In Defense of the Cat

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I was recently much-dismayed to find out that two of my closest friends are, and have long been, unrepentant cat haters. Sadly, I know they’re not alone. I’ve met many people who are only too happy to disparage the noble name of cat with their misguided biases and their sweeping characterizations of the finest of man’s furry friends.

Maligned, misunderstood creature, the cat.

How can anyone not see the poetry of form and movement that is a contented house cat? How can even the most casual of observers not admire the unwavering strength of his self-possession and the unapologetic nature of his curious cat ways? How can one not be charmed when he graces your lap with his presence, not because he is slavishly chained by the imprint of his doggy DNA, but because he chooses to?

A cat curled up in delicious slumber on his favorite chair, or basking unashamedly in a puddle of sun on the rug, while the life of the home moves to and fro above his head, speaks volumes of the happiness of his home. And when he plays, he is a whimsical delight, creating from the overlooked ephemera of our days–a piece of string, a paper bag–worlds of unparalleled discovery and intrigue.

The cat is a complex creature, a being of light and shadow, of moods, of motivations, of dreams undreamed by human kind. His conversation is of the cleverest kind, wordlessly conveyed by the twitch of a tail, the steady gaze of emerald eyes, the sardonic tilt of a head. He is a keen judge of character, and maybe that is the rub. There are few people who can bear to be seen so clearly.

It’s been said that no one really owns a cat, and I must agree. Even to those within his living space, he offers his friendship capriciously. But if one consents to take you into his affections, it is a kingly gift indeed, and well worth the price of changing the litter box.
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21 responses »

  1. Add me to the list.

    (HI KATHY! I somehow knew you’d be on the list too!)
    It’s the hair flying all around & in your food, up on countertops, moods that change from “I wanna love & affection” to slice & dice. I will not list the qualities to counter this that a dog has because I know you do not like dogs & this is post about cats. However, I think Kathy (and apparently Jen) & I could make a much longer pros side for man’s best friend. But to each his own. So you go right ahead & choose to pick cat hair out of your teeth. Doesn’t bother me one bit. (cough, hack, furball!)

  2. Oh Katrina! I completely agree with you! Of course, I kinda have to agree with the others, too. I absolutely L.O.V.E. cats and this was a beautiful tribute, however, the flying fur is just a tad unbearable. Which is why I currently don’t own one. But, I am most definitely NOT a cat-hater! They are wonderful!

  3. I couldn’t agree more. Their very aloofness is what I like about them – they don’t bother with you unless they like you … or unless you have tuna.

  4. Just one small clarification. I am definitely NOT anti-dog. I am acquainted with many dogs of whom I heartily approve. My sister has a lovely pair of lab mixes, for example, and many of my friends own perfectly respectable and warm-hearted dogs with whom I enjoy spending time.

    When it comes to sharing the space around my own personal person, however, I just prefer cats, with their independent spirits and their quiet way of coming and going.

    I agree about the irritating pet hair, but that’s a problem encountered by anyone who lives with a furry creature. (This includes some husbands.)

  5. Amen Katrina! After several failed attempts at being dog owners, we found that we were definitely better cat owners. The sheer fact that they use a litter box, rather than the carpet or floor, is definite plus πŸ™‚ Not to mention, the dogs we had were ALWAYS in your face begging for your attention, no matter what you might be doing. Our cat loves to snuggle, but if you push her away, she doesn’t come right back – she goes someplace else. I love that! We don’t have the problem with the fur. She is a long-hair siamese mix, but the long hair hasn’t left her body πŸ™‚ She’s really the perfect pet!!

  6. I don’t really have a reason to not like cats. I just don’t. I have never lived with one and have never experienced the flying fur phenomena (which I would hate, by the way). And even all of the kind things that you say about cats will never convince me to own one. But if you get one and I come over to visit, I will let it rub up against my leg and won’t even complain. (At least not to you.) πŸ™‚

    P.S. Josh loves cats and asks for one for every major holiday. Too bad I’m allergic!

  7. itch. itch. itch.

    that is all i can say.

    oh, and walking around in a litter box, then jumping on my kitchen counter??? no thanks.

