Crazy cat haters

 


I always remember having cats. My first cat, Pudgey, was my first pet of all, and while I don’t remember too much about her she was part of my home and what I consider a home to be.

My cats now, August and Truck, are two of the best things about my life, and I’m happy to talk about them to anyone for hours. I don’t think I could love them more. I also think of them as good cats for someone that doesn’t like cats. A visitor can get the whole span of who they are and what their personalities are pretty quickly, and to know a cat is to love a cat.

I picked August up as a barn cat here in Saratoga when he was about 10 weeks old. He is a beautiful cat that looks like an owl, really spastic but more loyal and friendly than any other cat I know. He’s been known to act as the big spoon when he crawls in to bed at night, little paws draped over me, but ever since I adopted Truck the boys sleep next to one another in a pile at the foot of the bed.

I first knew of Truck from an ad that ran in the Saratoga Sun sometime in August or September. I saw this big, fluffy cat lying down with his tummy up. I love long haired cats, so the next time I was in Rawlins I swung by the shelter and ended up leaving with him right away. Truck is more sensitive and reserved than August but I can’t conceive how anyone could have given him up. He has such an innocent, loving face with more charisma than I’ve ever known in a cat. He follows us around the house, lying fluff-side up in the same way he did in the ad when I first saw him. He also runs full sprint to mow August down, an irresistible temptation for any cat.


I think I come across enough folks that don’t like cats that I feel I have to explain my pets to them, why I have them and why I love them so much. It’s one of those things that people, including myself, always seem to automatically understand about dogs. They love you and they’re there for you. I think the animals in our lives are more important than we think, especially those of us that talk to their pets. We get the response we know we are looking for as well as loving something and being loved by it.

When I show up at a house for a party, a dinner or an event and there are animals in attendance, I know I will spend all my time with them. Pets can be hard to know but it’s very rewarding when you do make a friend with one, but it requires a good bit of sitting on the floor rubbing bellies. I can get a dog to hug me pretty quickly, if I do say so myself, but I think it’s because I’ve had cats. They’re harder to get to know.

I haven’t lived with an animal on my own until I’ve had this set of beasts, and I think that was when I finally understood how important they are to us.

When it was just August and I for several months, he waited for me to get home and planned his day around mine. I began to imagine him in almost lifelike situations—planning his day out, for instance. I got to know him so well that I could easily imagine him with a pen and little glasses in front of a tiny agenda.

I would get homesick and he was there. I would feel lonely and he was there.

Women and cats are a historical and cultural connection, with the black cat a symbol of the female witch and the “crazy cat lady” the stereotype of a spinster.

The cat will represent either a symptom for a problem or the reason for the problem itself. I’ve done some mild, curious research on the subject and the cultural association could possibly come from women and cats both responding to physical weakness on their part in the face of men and dogs, respectively. Seeing Truck in the face of a dog, I don’t know that the cat is afraid at all by its nature, so who knows how much truth there is to that.

Time Magazine reported that cats interact with females more than males, seeking out scratches and sitting on the laps of females instead, and I can only wildly speculate on why that is. I’ve read other research in the past that says women and cats form an almost maternal bond psychologically.

Some more research led to think-pieces about dog and cat products, one masculine and the other feminine in marketing and packaging. It, of course, doesn’t matter whether something is “for girls” or not, but I have to wonder if this feminizing has led to negative opinions about cats. My cats are both male, but people routinely call them “she.” Generally speaking, if something is marketed for women a large portion of the population will hate it on principle.

Whatever.

Similarly, research has shown that it’s only a foul stereotype that cats don’t love their owners back. It’s only that they need to feel loved first.

I only think about this because of the sheer number of people that say they don’t like felines. I don’t really care what peoples’ pet preferences are, but every time someone says “I hate cats” I have to think of my boys at home, who never hurt a fly (August did actually eat a fly the other day and it was awesome. I held him up to the fly and before I knew it he had a snack.) I’ve always found it strange and a little upsetting for someone to hate an entire species, because every animal is different.

The cats are loving and sweet, loyal, attached to me and generally hilarious animals. Maybe you have to get to know a cat in order to realize that, but it’s totally worth the effort. Unless you’re allergic, I recommend spending some time getting to know a cat. They will love you back, but they will drink out of the sink.

 

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