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Why humans love small furries
20 June 2009 ~ 15:25You know, we human beings love keeping small furry mammals as pets, and it got me wondering exactly WHY we do that. I mean, there is usually an evolutionary reason why people do anything they do.
At first, I couldn't think of any logical explanation. Prehistoric man kept dogs as guards, and later he kept livestock for milk, wool etc, and cats to keep down mouse and rat numbers because they ate grain.
But the early dogs weren't tolerated as cuddly pets. They were just for protection. And why do we keep animals like rabbits and hamsters around?
I think the clue lies in the proven scientific fact that cuddling and stroking a furry pet lowers stress and blood pressure, and increases feel-good endorphins.
Now I know some of us keep reptiles and amphibians as pets, but the vast majority of human pets are mammals, and the second most popular group are birds. Birds' feathers are soft and warm very much like fur.
Then suddenly I understood. We love to cuddle small pets because we feel parental love for them. I know I do for my girls. And that's it. Small furry mammals remind us of our own closeness with our infants at a time when we ourselves were still furry! So cuddling your rat is a throwback to the good feelings we felt nursing and comforting our ape babies.