A cat guy with a cat on his shoulder.
A cat guy with a cat on his shoulder. Photography ©Sergey Moskvitin | Thinkstock.

Dispelling the Myths About Today’s Cat Guy

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Men who love cats have long paid a social price for their feline leanings. Cat guys are sissies. They’re emotional wrecks. I don’t trust them. Clearly, perceptions are changing, but I doubt such bias is gone. Stereotypes are hard to eradicate because they often pass for accepted truth. Also, a certain amount of malice still lurks.

British writer Chas Newkey-Burden, for example, hit the stereotype trifecta in 2015 in The Telegraph. “[A]ny man with a pet cat is sneaky and afraid of commitment,” he wrote, adding that cat guys are “rather snobby and a tad creepy.”

Bad news? Hardly.

First, Newkey-Burden is known for shooting his mouth off, so who knows what he really believes? Second, look at popular culture and media today, and evidence suggests this point of view is losing ground.

So if today’s cat guy doesn’t embody the stereotypes, what kind of person is he?

Let’s start with commitment: Today’s cat guy embraces it.

A hot cat guy sipping coffee.
A man sipping coffee with his cat. Photography ©nensuria Thinkstock.

Illustrating this is a hip-hop artist named Moshow I met in August at CatCon, where I was emcee. Moshow grew up in poverty in Baltimore and now lives in Portland, Oregon. He has four cats: three Sphynxes and a Devon Rex. Through his videos and photos, Moshow educates people about the special needs of these hairless breeds. He also advocates adoption, vilifies declawing and celebrates cat ladies while preaching love and positivity. Moshow is handsome and stylish, hilarious, an exceptional performer and irrepressibly openhearted. He put himself through college and maintains a relationship with a charismatic woman named EmSee. Commitment-phobe? Not here.

Today’s cat guy is also caring.

Cat guy Mike Bridavsky and Lil BUB.
Cat guy Mike Bridavsky and Lil BUB. Photography by Splash News | Alamy Stock Photo.

Consider Mike Bridavsky, Lil BUB’s “dude.” He insists that the people who do business with him and BUB give part of what they make to a charitable cause such as cat rescue. “It doesn’t have to be a lot,” Mike said to me in a 2013 interview, “but just something to show that they care.”

Consider also Mick Szydlowski, owner of Oskar the Blind Cat. Mick brings Oskar to meet blind children and adults so Oskar can provide companionship and inspiration. Mick also made an Oskar book series available in braille.

Today’s cat guy is creative.

Take Scott Stulen, the man who orchestrated the original Internet Cat Video Festival at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis in 2012. Scott is an artist, writer, musician and DJ. He helps at CatCon by moderating panel discussions, including one called “They Put the ‘Special’ in ‘Special Needs.’” He’s now director of the Philbrook Art Museum in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Today’s cat guy is smart.

Cat guy Jackson Galaxy with some feline friends.
Cat guy Jackson Galaxy with some feline friends. Photography by Splash News | Alamy Stock Photo.

Consider Jackson Galaxy. The tall, broad-shouldered Galaxy, whose style is simultaneously retro and modern alternative, cuts an imposing figure, yet he describes himself as sensitive and introspective. When I interviewed him in 2013, he said he loves obliterating people’s expectations, but rather than keep score on this point, he uses the same principle to dispel the myth that cats are not sensitive animals. “When you humble someone by blowing their assumptions out of the water, you show them mystery,” he said, and cats are all about mystery.

Today’s cat guy is tough.

About two years ago, firefighters in Greenville, South Carolina, adopted a malnourished stray cat they found outside the station and named him Flame. Chief Anthony Segars was reluctant to let the cat stay, but now he acknowledges that Flame has rescued them in return. “My guys, they see … horrible things every day,” Segars told ABC News, and Flame provides “tremendous stress relief to these guys. He is therapeutic after a bad call comes in.”

