats than other European countries back then. In that there were cat laws and the like based on what cats were made to do or something. It did eventually sour though I also think it would’ve been analogous to how Rwandans feel about dogs.

Rwanda could’ve been a more dog-loving country before but once the war set loose, with dogs eating corpses it soured everything and anything for others. That would’ve been true for cats in Ireland especially as the 19th century happened due to repeated famines and the like. If that’s the case, this makes sense given the bad experiences due to bad socioeconomic conditions and the like.

Let’s not also forget that Cameroon’s a highly agricultural country but one that tolerates cats more in contrast to Nigeria. Cameroonians don’t necessarily like cats but the fact that it’s relatively common for them to own cats, sometimes outnumbering those who own dogs, suggests that they’re tolerated for having some value.

One could say similar things about Germany where there’s considerably more cat owners but it’s not just due to apartment living but also because cats are still valuable to farmers (based on what I’ve read but the same can be said of its neighbours and Britain to varying degrees). So I still think the Irish preference for dogs might’ve more to do with traumatic experiences from the famine and the like than it would about agriculture (to some extent).

Cameroon’s one such example where a good number of people still farm but also where it’s relatively common for them to own cats especially if/when it’s needed to hunt vermin. Same thing with Russia.

It’s bound to happen

I actually come to think of gay marriage as the inevitable byproduct of love marriage in the sense that if everybody are free to love whom they desire those characters could be anybody from people of certain ethnicities to those of the same gender. Preference, orientation whoever they are but a lot of it’s motivated by desire. It’s not that LGBT marriages didn’t exist before but due to missionary influence some of them are lost to time.

As for interethnic/interracial marriages, they did exist before but often as a byproduct of immigration and it still is the case today. (There’s a study on Anglo-Gaelic marriages in medieval Ireland and some Pygmy women are known to marry Bantu men upon moving into Bantu settlements.) Love marriages weren’t nonexistent either but the forms they took differed.

Either it was born out of negotiation (especially to improve another family’s standing or to settle differences), necessity (especially among heterdox Muslims where nobody else are nice enough to them) or is accompanied by obligation. Either they can marry whom they desire but with their parents’ approval or they can marry if they’re made to do favours (Baka Pygmy* and Serego-Alighieri).

*I have a feeling that the idea that some hunter-gatherers are monotheistic may prove certain religions right.

The original traditional marriage

The original traditional marriage’s basically and practically arranged marriage though the way it’s arranged varies between communities, families and individuals. You could get semi-arranged marriage where you either get to marry the person you desire for as long as your family approves of them or you marry that person but where their in-laws expect you to do favours (especially among Baka Pygmy). Then there’s forced marriage and regular arranged marriage.

Keep in mind, interracial/interethnic marriage existed before but often as a consequence of migration. There were Anglo-Gaelic intermarriages in Ireland. Some Pygmies, especially women, migrate and then marry into Bantu families. It’s confirmed that some Jews are a byproduct of historical intermarriages between Jews and Italians. That’s still a thing to do this day.

Albeit to whatever extent that is in addition to neighbourly negotiations. (If I’m not mistaken about the Medici, Lorenzo’s parents made him date and marry Clarice if because she’s useful enough to elevate their position and prestige more than if he married the love of his life Lucrezia.) At other times, especially in Europe at some point men also married up. Especially if a rich daughter-in-law’s needed to better their financial situation.

Marquis de Sade’s family nearly went broke and to better save his family’s finances, he married the wealthier Renee-Pelagie de Montreuil. Jakob Fugger married Sibylle for similar reasons, ad infinitum for his peers and others before him. It’s not that love marriages didn’t happen before. Quite likely poorer people had semi-arranged marriages and among heterodox Muslim communities, love marriages are often the norm but because there’s almost nobody else kind enough to them.

It’s not that desire was entirely nonexistent but it was either not the only reason, just one of the few options in a hostile world (especially for heterodox Muslims) or accompanied by obligations (Baka-Pygmies and when Marcantonio Serego married an Alighieri woman, his son was made to add her maiden-name to theirs). Desire as the sole main reason for marriage en masse happened much more recently.

