Sunday, December 15, 2013

Unsolicited Advice About Cats

There are dog lovers and there are cat lovers.  Well, it doesn't end there, there are also animal haters and animal lovers.  What I intend to talk about here are those of us who love cats and how we are baffled by those who don't care for the feline species.  Yeah, I know, it is just horrible and freakish to not love our little pussies.

What I have found is that most persons who don't like cats just simply do not understand them.  Some people tend to think that cats are selfish, solitary, wild, snobbish, destructive, demon creatures.  They want to believe that cats are supposed to act like dogs but just have a screw loose or something.

What I deduce from non cat lovers opinions is that they don't seem to understand that cats speak a unique language and we must learn how to speak it back.  Most cats, when understood and communicated to properly, are the most loyal, lovable, cuddly, comedic, and nurturing creatures.

Of course cats can be destructive, evil monsters.  Any animal can when treated improperly, even dogs.  When you take on the responsibility of owning a pet, any species, you must learn (preferably before you bring it home) how to train and care for it properly.  If you can't handle this species, then find a more appropriate one for you.

The biggest difference between dogs and cats is that dogs are happy to learn enough human language (verbal and sign) to be a "good dog".  Cats do the same, but they expect us to return the favor because - and this is the big difference- after all, humans and cats are on equal ground!

Allow me to explain each of the main misconceptions about least from my own experience...

1. Cats are selfish - Absolutely not.  Cats, when happy and feeling accepted and accepting of their home and family, will hunt and share their spoils with the family.  They also are very cuddly and give as much rubs as they receive.  Most cats prefer to play with their toys with family. Cats prefer to snuggle and sleep with their family. Really, a cat that exhibits selfish behaviors is probably insecure and unhappy in the home.

2. Cats are solitary animals - Wrong again.  Yes, many cats are just as comfortable being left alone as they are being with the "pride".  In my many years of cat ownership (of many cats) I have yet to meet one cat that preferred to be alone ALL the time and just couldn't stand being around other animals or people.  Cats can sometimes become nervous when there are a large amount of people (especially strangers) around.  Wouldn't you be worried if you were surrounded by a bunch of giants?  But when a cat is happy and content at home, they will love to be in the mix of things.

3. Cats are wild animals - This is a common misconception.  Cats are domesticated animals, this is why there is a word for wild cats, feral.  Cats can survive on their own and it is probably the fact that they can hunt prey and can be unruly when improperly trained, that most people call them wild.  But cats are specifically bred to live with, and be companions to, people; wild animals are a danger to humans.  A happy and well trained cat posses no danger, only love and boundless joy. 

4. Cats are snobs - Just because they are somewhat independent and don't always look at you when you talk to them doesn't make them snobs.  Yes, you can train cats to do tricks.  How do you think they get cats to do tricks on T.V.?  Really, it's all in how confident and secure they feel with you.  Dogs obey and learn because all they want to do is please their master.  Cats obey and learn when they identify their human with comfort and security.

5. Cats are destructive - Like an untrained dog can and will destroy your property, an untrained cat will do the same.  Many people think that owning a cat doesn't include training; they assume cats can't be trained, that they are wild, independent creatures.  Wrong, cats can easily be trained, just not in the same way as a child or dog.  This is where it is imperative that you learn and speak the language.  Might I recommend the book, Is Your Cat Crazy? by John C. Wright  .

6. Cats are possessed by demons - You might think so when you see them frightened, angry, or even in a very playful mood.  Again, when cats are not happy and secure, and are not well trained, they can exhibit awful behaviors.  You might have owned a cat that attacked you seemingly out of the blue when you were petting it, or walking down the hall.  Maybe the little monster hissed, yowled, or ran rambunctiously through the house at three every morning.  These are all behavior problems rooted in insecurities and poor training.  They can be fixed, for the most part, easily.  Again, I recommend the above book. 

The above photo is of my cat, Macie, napping with one of her toys.  Taken December 13, 2013.

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