Kevin Lieber of VSauceTwo offers a fairly comprehensive explanation of how certain animals became considered as pets, how these domesticated animals have been regarded and how humans can connect with their own humanity through the love of a pet.
More than half of you keep a non-human creature in your house. Sometimes in your bed. People treat their pets like family – like babies. Why? Pets almost seem like a cuteness tax, but our relationships with them today and throughout history can teach us a lot about who we are. And what we think it means to be a human. …By separating ourselves from nature – we express what makes us uniquely human. But it’s not easy to figure out what that is. Our ever-changing relationships with animals affect our understanding of what they are, but also what we are. In 1947, Psychoanalyst Erich Fromm wrote, “Man is the only animal for whom his own existence is a problem which he has to solve.” By reconnecting us with nature, pets help us navigate our existence. Which means scrolling for cat memes is actually a very serious existential activity.