Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

What is the purpose of a cat?

  1. May 3, 2003 #1
    What is the purpose of a cat?
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 4, 2013
  2. jcsd
  3. May 3, 2003 #2
    Hesudens, I'm sure there is some philosophical objective behind this question?

    Anyhow, a cat (like other pets) helps lower one's blood pressure because pet owners/cat owners calm down faster than people who don't have pets.
  4. May 4, 2003 #3
    owning a cat is a philosophical exercise in loving unconditionally a being technologically and intellectually far inferior to yourself while being completely submissive to it. my cat is possibly the only 'person' able to interupt me in the middle of a good book/new scientist and somehow end up being smothered in kisses, pathetic really, i have no will power :smile:
  5. May 4, 2003 #4
    Ok. Your way of answering is that a cat has a purpose to us.
    Helping to lower the blood pressure...

    But what is the purpose of a cat outside of human purpose.

    Wouldn't a cat have purpose:
    - to itself? A cat can gie birth to cats, so a cat is a purpose to itself.
    - to other animals, to nature?
    Last edited: May 4, 2003
  6. May 4, 2003 #5

    Another God

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Gold Member

    to eat, reproduce and be merry.
  7. May 4, 2003 #6
    This fits to the definition of the purpose of many animals. What is specific for the cat?

    If it is the purpose of a cat to eat, reproduce and be merry, why isn't it
    - a dog?
    - a horse?

    Somehow there is something missing in your explenation.
  8. May 4, 2003 #7
    The purpose of a cat is to inspire silly questions that can't be answered, like what is the purpose of this thread. :0)
  9. May 4, 2003 #8
    To draw attention to the fact that it's a cat and to illustrate the diversity of the Universe. Aside from the fact that it holds the copyright to the "cat's meow."

    And let's not forget a cat has three names ... the name his master calls him, his scientific name, and the name that nobody knows but the cat himself. These are the three degrees which correspond to reality as well.
  10. May 4, 2003 #9
    Re: Purpose

    That's like asking what the purpose of one's existence is.
  11. May 4, 2003 #10


    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    Thats exactly like asking what ones existance is.
  12. May 4, 2003 #11
    purpose of Shrödinger's cat is to cause amusement and horror in those who believe it, and, huh, in mice.
    That pretty much sums it up, imo.
  13. May 4, 2003 #12

    Another God

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Gold Member

    lap warmer?
  14. May 5, 2003 #13
    Well, I can't stand cats. They bother me. However, your question is not related to my personal feelings about cats so...

    The purpose of cats is exactly the same as that of any other animal. If you are Biblically religious, that purpose is to bring glory to Him that created them. If you are coming from purely scientific standpoint, then they don't really have "purpose" as purpose is a metaphysical concept that has no bearing on the natural world, except in the case of sentient beings.
  15. May 5, 2003 #14
    The thread is about exploring what we mean with "purpose". Is there any purpose related to the existence of a cat?
  16. May 5, 2003 #15
    Re: Purpose

    You'll have to ask the cat.
  17. May 5, 2003 #16
    Draw attention to who, and illustrate to who?

    Cat's are assumed to be existent long before mankind came into existence. And the coming into existence of mankind was not a "sure thing" at that time. Therefore these can't be possible explenations for the purpose of the cat.
  18. May 5, 2003 #17
    I tend to agree with this. The only purpose of a cat I can think of is that the cat has a purpose to itself, and came into existence because of the evolutionary conditions that turned the predecessor of the cat into a cat like animal. The cat therefore fulfilled the purpose of being better adapted to it's environment, and was therefore able to reproduce itself.
  19. May 5, 2003 #18

    I have a cat. He's morbidly obese. :frown:

    Well, I don't really agree with that. Questions about the "purpose" or "function" of this or that are asked and answered in biology all the time, and not surprisingly, such questions help us capture certain patterns of relations in the subject matter that otherwise we would have missed. I'm sure you'll agree, for example, that one can safely say that wings are for flying (that is, the purpose of wings is to provide flight), and that such a statement explains something of scientific import (i.e. why there is selection for wings).

    One can similarly ascribe a functional role to cats, a role that they play in some ecological schema. For example, if the presence of cats controls the population of mice in an environment, we might rationalize the presence of cats by saying that cats are for controlling the population of mice, and this would explain something of scientific import (i.e. why there are cats).
  20. May 5, 2003 #19
    What are you saying cats just came about aimlessly? And, that this whole universe exists for the same purpose, aimlessly? Then does that not also imply that you, as an aimless so-and-so, have no business whatsover, trying to persuade the rest of us aimless so-and-so's, how purposeful you are and how intelligent you are, by presenting such an entirely aimless idea?

    ... i.e., draw attention to the fact that it exists and is an integral part of reality. And becomes witnessable to whomever or whatever wishes to observe it.
    Last edited: May 5, 2003
  21. May 5, 2003 #20
    You didn't read my posts very well. My argument was that some see the "purpose of the cat" only in terms of human purpose. Which can't be an explenation for the reasons I gave. A cat might be seen as having purpose to human beings, but that can not be the reason there are cats, because cats existed long before mankind came into being.

    Further I argued that the only purpose (in sofar one can meaningfully adress purpose to something in nature, and not get caught up in metaphysicist conceptions) one can adress to the existence and apearance of a cat, lies in evolutionairy 'reasons' for the cat to develop from it's predecessors. The cat fitted better in the environment, had better ways of reproduction, then it's predecessors.

    As for the existence of the universe, however, there does not exist a ground for giving any reason for it's existence. This is just because there is no alternative to an existing universe. The universe can not fail to exist.

    This isssue is further treated in the thread The Fundamental Question..
    Last edited: May 5, 2003
Know someone interested in this topic? Share this thread via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook

Have something to add?

Similar Discussions: What is the purpose of a cat?
  1. What is the purpose? (Replies: 7)