My first pet was a cat. I live with three cats. I now foster cats and kittens on an on-going basis. I cannot imagine a time when I would not have at least one of them in my home. This is the way that it has always been, is now, and always will be. (Amen?)
|Are you going somewhere with this?|
First of all, it ain't gonna happen... these cat-haters can talk until they run out of oxygen and turn blue in the face and I will be no more convinced than I would be if someone tried to tell me that clouds are made out of candy. Or something equally dumb. So... why in the world would a cat-hater feel the need to interject into the conversation, once they find out that I have cats/rescue them/whatever with "I hate the little bastards."
Huh. How am I supposed to respond to that one? Is it an attempt to shut me down so that I don't torture them with cat talk? Is it an effort to pull me into a debate? Is it just someone mindlessly (mindlessly being the operative word here) expressing their opinion, oblivious to the fact that they're being insulting and obnoxious at best, hurtful at worst?
But the latest approach that I have seen is the all-wise, oh-so-condescending attitude of "if you truly understood cats, you'd hate them too. You only like them because you're a delusional tree-hugging hippy who is guilty of anthropomorphizing."
One of the examples that I've been given: that the cat rubs her face on me to mark her territory, not to show affection. My response: Umm, duh! Anyone who has studied cat behavior at all knows that they mark territory like this. I don't find that a reason to dislike cats... does anyone, really? I don't think that territory marking and affection are mutually exclusive in the cat either. If a cat is "marking" you, you should really feel honored. You don't see cats marking people that they don't like. From the cat's perspective, there is nothing wrong with identifying her territory, that's what cats do. (Really, that's what we do too. Wedding bands, anyone?)
And of course, cat-haters always refer to the cat's aloofness and lack of affection. Yes, they do tend to be more aloof than a dog. Some cats are not affectionate, though that is usually less because they are cats and more because they were poorly socialized. And again, I feel like I should state (since so many of my readers are dog lovers, and some I know aren't crazy about cats) it is OKAY to not prefer cats. I am not trying to get into your face here. It's the people that try to bludgeon me with this perspective that get under my skin.
So if a cat hater comes to me and tells me that cats are aloof and not affectionate, I usually tell them that they don't understand cats as well as they think, that cats aren't all interchangeable, that they all have their own unique personalities.
And then of course they pull out the next weapon in their arsenal *eyeroll.* The crazy cat lady stereotype. Once I prove myself to be unconvertible, and even dare to suggest that cats are individuals, then I become the crazy cat lady. Of course the reason that I like cats is that I'm unbalanced, insane, somehow mentally deficient. It can't be that the cat-hater is wrong about cats, or even with the softer interpretation, I can't just have a differing opinion about cats.
My point to all of this? It's not to make converts out of non-cat people. I can't do that any more than a cat-hater can make me into "one of them" and I think that it is of the highest arrogance to try to persuade people to change their minds anyway. I guess that it's more of a rant against those that would try to change my mind, my lifestyle, my opinions, about something that I don't just like, I love.
Cats are cats. They have quirks, sometimes they can be royal pains. They are at the same time good friends and companions, and even the most plump housecat is beautiful in a predatory, untamed way that makes my heart feel free. They are a definite presence in the home - in any social gathering in someone's house, just look at the guests' reactions when the cat strolls into the room, tail and head held high, holding court. These are the things that I love about cats, and no mere hater is going to steer me off of my course.