Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about men who love cats and what it says about them. The reason I have cats at all is a guy I dated who had two cats of his own. My sister is lucky enough to have found a cat-loving man, and I can only hope I will too someday (soon!).
So I put out a call for cat men and received the photos and stories below. This is my take on cat men and why I think they’re the best men around.
I asked an ex of mine why men love dogs, given they personify all that is deemed undesirable in the opposite sex — needy, dependent, requiring constant validation, easily excitable, unable to contain emotions (not to mention the love of snuggle time). He replied, "They don’t talk, and you always have the option of putting them outside." Ouch!
An acquaintance once asked her dad, "Why do most men hate cats?" He responded (apparently not missing a beat), "I think they remind us too much of smart-ass women."
Both these anecdotes speak of the desire for an ever-obedient, adoring, and controllable female partner. What, then, can we extrapolate about the man who loves cats? What kind of person is he, and what type of partner does he want? Let’s break it down.
We grow up learning that dogs are for boys, and cats for girls. Even today, pet companies may venture so far as to show a woman or girl with dogs, but few portray a man or boy with cats.
The man who is public about his cat-love is secure enough in his masculinity to go against social norms and express his love for an animal that is viewed as "soft" and "feminine" (which I have yet to understand, given most cats are anything but — but that’s another post!).
A few years ago, the New York Times ran an article about the increasing number of straight cat-owning men. Paul Klusman, an engineer who made the “Engineer’s Guide to Cats” video (below) featuring his three cats, believes, "Any single, straight man who has the slightest bit of insecurity about his own sexuality will probably find it difficult to admit to owning or even appreciating cats."
Elizabeth Daza, a 28-year-old Manhattan resident who has dated cat-owning men, is quoted in the same article as saying, "Straight men with cats seem to be really secure and stable. They don’t need to be running around the park and proving their masculinity like the dog guys."
The dog is the "insecure man’s best friend," believes Mr. Scalia, a cat-owning science-fiction writer. "The dog is in effect, your wingman. If you’re feeling insecure about your space in the world, you get a dog because he will always back you up."
It’s true that dogs are ready and willing to provide unconditional love on-demand and are trusting to a fault. This has been proven in barbaric experiments where dogs were tortured by their scientist-owners and continued to trust their master to their death — literally licking the hand that killed them.
Cats don’t do adoration. The man with a cat is comfortable with love and affection that isn’t always on his terms. In Mr. Scalia’s words, the man who loves cats "is secure within himself," asserting that he is, after all "sharing his space with a predator."
To put it bluntly, a man who dislikes cats may be a man who dislikes gays. Both are fearful of what the feline/homosexual represent in themselves, which they are not at terms with and reject. The man who loves cats is in touch with and accepts all aspects of his being ÔÇô- even those that might be viewed as "feminine."
Stacy Mantle, the founder of Pets Weekly, goes so far as to note that "it’s the unevolved members of the species who tend toward abuse of cats — and oftentimes, women and children." It is her belief that men are becoming "cat literate" because more and more men are themselves evolving.
I asked 15 of my female friends — cat-owning and not — to list the adjectives that came to mind when they thought about a cat-owning man. I was pleasantly surprised that "deep," "wise," and "introspective" came up numerous times. These words were not associated with dog-owning men (because I asked about that, too). Maybe we can convince Men and Cats to create a "single with cat" section?
"Calm," "patient," "nurturing," "easygoing," "not controlling." These are some of the descriptors my girlfriends attribute to the cat-loving male. And frankly, it makes sense.
Dogs are obedient and faithful by nature, but a cat’s love must be earned. Cats provide affection on their timeline — not yours. When you first bring a cat home, chances are it’s going straight under the closest bed or sofa. Days might go by before the little critter comes out, let alone shares the sofa with you.
The man who likes cats knows to speak softly and kindly to the animal, to bring it food and give it space and time. He knows that as long as he doesn’t scare him or force him, soon enough the cat will be rubbing against him purring and curling up on the sofa to watch TV.
Arnold Leo, a commercial fisherman with a penchant for cats, put it best. "You can get cats to do what you want if you draw them into it," he told the New York Times. "It’s a question of attraction rather than intimidation."’
That’s what I want in a man: someone who doesn’t come on too strong and who has the patience to get to know me and accepts me for who I am.
Men who like cats are comfortable with themselves and their sexuality and are in-touch with their "feminine" side. They are patient, easygoing, and accepting. They can love even when it’s not always on their terms. They are not controlling, but rather accept and appreciate things as they are.
I believe wholeheartedly that the cat-loving man is in fact the perfect mate for the opinionated, loving, and independent single woman. What do you think? Does my assessment of the cat-loving man ring true? Have you found the perfect cat-loving man? Let’s hear it in the comments!
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