Do Our Pets Have Feelings?

Do animals have feelings seems like a silly question to those of us with pets of various species. You would think such a question can only be asked by those who have no relationship with the animal world.

It is believed by many that many animals share some of the same feelings as man – actually experiencing pain, grief, and joy. These beliefs are supported by not mere opinion or observation, but by science. As early a scholar as Aristotle (384 B.C. – 322 B.C.) wrote on this topic. Aristotle, for those who may not know, is one of the most important founding figures in Western philosophy who wrote on many different subjects, including physics, metaphysics, poetry, theater, music, logic, rhetoric, politics, government, ethics, biology and zoology. In his book “Historia Animalium”, or “On the History of Animals”, written around 343 B.C., Aristotle found evidence of emotion in animals. “Some are good-tempered, sluggish, and little prone to ferocity, as the ox; others are quick-tempered, ferocious, and unteachable, as the wild boar.” (Translated by Scottish zoologist Sir D’Arcy Wentworth Thompson (1860-1948), biologist, mathematician, classics scholar.)

So do our animals have feelings? Answer, does a bear go to the bathroom in the woods? (Cleaned up a bit for PG readers.) That is one of the age-old questions that has been answered long ago for most of us.

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