  8. Ok, let’s see…
    1) picking cat hair out of your teeth, off clothes and everything else
    2) walking through their poo then on your counters (thanks, amanda sue)
    3) leaping on your face at two in the morning wanting to play
    4) cough, sneeze, hack
    5) paying attention to nobody but those deathly allergic and obviously not interested
    6) missing the cat box (well, half way in is not good enough, either)
    7) pregnant women shouldn’t even come near the cat box (how toxic is that?!)
    8) chewing on plants
    9) nervous cat stomachs (gosh, this is fun…)

  9. Until you bring a dog into the house and then you will live with the crazy chase happening every morning when the cats seem ASTOUNDED that I would let the BEAST out of his crate again (heaven forbid!) and there is a frantic clawing and scurrying to heights above the dog’s reach – things get scratched, things get broken, things get knocked over, but after a moment, when everyone has reached a balance again, we all sigh a huge sigh of relief. All is well in the household again. Until tomorrow morning.

  10. Well said, Katrina! Hamish and Rizzo would agree! I believe with Hamish I have actually a cat/puppy hybrid. He looks like a cat but acts like a dog. It’s the best of both worlds!!

    Now Rizzo, she’s 100% cat. Prissy, regal, and utterly devoted to only one man – Younger Bro.

  11. My husband is an unabashed cat-hater, but I can tolerate them….some of them. I happen to like the fact that my dog wants my attention all the time (not that I give it to him) and I don’t like the fact that most cats are too snobby to let you into their “world” and would do just fine without you as long as you put out their food. The few cats that I’ve met that actually wanted to snuggle were the ones I could tolerate. They kind of scare me, sometimes, though, with their unpredictable ways (and their very sharp claws). Good post, though πŸ™‚ You always have a way with words, my friend.

  12. one beautiful thing:

    alone in the house, lying on the couch, online, cat Ginger under my left arm and Snug at my feet.

    Thanks for letting me know your feelings about P. Manning. That was a fun comment to receive!

  13. Um. Yeah. Need I remind you of the suitcase incident?

    Add me to the unrepentant non-cat lovers list. I wouldn’t go so far as say cat-hater, but I definitely don’t love ’em.

  14. I love my dog, but when she is no longer with us, I will gladly return to my former life as a cat person. I got the dog because I felt that my children needed one to make their childhoods(?) complete. Now I have a loyal beagle who looks to me for her every need. As a neighbor once said to me, “At least children grow up.” I am definitely a cat lover. The one thing that surprises me is how the anti-cat element seems to be oblivious to the fact that many of their complaints about felines can also be applied to canines.
    1)In corners, on furniture, under furniture, on clothing, and etc. at my house accummulates as much dog hair as it ever did cat hair.
    2) As for cats walking where they poo, are you telling me that dogs do not do that? At least with cats, it is usually covered.
    3) I might sympathize with that poor person whose cat wanted to play at 2 a.m. if I was not so tired from taking my dog out to relieve herself at 1 a.m.
    4)Those who have allergies to cats seem to have greater grudges against cats than those who have allergies to dogs have against dogs. I can only reason that this results from a feeling of something lacking in their lives.
    5)Why do dogs always jump on those who are pathologically afraid of dogs?
    6) At least there is a catbox and not just random mines in the backyard.
    7) Don’t you know that the medical recommendation for pregnant women to avoid changing the litter box was simply a clever idea spread by an even cleverer pregnant cat lover? (just kidding!)
    8)Do dogs not eat plants? I suppose that they also do not eat other animals’ poo, puke, and anything else that falls on the floor. The dogs in that universe probably also do not try to lick you after eating said items.
    9)Sorry to mention this, but I just can’t help it. Kathy’s dog puked on my rug the last time she was over.
    I must conclude that the cat/dog debate, (like so many others,i.e. Mac/PC, Chevy/Ford, Aragorn/Legolas), is really just a matter of opinion and what a person is willing to put up with in order to get what they want.

  15. The only issue I have is when Mia got ticked that her food bowl was empty and so she peed on me while I was sleeping.

    Oh, and our other cat, Willie, is seriously a gay cat. Looooooves my husband waaaaaaaaaay too much and is faaaaaaaaaar too suggestive.

  16. I LOVE Marci’s comments! At least (most) cats don’t lick their hindquarters and then LICK YOUR FACE! (Seriously? ew!)

    And so many dogs have that magnet between their nose and your crotch. What’s up wtih that? Not to mention that whole jumping up on you and getting you all dirty. Or licking all over your face. Ick.

    I like dogs, but I love cats. And I definitely agree about the land mines in the back yard. I’d like to actually be able to walk in mine.

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