Ah, Catster. How I love reading the confessions of those of us who are passionate about our felines! I couldn’t help but have a strong reaction to the recent article "Are Eligible Men Who Love Cats Rarer Than Unicorns?"
While I totally agree with the woman’s perspective, I also wanted to scream out loud — something like, “Oh yeah? You think it’s difficult being a woman with cats, looking for an eligible man to accept them and you? You should see what it’s like being a man who loves cats and is trying to find a woman to accept him and his cats!”
I’m clean-cut, I’m decent-looking, and I absolutely love women, but … I also love cats just as much. They are my family, after all.
I would argue that it is much more difficult for us men. It seems like I have spent my entire life defending the notion that there’s nothing odd about men loving cats. For most of my life, men like me have been characterized as weird, feminine, and what have you, just because we love our cats.
Our situation has improved, but the stigma still exists. And American media talk only of "cat ladies," as if men don’t have cats. It has always bothered me that advertising mostly features women having cats, not men.
My four current feline family members were all abandoned, in one way or another. I’ve had cats my entire life — some just walked into my home or yard (but I’d always canvass the neighborhoods extensively to make sure that I wasn’t unintentionally nabbing somebody else’s furball).
Now I live on five acres of trees on the outskirts of Nashville, with almost no neighbors. I moved here from Florida with a 19-year-old cat and a 21-year-old cat. My love for them was unconditional, and while they lived very long lives, I still miss them every day.
When they passed, Tiger (an orange tabby) appeared. He had run away from a musician living a half-mile away. I found and met his owner, but his owner did not want him. He didn’t like cats but had been given Tiger by his sister so that Tiger could catch the mice in his cabin. Tiger fulfilled his obligation, but the neighbor suddenly got two dogs who chased and bit Tiger. He lived in the woods for more than two months before I found him. He’s been my constant companion for more than seven years.
Next was Tia. She’s a petite black cat with a small white spot on her chest. I saw someone stop on my road and throw her out of the car window, as if she were trash. It took me two weeks just to be able to grab her. She was so traumatized and sick, dealing with the 100-plus degree temperatures of that horrible 2007 summer. When nobody would adopt her, she became part of the family.
Bela arrived next. She’s named after a famous contemporary musician, and her original owner is my niece. She loved Bela very much but needed to find at least a temporary home for her while her life circumstances were changing. I warned her that if I fostered her, I might never be able to let her go, and that is what happened. (My niece is now happily married, with three other cats and four dogs.)
And finally, there is Lilo, a tuxedo cat who was forced to live outside and eventually found his way into my backyard. He had never been touched by a human, except to be trapped and relocated. A year and a half later, I can now hold him, bring him inside to eat, and enjoy his sweet and loving spirit. Someday I hope to bring him inside for good, although I have elaborate outdoor (fenced-in) areas with cat towers, catwalks, and more, so that all my kitties can all still enjoy the outside world safely.
When I was younger, my girlfriends would tolerate my cats. A few lived with me for years at a time and ended up loving my cats, even though they were so-called dog people when I met them.
Life flew by, and this now-middle-aged man is still single and still loves women — but, I have to say, it’s pretty hard to find a woman who is comfortable with a man and his cats. That’s just been my experience.
Another issue is that even if I meet a woman who loves cats, she usually has several of her own. This is not really a problem, except that the reality of trying to mix these felines into one household all at once would be a challenge to say the least.
Would I be willing to try it? Absolutely! To be honest, I don’t hold out much hope of finding a woman with zero cats who will accept my love and passion for my fur-kids.
I have not given up, but in the meantime, I hope that Catster will lead the way in showing that it’s normal for men to have and love cats, and acknowledge that there are millions of us out here. We’ve earned it! Take note: Men who love cats are rising up to break through the stigma and ignorance. And we will always love our cats, no matter what.
And, please, stop talking about cat owners as only female. There are many millions of men who have cats.
To those women who don’t have cats — or understand a man’s love for them — please keep an open mind. For those women who have cats, don’t forget about a man with cats, even though the integration of both families might be challenging.
In the end, it’s all about loving one another and accepting all those around us.
Ramcey is a lighting control systems designer who specializes in window treatments to control natural light. He also loves giving friends advice on their cats and dogs.
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