I bet you have experienced the following scenario with people who aren’t crazy about cats. The person will be in a situation where a cat is present, and the cat will give the cat-disliking person all kinds of attention. The cat might jump in the person’s lap, repeatedly rub against the person’s leg, etc. It never fails. Cats have an uncanny ability to identify the people who don’t love cats. These are the people who either really don’t like cats or who occupy the huge territory of ambivalence.
If your friends hate cats, there’s probably not much you can do to turn their opinions around. But if your friends are ambivalent about cats, there might be ways that you can gently make them aware of how great cats are. Ambivalence is a whole huge area between love and un-love, and there’s lots of room to play. Do you have friends that are ambivalent about cats? Maybe they’ve just never been exposed to the subtle joys and wonders of a cat.
Tailor the following strategies depending upon your friend. A philosophical and thoughtful friend might love to hear about what your cats have taught you. A friend who loves to laugh might be inspired and endeared by cat antics. You have to know what turns your friend’s crank.
Of course, this will depend on logistics, your friend, and your cat. If you have a quiet, introverted friend, maybe they would appreciate getting to know a quiet, sweet cat. If you have a friend who’s physical and active, they might like the the energy of a kitten. The pairing need only happen for a moment or two — magic can happen, even in minutes.
Proof keeps surfacing that pets are good for our health. For some people, this is a strong argument. Did you know that cats might reduce our risk for disease or certain cancers? Does your friend know this? If your friend is highly interested in and motivated by the idea of pursuing good health, point out the benefits of having a cat!
If your friend is more the spiritual or thoughtful type, you might point out that your cat has made you a better person. In my case, I can say without a doubt that cats have educated me on how to love better and unconditionally. They have also taught me about living in the moment and learning to let go. Get personal and share this stuff. Seriously, I’ve had people’s eyes light up during these kinds of discussions. Tell your special friend that your cats have made a difference in your life — even transformed your life.
Is your friend hands-on? Point out how gorgeous your cat’s coat is and encourage your friend to pet your cat and enjoy the feel of the fur. Is your friend more visual? Tell them about the grace and beauty of a cat in action; together, watch your cat stalk a toy or move with ease. If your friend is kinesthetic or auditory, help them stroke your cat under the chin to feel and hear the amazing smooth rumble of a purr.
Hey, cats are always being funny. They can’t help it. And if your friend loves to laugh, it will be hard for them to ignore cat humor.
Cats are versatile creatures. Even the most ambivalent person could feel a spark of interest in a cat, if that person is approached in the right way.
Have you ever convinced a person to like or love a cat? How did you do it? What was the triggering event? Share your stories in comments!
More by Catherine Holm:
Learn more about your cat with Catster:
About Catherine Holm: Told that she is funny but doesn’t know it, accused of being an unintentional con artist by her husband, quiet, with frequent unannounced bursts into dancing liveliness, Cat Holm loves writing about, working for, and living with cats. She is the author of the cat-themed memoir Driving with Cats: Ours for a Short Time, the creator of Ann Catanzaro cat fantasy story gift books, and the author of two short story collections. She loves to dance, be outside whenever possible, read, play with cats, make music, do and teach yoga, and write. Cat lives in the woods, which she loves as much as really dark chocolate, and gets regular inspiration shots along with her double espresso shots from the city.