Though it can be argued some parents leer at their children whenever they marry somebody not up to their expectations and standards so it’s like arranged marriage has a persistent half-life or something.

South African Lives

I guess of all the Sub-Saharan African countries out there, it’s South Africa that’s got a substantial white population which was at some point the ruling ethnicity. It doesn’t matter if they’re a minority but when they hold disproportionate power over the majority ethnicity it does feel unfair as well as almost disingenous. Maybe that’s not the right word for it and I’m somewhat in the dark about South Africa.

(To be honest, I’m more familiar with Cameroon, Uganda, Ghana, Nigeria, Democratic Republic of Congo and Kenya.)

But when it comes to South Africa, well if/when white people despite being a minority have a disproportionate say on the majority it not only feels unfair but also jarring. Especially when it comes to representation. I suspect that’s also similar in Brazil where although a significant number are black they’re disproportionately underrepresented in the higher ups.

Whilst it wouldn’t be any better in other African countries either, it’s possibly more analogous to what Arabs and Berbers have in Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia. If Berbers are the majority ethnicity yet Arabs are the ruling ethnicity, it’s inevitably unfair to the majority group (though it wouldn’t be any better if such ethnicities are the minority, if America and Sweden are any indication).

That they’re forced to assimiliate to those overlords and scour for whatever representation they have is enough to feel harshly unfair. This maybe changing but I get the impression of discrimination against Berbers in North Africa to be similar to what Bantus are getting in South Africa. The majority get discriminated sometimes for all the little things they do.

(Similar things have happened to minorities like Bretons, Samis and African Americans, Anglophone Cameroonians or Irish speakers in Ireland before.)

They’re sometimes unsupported and underrepresented in positions of power though that may be changing now. But when such ethnicities, majority or minority, get underrepresented that it feels as if they’re seen as none of a big deal. Even when they do matter in some way and they’re people just like everybody else.

It seems discrimination’s the same, whether if it’s aimed at disadvantaged majorities (Berbers, South African Bantus) or minorities (Bretons, African Americans, Samis).

The Animal-human Boundary: Historical Perspectives (Excerpt)

This might have very interesting implications for the Turkish Aleviller, a Muslim community commonly assumed to have Christian influences enough to be a form of of Crypto-Christianity itself.

Impure Animals Par Excellence: Dogs, Cats and Mice

The life of the Irish saint Declan, written sometime after the life of Moling, recounts that when Declan was entertained by a certain Dercanus, this vir gentilis tried to pull a trick on the saint. He asked his servants to kill a dog, to hide its head and legs by burying them, and to prepare its meat should resemble mutton. Declan, however, being a saint, suspected that he was served unlawful (illicitum) food, and discovered in the food offered to them a dog’s claw, which Dercanus’s servants had overlooked when slaughtering the animal. Just like horses, dogs, so we may conclude, from this story were not regarded as proper food in Ireland in the twelfth century either. Unlike in the case of the horse, however, no ecclesiastical or secular ruling forbade the consumption of dog meat. From this we must conclude that while there were some discussion was permissability of horsemeat, such a discussion was unthinkable in the case of dogs. Only in times of famine did people apparently resort to dog meat.*

The fact that dogs are found in the same archaeological context as horses strengthens the view of dietary rules were not primarily aiming to obliterate pagan sacrifices. If the practise of burying horses reflected pagan rituals in which horses were ritually consumed, we would expect such rituals in the case of dogs, which are found in similar archaeological circumstances. Yet there was no early medieval rule forbidding the consumption of dog meat. Apparently people in this period did not need to be warned while eating dogs. Archaeological evidence suggests that while in ancient Gaul dogs were used as food, they were no longer regarded as such in early medieval times. In the absence of of any regulation forbidding the consumption of dogs such a shift seems more the result of a Romanising process than of an influence of Christian norms. The first reference to eating dog meat comes from the beginning of the 13th century, when Robert Grosseteste imported a three days’ penance on a poor man who ate a dog in time of need. This constrast between eating horse or canine meat is already clear in the stories of Moling and Declan. While the couple offering Moling food in fact had horsemeat in the house for consumption, the vir genetilis Dercanus was clearly trying to test the holy man.

