Last week, readers of financial magazines were shocked to find out that despite "the bull market on the stock exchange, which is more than 2,000 days old," a lot more Americans own cats than own stock. That’s right: 14 percent of U.S. families own stocks, while 30 percent live with cats.
I’ve always been cynical about the stock market, and that feeling only grew after the market crash in 2008, from which the vast majority — maybe even about, say, 99 percent — of Americans never recovered, so I was pretty tickled by the cats vs. stocks news. Here are my thoughts about why Americans have chosen felines over mutual funds and IPOs.
1. Cats are easier to understand
Sure, a lot of people may think cats are inscrutable, but they’re not: They’re just very subtle in their communication. Stocks and high-roller finance, on the other hand? That crap just makes my eyes glaze over.
2. Cats won’t lose half of their value in one day
Unlike most investments we make in order to make our homes and lives more comfortable, cats remain consistent in their value, and in fact are much more likely to grow in value over time than your average mutual fund.
3. If the market is a living being, it’s a lot stupider than a cat
"The market" is pretty much a giant herd of lemmings rushing off the nearest cliff in response to artificially generated pain stimuli. Cats, on the other hand, would be the ones observing all these lemmings and snickering behind their paws at this foolishness.
4. Cats live in the present rather than worrying about the future
Have you noticed that a lot of people who own stocks, even if they’re just shares in a mutual fund, check the performance of the market on a daily basis and spend a lot of time worrying about it? Cats enjoy their days a moment at a time, and in doing so they relieve the stress of day-to-day life for their families.
5. Cats are funny; stocks, not so much
When my Bella starts running up and down her cat tree like a baboon on crack, I can’t help but laugh. The stock market, on the other hand, is not just un-funny but a launch pad to my darkest thoughts about ruthless money-hoarding billionaires. (Seriously, who needs that much money? Anyone who hoards cats the way some people hoard money would be in big trouble.)
6. When is the last time you snuggled with a stock portfolio?
If your answer is anything other than “never,” you may want to seek professional help. Stocks and bonds are not nearly as warm and fuzzy as a purring cat on your lap.
Do you have other ideas about why more American families own cats than own stocks? Share them in the comments.
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About JaneA Kelley: Punk-rock cat mom, science nerd, animal shelter volunteer and all-around geek with a passion for bad puns, intelligent conversation, and role-play adventure games. She gratefully and gracefully accepts her status as chief cat slave for her family of feline bloggers, who have been writing their award-winning cat advice blog, Paws and Effect, since 2003.