My conclusion? Today’s cat guy is not an emotionally elusive malcontent.

Rather, he’s a lot of different guys, guys who are funny, guys who are perceptive, guys who are smart, guys with style, guys who are tough, guys who are compassionate. Today’s cat guy cares about life and has the patience to figure out how to use his powers for good. He knows who he loves and, more importantly, he knows how to love them, whether they’re humans or cats.

Thumbnail: Photography ©Sergey Moskvitin | Thinkstock.

Keith Bowers is a career journalist who has covered pets, the arts, law, politics, business and crime. He is a visual artist in oil painting, sculpture and photography. He has been emcee at CatCon for three years. The fashion-conscious Bowers lives in Corvallis, Oregon, with his wife, Daphne, and one cat, a brown tabby named Thomas.

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Tell us: Are you a cat guy or do you have any cat guys in your life? What do you think about the misconceptions surrounding cat guys?

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18 thoughts on “Dispelling the Myths About Today’s Cat Guy”

  1. Cat guys is the worst choice of a partner. In fact being just friends with a cat guy is a bad move. Narcissistic males are prone to having a cat over a dog. This guy is full of himself just like his spirit animal. He thinks he is smart and is beyond stubborn. As soon as you find a guy you are interested in has a cat, RUN!!!!!!!

  2. Let’s be real… Cat guys are finicky and not loyal, just like cats. When you are cat guy that means you are a selfish diva! Not man enough to have a dog. No real woman should be with this type of guy! In fact he is a gal. In the pride world he would be the bottom. So if you are a smart female you should run from a cat guy. The only puss* he deserves is his cat and that’s that!

  3. I’m just a Motorcycle Racing, Pizza Wolfing, Gym Rat Stray. That, and the resident male to a pride of ferocious cubs, including a little special needs perma-kitten (with severe Cerebellar Hypoplasia) named Pepino.
    <a href="https://www.facebook.com/Pepino.CH/" title="Pepino, the CH Kitten"
    I’m into my Ducati Superbike, home theater, astronomy, sports, toy car collecting, and am a volunteer for an animal rescue organization that runs a no-kill shelter.
    My house is big enough for me to have become guardian to some of the shelter’s former “long term inmates”.
    I’m happy the stereotype is being broken as I never fit it.
    People that meet me seem surprised to learn I am the resident male and guardian to The Pride Cubs but it gives me the opportunity to help them see “cat guys” differently.

    1. I am a cat guy I have one cat named tiger he is 9 years I raised him from about three weeks old and I whould not traid him for anything.i also have cat that showed up about three mounths ago Ann have been feeding him and giveing him a few shalters that I made to keep him worm as he still will not come in side he and my other car to know each out her and have not been in a fight yet I am hoping that I can get them tougher so far that as not happened .it is getting cold out there but that cat still has not changed his mind .let me know what you think
      Thank you

  4. I think I’m in pretty good company. – https://www.google.com/search?q=Marlon+Brando+and+cat+image&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjRh8mdurvYAhUI1mMKHdLXCoYQsAQIKA&biw=1920&bih=985

  5. There may be a bias against cat dudes, but whenever I have noticed a bad reaction to my having cats, it has been from dog people (which is entirely fine, given the reciprocity of my disgust). Frankly, I find dog people to be as insecure as their animals, constantly fronting and easily cowed, and as I am quite happy to be like my animals, indifferent to their opinions, I probably invite any number of stereotypes about cat people.

    …but maybe that’s my toxoplasmosis talking….

