Cats are like Marmite, people tend to polarise around loving or hating them. Cartoons and memes such as Garfield, Simon’s Cat and Facebook’s Grumpy Cat all reinforce the stereotypes, even (or should that be particularly?) to those who love the species. I have shared my life with a compendium of cat personalities over the years, so I’d like to take this look at their pros and cons and see if I can “convert” any of you.
“You own a dog but a cat owns you”. “A cat and his staff live here”. Variations of these themes abound on plaques and panels . I love my little dog for her undying devotion and loyalty. Despite having a terrier’s attitude to life, she is ever my travelling companion and hairy confidante. In contrast, my current feline “friends” command me at their will, demanding whatever is their fancy of the moment, whilst reserving the absolute right to change their minds at will. To like cats may seem masochistic, but you have to admire their aplomb. Even when a cat has not gracefully landed on its feet as they should, or when it has come hurtling in from the rain looking like a wrung-out piece of pelt, an air of haughty composure is swiftly resumed, a quick wash and brush up refutes any sight of distress witnessed, and due attention is promptly commanded from the human servant.
Yet once satisfied and reassured of its rightful place at the top of the household, this same haughty feline may transform into a throbbing mound of warm, luxuriant softness on your lap or humour you with kitten-like playfulness that belies the barely-masked, hunter instinct. When a cat chooses to grace you with its attention, your urgent call of nature or unanswered email must wait. One must bask in this honour!
For those who sit in the “dislike” camp, beware, a cat will seek you out amongst a throng of fanatics in a crowded room, despite all vying for that moggy’s attention. A cat’s sense of devilment will see it hunt you out in a soiree and bestow its undivided attention on you, relishing its power to make you squirm. My advice is to overcome any prejudice towards this creature and admit defeat early. Once satisfied you acknowledge its superiority, a cat will then return its attention to its dutiful worshippers. Failure to accept your fate will surely condemn you to a continuation of its undaunted attention!
As one who has accepted my place in the feline caste system, I feel I must offer a few words in their defence. Research has found that the companionship of (the right) cat, is beneficial for one’s health and wellbeing. The stroking action lowers heart rate and blood pressure. The act of caring for a “dependant” animal gives many a person a reason to get out of bed and a furry friend when other types are hard to find. They are generally, easy to toilet train, being by nature very clean in habit, and can be raised to stay indoors or walk on a leash if that is necessary. They are also independent and self-sufficient if your lifestyle is such that discounts a more needy, canine pet.
If there has never been a cat in your life, you cannot know what pleasure you have missed. Before you brand the whole feline race as mousers and mischief, please pause and ponder this. If no two humans are the same, why would two cats be? Take a little time to get to know a few of these wonderful characters. They are all very much individuals and there is bound to be one that you may get along with. Like Marmite, they may be an acquired taste, but worth making the effort with. Home is where the cat is!