Felines within our gates

There’s something about cats. There’s something about them that causes many of us to ooh and aah, to want to touch them, to want them to like us, even to want to be them sometimes (such as when they sleep 98% of the time).

Sam and Eliza, c. 1971

There’s also something about them that draws from other people a mean prejudice. I’ll go out on a limb and suggest that no one ever says, “Yeah…I’m not really a canary person.” People don’t clench their teeth and proclaim, “I’m not a dog person.”

Look, it’s not a secret that cats behave differently than dogs do. They can be independent, even aloof. Rude isn’t a big step away.

If they’re sitting near our front door when we get home, it’s only because they happened to be sitting there anyway or knew when we’d be arriving and wanted food. That’s pretty smart – to conserve one’s energy by emerging from slumber only when it’s necessary for survival.

They profess to want attention but place themselves just out of arm’s reach. They curl up ever-so-cutely at the foot of the bed – or between our knees or under our armpits – only to hiss like a cobra if we dare to shift in our sleep.

I totally get that some people don’t want to live with an animal that behaves this way. What I don’t get is why it’s so commonly expressed as it is, with the tightened facial muscles and curled lip. That part annoys me.

Clay & Liza, 2010

If you’re offered a rumaki at a party and you despise chicken liver, all you have to do is say, “No, thank you.” Why do people act the way they do with cats?

PS: I’ve lived with cats pretty much my whole life and was terribly allergic to them until about age 23, when the allergy disappeared almost overnight. Allergies make a difference with some people but that isn’t what I’m talking about here.

Pascale, c. 2006