Say there was a man who was exactly like any other, except twice the size. His house would be twice the size of a typical house; his roof twice as high; his car twice as large; everything that he owned would be scaled up to his size.
Could this man keep a lion inside his home the way you or I would keep a housecat? If there was a giant litter-box (normal by his standard) would the lion use it the way a housecat uses a normal litterbox? If there was a kind of dry cat food that came in larger chunks that the lion prefer, would he eat it? I mean, obviously a normal cat would prefer real meat, but he’s content to eat dry cat food if that’s the only thing available.
Would the lion behave inside the home? Would it be kind to its owner?
The reason I wonder is because I figure the only reason why our housecats don’t attack us is because they know that we’re too large for them to kill. They are, by nature, vicious predators, but they can easily live inside a home if they are raised from birth. So, similarly, could this hypothetical lion be like a housecat for its hypothetical and giant-sized owner?
the Lion would still not make a good pet until its ancestors have gone though several dozen (or more) generations of domestication. There’s probably nothing (except the cost and the protests that it would cause) to stop normal sized humans from breeding Lions specifically to domestic them.
Bulls are the same size or bigger than Lions and their wild ancestors (the aurochs) was feared as a vicious animal, but their ancestors are easily kept by people who the bull could in theory rend to pieces if it wanted to.
Lions are social animals, so their behavior would, I would think, be very different from the housecat, which comes from solitary stock. Prides have hierarchies. With a few thousand generations of domestication, lions might make better pets than cats because they could see the family as a pride, so there is some social instinct to manipulate.
I also find this much easier to think about if I imagine miniature lions, the size of large housecats.
Well assuming an average human male of 6 feet in height, and 200 lbs I’m not entirely certain that doubling the size would do it. We have very large people in the seven to eight foot range who weigh in at around 400 lbs; so I would imagine that a 12 foot human would probably be quite massive to support his or her own weight. My WAG is probably about 900-1200 lbs, which is only a little larger than the largest of lions. The average in the wild seems to be around the 500 pound mark, though captive specimens have gotten well into the 800 pound range. Given this, a lion would be about the same size as a mastiff type dog to a normal human. Now assuming that your cub was raised from birth around such large people, it is possible that one could domesticate them, but even still I would imagine a deal of collateral damage in the process. Mastiffs were bred UP in size from a smaller domesticated ancestor to perform their jobs and have a special temperament to ensure handler safety. Lions, are already that large and we would be working from scratch. A better bet would be a mountain lion or a leopard who don’t get so large in weight.
Gigantopithecus, the largest known type of ape, is estimated to have stood 9 and a bit feet in height and possibly as much as 1200 lbs. I don’t think we can get much larger while maintaining our current style of locomotion. There is serious debate as to whether this animal walked on two legs. I think that a triple sized person is probably out of the question.
Shrink the lion down to house cat size then. The lion would still be a rotten pet. Think of having a vicious feral cat locked in your house with you, and shredding your shin to the bone every encounter.
I’m talking about raising the lion from birth. If the son or daughter of a feral cat were captured when born and then hand-raised in a home, would it not turn out more or less the same as a normal house-cat?
And does a normal house-cat not behave more or less like a lion, just a tiny version of one? I mean, it still viciously attacks anything that it can kill, such as mice, birds, rabbits and any other potential prey. It can still viciously maul you if you piss it off. If not neutered, it will still mark its territory with urine. Is the behavior of a typical house cat really that different from that of a wildcat?
Feral cats are the descendants of domesticated cats that were lost or abandoned: all the instincts we’ve bred for over the years are still there, so a kitten raised in the home is more or less the same as any kitten. Lions, though, are more like wolves than feral housecats.
There is a huge difference between “domesticated” (bred for generations for instincts that work well with humans) and “tamed” (raised by humans with natural, anti-social instincts repressed or conditioned away). Tamed animals can be kept, but they aren’t really ever pet-like.
Well presumably a human twice or three times bigger than a normal human would have much more strength and thicker skin to resist bites/attacks. I think good questions for this situation would be, just how thick of skin would a human need such that bites from a lion would be equivalent to bites to a cat? And at what size would a human need to be before a lion realizes “I probably shouldn’t even try to attack this thing.”
For example, most housecats know they can take on a rat but most don’t try and take on a human (which is probably in part due to domestication, but keep in mind that they don’t share the same respect for humans that dogs do). I just wonder what size a human would need to be before a lion essentially does the same.
With the same proportions, a 12-foot human would have a weight 8 times that of a 6-footer. This would be structurally unsound - e.g. bones would not be able to deal with the normal stresses of running, jumping, etc.
That’s what I thought. So far, I’ve been able to find a few people in the eight foot range, all of whom seem to weigh around 500 lbs. That places them at the same range as your regular wild african lion. Want to take a stab at what an actual 12 foot human might weigh?
That’s a good point. Cats generally attack and kill animals much smaller than them - mice, small birds, etc. I think lions in that sense would be more like dogs, which are used to hunting in packs and killing things the same size as them or bigger. Dogs are more can easily be dangerous to children (and adults!) unless they’ve been thoroughly domesticated and well trained, and it seems logical that lions would be the same.
My super friendly housecat just took a nip at me while I was brushing him. Even the most domesticated animal can get annoyed. I hate for that to have been a lion. I would have lost my arm.
Cats have been domesticated for thousands of years but you can’t breed the wild instincts out it. A lion could never become the cuddly toy you want it to be unless it was a robot.
Any reliabale behaviorist will tell you that a housecat and a lion/tiger/leopard are pretty much the same animal; the only real difference is size. Unlike dogs, which have been domesticated for 10-15,000 years, cats have only been our buddies for 3-4,000 years.