The dog was not only unthinkable as food, it was also held to be impure. This at least in part, seems to be an explanation that involved carrying a dog. Food touched by dogs was held to be unclean. The Paenitentiale Bigotianum imposes a one-year penance for drinking something contaminated by a dog (quod intimat canis). A similar canon is implied by Theodore of Canterbury when he says that it doesn’t matter if a dog, a mouse or (an)other unclean animal that bloods, touches food. Cuimmean imposed a penance of three special facts (superpositiones) for someone who ate or drank something that was contaminated by ‘a household animal that is a mouse-catcher’ (familiaris bestia quae est muriceps). A similar provision is to be found in the Canones Hibernenses. These passages have been translated as rules concerning contamination of food by cats, but they apply to dogs as well as shown by the gloss added to this sentence by PPS Theodori and the PPS Egberti. The canon from the Old Irish Penitential, translated by Binchy, as ‘Anyone who drinks the leaving of a cat does five days penance, should possibly be also interpreted as regarding something polluted by a dog. For information on what sorts of food people might have eschewed, it is also useful to look at works in which foreign peoples and their habits are described. In one of the Cosmographia of Aethicus Ister–an enigmatic test that might or might not have been composed in the 8th century and was also well-known in Southern Germany things one of which is meat from dogs. This does not tell us much about the Turks (whatever people the author may have had in mind using the term, possibly Avars), but quite a lot about the prevalent conceptions of proper food in the time and region in which the author was writing.

That the dig was not held in high esteem might partly be the result of Proverbs 26:11, which speaks about the sinner returning to his former sins just as the dog returns to vomit, a text well known to authors of penitenials. All sorts of food that had become impure, and therefore unsuitable for human consumption was given to the dogs. As we have seen, dogs were fed not only meat from dead horses but also the remains of animals gnawed upon by wild beasts or animals that had to be killed because they had been polluted by sexual contact with humans. Especially the holy had to be safeguarded against the impure; thus vomiting the Eucharist could be regarded as an act requiring reparation by a forty days’ penance. Even in case of sickness, a penance was required through only one of seven days. The penance for this act was, however, increased to a hundred days if dogs licked up the vomit containing the Holy Eucharist. Anxieties about the possible contamination of the Holy Eucharist inspired a whole group of sententiae concerning the Host, which proved to be highly influential.

One of the concerns experessed in these canons is that the Eucharist, if it is not well-guarded, will be nibbled on by a mouse. This brings up to another category of animals held to be impure: mice. We have already seen that mouse-catching was seen as characteristic of impure animals like the cat and the dog. If a mouse or a chicken or something else falls into wine and water, nobody should drink from it. Such rules have been read as hygienic rules meant to educate the barbarian pagans. They should, however, be read as careful demarcations of the pure and impure. Another text, for example, makes a distinction between a clean bird (avis munda) on the one hand, and an unclean bird or a mouse (immunda avis aut sorix) on the other, when dealing with wine, oil, or honey polluted by such animals falling into them. In the first case, a ritual cleansing will make the food acceptable again while in the second case, the food cannot be used and whoever sells this polluted substance to someone else should do penance for a year. The equation between mouse and an unclean bird suggests that the mouse is also an unclean animal**. In some instances, the mouse is associated with the weasel, which, therefore, might also be reckoned among unclean animals. We might indeed have to interpret terms like mus and sorex as denoting several kinds of small rodents. In fact, Theodore grouped the dog, the cat, and the mouse when he decidedĀ  that it does no harm to eat food touched by these animals or by (an)other animal that feeds on blood. Here, therefore, the dogs, cats, and mice seemed to be grouped together as the ‘impure animals’ par excellence, leaving room, however for other unclean animals feeding on blood.

*Likely true for cat meat and I think somewhere in a Philippine news report, there was talk of cat meat in Asingan.

***In some Cameroonian communities, they’re associated with witchcraft.