  6. I am a 30 year old cat man. I had a total of 4 different cats in my life. Their names were Erine, Sheba, Fluffy and Rocky. Erine was outside when he got ran over by a car when I was a baby. Sheba was adopted when she was a kitten and loved being with the family. Sheba was around my whole childhood and taught me how to talk to cats at a early age. Sheba died of old age, but she is with me in my heart. Fluffy rescued me when I was in my bad times. She gone missing and was never found. Rocky is a big cat who I found just outside my back doorstep. He was cold and shaking while he was in the ice and snow. I told my mother that he could spend the night in my room. The next day, I tried to find his owners, but no one claimed him. so, me and my brother named him rocky; and Rocky been with us ever since. Rocky is a good cat who enjoys licking my face and sitting on my lap. Rocky always comes to me to get petted. I love all my cats that were in my life and I still do love them. I will always be a cat man.

  7. I am a cat guy. Always have been. My cat is my constant companion and travels with me everywhere. He is a better judge of character than I am.

  8. I think anyone that dislikes animals has something missing inside,When I was young I learned to trust an animal’s instincts about people.If my horses disliked them there was good reason that eventually surfaced.After awhile I didn’t wait to find out,I just watched my horses reactions.They were better judges of character than I was. I have been rescuing cats for 25 years now,and they have brought wonderful men and women into my life and and saved me from wasting my time on people just not worth it.
    People that dislike animals just don’t get it It’s their loss really.

  9. Loved this article! Where can I find a real cat guy in Greater Vancouver? Every eligible man I meet is either “allergic” (yeah right) while owning dogs or just plain hates them. I agree with Nancy. Men who dislike animals do have real character flaws and chances are high he won’t be nice to you either. My Bombay can pick out a bum at first meeting and I trust his judgment 100%.

  10. Some guys who are control freaks don’t like cats because they can’t be controlled. Dogs lie down and roll over but a cat says “You must be kidding”. My hubby is a converted cat guy with one who sleeps at his feet, cuddles and crashes on the sofa with him. Real men, when they allow themselves to love a cat is quite a guy.

  11. I am a cat guy. My rescue cat, Mr. Squeaky, is my best bud. He sleeps on my bed at night, preferably on the pillow with his fur in my face. When I watch TV he curls up in the blanket on my lap and goes to sleep. In the morning when I wake him up he jumps on my stomach and kisses me on the lips. When I am in my basement office he scratches the door and whines to get in. If I let him in he sleeps/watches me from atop the printer. He has brought a lot of joy into my life with his constant companionship. He loves to play and bats things all over the house so I have a number of various-sized bottle caps on the floor to bat around. He weighed less than 5 pounds when I adopted him. Now he looks very healthy and the vet is very pleased at his physical condition. The vet guesses he is about 8 years old.

  12. The frame around my rear license plate says “Real Men Love Cats.” Actually get a lot of positive comments.
    Tom

  13. Great article. I hate generalizations, but I learned many, many…many years ago that a man who doesn’t like animals, in general, is to be suspect. I always found that a man who cannot be loving or caring to a kitten or pup probably has some real character flaws. Cat guys just always seem to be really sweet.

  14. I’m really glad to see this article. Two of my cat guy friends are geniuses [I mean it literally]. One [T] is a cat “magnet” who’s into motorcycles and building. He had a cat years ago who used to go squirrel hunting with him. He says she pointed out the squirrels for him! The other [J] is more scholarly and reclusive, so cats are the perfect pet for him.

    I live in the South, which is a place where dogs are loved and respected, even by “crackers/rednecks” while cats are something “my wife/girlfriend wants that I put up with, and no, she’s NOT adopting another one.” Worse, some Southern cats never see a vet, constantly procreate, never see the indoors, and if female, have their kittens dumped on the side of the road, sometimes in a box or a bag. It’s infuriating. Some men do become converts because the cats will befriend them. This probably does happen all over the States, but I came from California, so the attitude was shocking to me.

    Then there are cat heroes, who support spay and neuter and humane organizations, and the guys who rescue cats, getting vouchers to spay and neuter them. My friend J is one of the latter and my other friend T is one of the former.

    1. The spay/neuter rates in the South are lower and I wonder if there is a gender bias or if it’s simply socio-economic. This is a topic I’d like to see Catster address beyond the cat man stereotypes.

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