[SECOND OF TWO PARTS]
Yesterday, I discussed a New York Times article on Cat Guys – single straight men who own cats and are not ashamed to admit it. A Slate article implied that the NYT’s premise was not even fit for the litter box, so I decided to do some digging to see if any women — particularly single Cat Grrls — have noticed an increase in straight single men who will own up to being cat lovers.
I turned to longtime Cat Grrl and Chicago singleton, Rosie and Cheeto’s Lady, Kim, for her purrspective on cats, dating, and whether she’s noticed a marked increase in out-of-the-closet Cat Guys:
Karen: When you are looking for guys to date, do you think Cat Guys are freaks of nature or HOT HOT HOT?
Kim: Im attracted to compassionate guys so it would be contradictory to think that Cat Guys are freaks of nature. That said, I dont think I would consider all Cat Guys HOT HOT HOT but they definitely get extra points for loving furry monsters.
Karen: How soon into the dating vetting process do you try to determine if your prospective date is a Cat Guy or not?
Kim: Rosie and Cheeto would want me to ask these questions within the first couple of minutes. I dont have a specific Cat Guy questionnaire for a first date, but if he brings up a pet or mentions that he has blogs thats a definite segue into the Cat Guy Q&A.
Karen: How many dates before you introduce your date to Rosie and Cheeto?
Kim: Theres no set number of dates, but I do think watching the way a guy interacts with Rosie and Cheeto is very telling of a guys character. If he ignores Rosie and Cheeto it is a huge turn-off because it shows lack of appreciation towards things that are important to me. On the flip-side, if a guy is too eager to make friends and ends up scaring them, I tend to wonder if he understands how to respect others both people and animals.
Karen: Do Rosie and Cheeto have veto power over whether you get to continue dating a given guy?
Kim: Id like to say no, but I have yet to seriously date someone who dislikes or is allergic to Rosie and Cheeto. Rosie tends to like most guys, but Cheeto only likes guys that play the string game. If the way to a mans heart is food, then the way to a Mancats heart is the string.
Karen: Have you ever terminated a relationship because the guy obviously didn’t like cats or Rosie and Cheeto gave him the paws-down?
Kim: Cheeto is a good judge of character. If he doesnt warm up to a guy after a few meetings I definitely wonder if theres a red flag I didnt pick up on.
I dont mind if a guy doesnt like cats, but if hes not respectful of the fact that Rosie and Cheeto are an important part of my life then hell be kicked (and bunny kicked) to the curb.
Karen:In the New York Times article, Elizabeth Daza, who dated a cat-owning man for 8 years, was quoted as saying, Straight men with cats seem to be really secure and stable. They dont need to be running around the park and proving their masculinity like the dog guys. Agree or disagree?
Kim: I lived next to a dog park in San Francisco and met lots of guys with dogs. In general, I tend to find most men with cats are secure and stable, but I disagree with the generalization that men with dogs are proving their masculinity. Dogs, cats, birds, rabbits, hamsters or any other pet – it takes a special person to open their home and their hearts to an animal.
Karen: There was a Slate story that decried the Cat Guy phenomenon as a bunch of hooey. Have you noticed that men are more forthcoming about their attachment to cats than they once were? Or, do you know more straight single men who have cats and embrace their inner “Cat Guy” than there were a few years ago?
Kim: I cant say that Ive noticed a spike in men embracing their inner Cat Guy, but I do know several straight single men with cats. They dont necessarily admit they love their cat, but every once in a while youll catch them making eye contact and flashing a smile at their furry friend. That pretty much say it all, doesnt it?
Karen: If you saw a guy walking a cat or pushing a cat in a stroller, would you initiate a conversation with him?
Kim: Ha, I probably would initiate a conversation just to find out the story behind the cat walk.
Karen: Any “Cat Guy” stories you’d like to share?
Kim: Ive got a lot of stories, but none of them involve a Cat Guy. How about my most embarrassing moment in dating — when Rosie dropped her newfound “mouse” toy at my date’s feet?
Karen:Oh, man!!!! Hope it was a new one!
So, maybe this Cat Guy phenomenon is just something the Times dreamed up on a slow news day. I got quite a few emails from women who used their cats as a barometer of whether a date was a potential “keeper.” Almost every one mentioned that they felt men who treated their cats well were more likely to treat the woman in their life well — with compassion and respect. But they added that men who were animal lovers in general would pass the test. I think the big takeaway for single guys is, don’t keep your cat-lovin’ nature under wraps!
Next week, I’ll publish excerpts from the email I got on the topic and profile a couple of very special Cat Guys.