I was reading about a cat café that I want to visit when I go to New York City this year. Asia and other cultures around the world are accustomed to Cat Cafes all over; here in the U.S. is still a novelty. As many excited people there were in line when the first café opened, there were many others who couldn’t fathom the idea and couldn’t understand what the fuss what all about. Cat lovers are all over the world, and for those who can’t appreciate felines or understand the interest in them, I know going to a café with cats roaming around isn’t ideal.
After all cats have a much undeserved reputation (I think dog people initiated this). Cats are said to be discourteous (ignore our attention-seeking attempts, won’t respond to our calls to come here, come here). Cats can be arrogant (will walk gracefully around us, will dismiss us if not happy by slowly walking away), are easily irritated (get upset and scratch us until we bleed, will attack us in revenge if bothered) and of course they are self-centered (will approach us for some well-deserved petting, please scratch here, more there, and leave me alone, we’re finished). You know this, don’t you? Yes, it’s a little true, after all cats tend to be autonomous and egocentric (hours of grooming, eating and sleeping), right?
Don’t worry this is not an essay on why cats are cool. I am not going to list the many reasons why cats are so loved around the world or the many talents they actually possess. I am not going to tell you why we love them. You wouldn’t be interested, either you do or don’t know. Cat people recognize the extra qualities and no bad reputation will stop them from adoring their cats. After all cats are mysterious creatures that have always been treated like royalty (ask the Egyptians scholars). However I wanted to focus on why people are so divided on this… I figured there must be a true human reason behind the hostility some feel towards these beautiful felines.
I started thinking why is it that some people are receptive to the idea of having a pet, any pet except a cat. That one’s personality, background, ways of thinking and sensitivity plays a part in choosing a pet, especially choosing a cat. People have always said cat people are crazy. Why is that? Is it because cats can never demonstrate the same loyalty and appreciation a dog could? And why have a pet that won’t love you back? Or so they said but that’s a different argument (my cat loves me by the way).
Yes, cat owners are a little eccentric themselves. I recognize that many of my cat people are a little odd but I don’t think is reasonable to simplify and generalize this, after all I am not peculiar (wink wink). But in all seriousness, I believe people have the tendency to misjudge cats for the same reason why certain people come across as being bigoted, intolerant or xenophobic: Anxiety. Yes Anxiety (apprehension, fear, worry, concern, doubt). These people might not be prejudiced, but they’re anxious of the unknown.
We humans are anxious of the unfamiliar; we worry about what to expect, we fear not being reciprocated with the same affection and dedication we demonstrate. We doubt we want to invest in something that may or may not give us return in the end. We are apprehensive in trying to understand the meaning of other’s unfamiliar behaviors, afraid they might hurt us, we don’t know their language (both verbal and body language), and the diverse cultures, beliefs and values they may have. I know this analogy may not click with everyone, but if you think rationally, you will see the parallels in one’s thinking patterns, one’s life attitude and the way one reacts with felines friends. If one is not willing to know others, to learn about others, to communicate with others, how can one formulate a reasonable conclusion?
Yes I have simplified my personal social analysis about humanity but I tell you that once you get to know someone and learn from them, you can understand their individuality and at that time you will no longer be fearful of them. You will appreciate them in a much better way… yes! You can be a cat person too (we’re still talking about cats, right? 🙂