Does your furry friend really love you? We don’t know the arf of ...

World

Does your furry friend really love you? We don’t know the arf of it

Do animals love us for ourselves, or as a food supply? A new series examines the inner lives of cats and dogs

Flic Everett

Like most dog and cat owners I spend a great deal of time with my pets. Ellroy, five, a working cocker spaniel, Larkin, almost one, and my ancient cat Cowpatch, 20, are my constant companions.

As an empty-nester I now invest all my leftover parenting energy into singing made-up songs (“You mustn’t chase the postman” is a favourite), kissing velvety noses, indulging in lengthy cuddling sessions and dispensing treats. But despite my adoration, I still don’t know exactly how they feel about me. Am I their beloved owner, needed and admired? Or am I simply a dumb mark, easily manipulated to maximise their enjoyment of life?

Many pet owners have wondered the same, and now, a new two-part BBC Four documentary, How We Tamed the Cat and Dog, aims to answer the fundamental question of whether they need us as much as we need them...

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