For many pets, life is “solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short” – with apologies to Thomas Hobbes. As domesticated animals, they have a right to expect better from their social contract with humankind. Your canine or cat has exchanged their rights of nature for a life on the borderlands of civilisation. They walk in the shadow of humanity. Your pet has embarked upon a covenant with you and your family, to live as near an animal can to humans. But this is a contract between two parties, and you must honour your end of the bargain too.

Living with Pets: A Social Contract

Is it a case of you scratch my back and I will scratch yours? What is the commonwealth between two such distinct species? “Do not that to another, which thou wouldest not have done to thyself.” But has your moggy or doggy, even, read the bible? What is your compact based upon? Living with pets: a social contract must be formed on a practical and achievable basis. Your pet dreams of the wild, where only the laws of nature proscribe behaviour. Their love is of the hunt and of the kill; and what have they traded that in for?

The security of two meals a day, a water bowl, and a place by the fire. An occasional cuddle, a scratch behind the ears and the warmth of companionship. They have exchanged their liberty and freedom for the commonwealth provided by you. But justice must exist for both pet and human. If these domesticated animals are to live in your home on your property, allowances must be made and adjustments configured. Think about pet friendly furniture in Sydney, or wherever you make your abode.

If you have made a social contract with a Rottweiler do not adorn your living space with delicate frilly coverings. Siamese cats are best served with a surface they can scratch without destroying your valuable property. There is no justice or injustice in the state of nature, but there is inside your home. Remember your social contract with these brave animals. Fleas, ticks and ring worm are occasional reminders of their natural past. Be merciful and endeavour to share your dominion, your civitas, with your shaggy friends. You may be sovereign, but you have chosen to live in concord with a domesticated animal. In good times and in bad, you must via mutual covenant with one another find peace and prosperity together.