Now there’s a statement! Are pigs really such a great alternative – let’s see?! We’ll start by looking at what we’re proposing they are an alternative to.
A Dog – honestly, what’s it for? Principally it is a (relatively) low maintenance companion or’pet’, kept these several millennia by human beings to keep company and fulfil several extra needs that the man may have. Dogs can hunt, they can shield, they could herd other animals, and they can serve as an alarm system. Perceptive and biddable, the ideal all-rounder? Contemplating my dog, he costs me his food and the occasional injection and one or two bits of puppy paraphernalia (leads, bowls,’toys’, blankets, basket and treats), and in return he is far better than a door bell or car alarm, and has a set of gnashers than would frighten most people if they cross him or threaten me – he’s also a valuable alternative to chemical treatment for my depressive metabolism. Dogs smell when wet, like rolling in fox and cat poo, eat all manner of disgusting garbage, and drop hair everywhere they can around the house.
Is your pig a good alternative? A great one even? Not sure if I am honest. An alternative suggests a replacement,’accessible as another possibility’. So can a pig replace a dog? I wouldn’t let it in the home, their intelligence and strength / size makes them petty destructive creatures. The smell you can get used to, though I’d probably tolerate a dry dog better. They, like a puppy, eat anything (but probably more of it), have a magnificent sense of smell, and are entirely trainable – in fact they’re probably more intelligent than a dog, a few studies have shown that the pig has an intellect equivalent to that of a three year old human being! They tend to grow bigger (obviously this depends on strain ) than most dogs, certainly with much higher front-end strength and more powerful jaws. They’ve got lousy eyesight and aren’t especially mobile (so would be less demanding of exercise compared to a puppy ). They will probably live longer than a dog also, and in which there are a whole lot of breeds of pig, there’s far greater variety in the doggie world.
If you would like an alternative to a dog that doesn’t need much exercise, and you’ve got a garden that you don’t mind being grubbed up, and you don’t mind carrying a small whiff around with you, then a pig is a excellent alternative: a good companion, trainable, entertaining and fun to be around.
A Cat – hmmm, I have to confess a strong dog-bias here, so have not much positive to say about cats, but what they are extremely good at is possessing a household, looking graceful, and keeping individuals with restricted mobility happy. They are good company when they fancy it, but tend to look down on you in the same way as a dog looks up to you unreservedly. A cat is good at catching vermin (and songbirds also, which is a bit of a downside), but has horrible toilet habits. Cats aren’t so easy to train (because they can’t see the point). They come and go as they please, can use a flap, and are less costly to feed than a dog. Your pigs will consume any vermin dumb enough to offer themselves up in their pen, but aren’t gifted athletes or hunters. Pigs do not jump, are not reassuring to stroke, and aren’t really a gentle companion around the house – but then they haven’t got sharp claws .
A pig really isn’t any kind of alternative to a cat, let alone a great one! For a start they are more easily house trained and do not carry fleas that enjoy the taste of human beings. They’re also a heck of a lot larger than domestic cats but they won’t bring tiny animals and birds in your house either (they’ll have eaten them !) . Unlike your cat, the pig will always respect you as an equal, and be a lot more’needy’ of your attention.
To summarise then: give me a dog or a pig as opposed to a cat any time, but I am not convinced that the (let’s face it, better tasting) pig makes the better pet, although they’re a smart companion in the ideal setting (small holding, large garden, allotment maybe?) .