At Global Pet Expo, amid the myriad of leashes, collars, food and treats, I started to get into a bit of a trade show fog. Aisle after aisle of beautiful and alluring pet products were on display and even with the best of intentions, I found myself on sensory overload. Then I walked by SignatureDNA Unleashed and was mesmerized by the portrait of a beautiful gray Abyssinian cat.
The goal of Signature DNA Unleashed is to bring out the singular, vivid personality of every pet. Our artists serve that uniqueness in everything they do.
Cat’s Unique Traits are both Visible and Invisible
All of us who are fortunate enough to share our lives with cats know the traits, quirks and temperament that define the unique personality of each individual. We know their likes and dislikes, their moods and express love and respect by looking into their eyes. Sure, we talk to our cats, but if you are like me, the closest bond you feel is when you exchange a deep soulful look into their eyes.
Each cat’s visible personality is as unique as their invisible DNA. It is even becoming standard in the scientific community to speak about animal emotions. Not only are there differences among species in how they express their emotions and what they feel, but there are also differences among individuals of the same species. Not all animals will experience or express joy, grief, or jealousy in the same way so it is important to take each individual’s needs into consideration. Award winning scientist Marc Bekoff’s research has shown that just as in humans, each animal has their own personality and that animals can be bold, shy, playful, aggressive, sociable, curious, emotionally stable, agreeable, extroverted, introverted, dominant or submissive (Bekoff, 2007). And this is also true for the big cats. Each tiger is distinct both visible in their personality and invisible in their DNA.
I think most of us agree that our cats are members of our family and we know what is best for the cats that share our lives. It stands to reason that decisions about a cat’s well-being and emotional health should be guided by those that love, care and know them best. Amid the captive big cat crisis, it is important to remember that each cat should be evaluated for their individual needs. We cannot ignore their emotional well-being. Just because the cat is classified as a “generic” tiger does not mean there are generic solutions. Stricter laws and regulations are needed and are being enacted but that does not change the fact that there are captive cats caught in the crossfire. We, as humans owe it to each captive cat to allow them to live their best life, whether we believe it to be ideal or not.
Animals can suffer greatly over a separation or loss and the universal signs of grief are seen when animals respond to death of a mate, family member, or friend (Bekoff, 2007). Animals that have developed a bond with a human deserve to be evaluated on an individual basis and not just lumped into a species classification with groups rallying about what should have or could have been. Those of us bonded with our domestic cats would not want a stranger deciding what is best for our cat based on statistics and armchair activists. The same is true for the big cats. We need to approach each situation gently with humility and open hearts to achieve understanding (Goodall,2003). There is no place for accusations, anger and hostility.
A Vivid Expression of the One-of-a-Kind Friend who Means the World to You.
The unique genetic portraits of the animals that are created by SignatureDNA stirred emotion in me. It is incredibly important to remember, that each animal is as unique as each human being, with wants and needs, likes and dislikes, and an emotional well-being that needs guarded and protected. It is our duty and responsibility as their friends and caretakers for the privilege of getting to share our lives with them.
And it is also our responsibility as individuals to take the time and make the effort to learn about the unique personality and needs of an individual animal, no matter what we read on the internet, or see and hear on the videos we watch on YouTube. Just like with the unique DNA of an animal, there are things both visible and invisible that need to be evaluated and respected in every animal.
SignatureDNA Caught my Eye and Tugged at my Heart
This is why SignatureDNA Unleashed caught my eye and tugged at my heart. The hauntingly beautiful images are a gentle reminder of the uniqueness of every living being. They create an actual image of your animal’s DNA and combine it with your favorite pet photo as a vivid expression of the one-of-a-kind friend who means the world to you and will endure as a loving memory for years to come.
What personality traits are unique to your cat and dog that share your life?
Bekoff, M. (2007). The Emotional Lives of Animals: A Leading Scientist Explores Animal Joy, Sorrow, and Empathy- and Why They Matter. Novato, CA: New World Library.
Goodall, J. (2003). Reason for Hope: A Spiritual Journey. New York, NY: Grand Central Publishing.
Joanne McGonagle’s Global Field Masters of Zoology will be completed in 2012. Her Master Plan is focused on big cats.