Cat guys are ubiquitous in Western society. Like felines themselves, however, the men who love cats often move silently to escape notice. The tired old stereotype of cat-loving men being slightly deranged and untrustworthy remains. Yet well-known cat men include the likes of Marlon Brando, Joey Ramone, Morrissey, Steve Martin, Russell Brand, Jack Kerouac, and Paul Krugman.
There’s probably a cat guy in your life (whether you know it or not), and maybe he’s ready to come out of the closet — to stand up and be counted among history’s cat-loving men. Here are some holiday gifts that will help him do this.
File this one under “duh.” Jackson Galaxy stands about six feet tall. He’s bald, tattooed, barrel-chested, and he plays in a rock ‘n’ roll band. Not only is he not afraid to admit he loves cats, he has a TV show (My Cat From Hell) and wrote this book based on his experiences with his own cat and the ones he encountered working in a shelter.
I met Mr. Galaxy (and in fact was mistaken for him) at a recent conference in Los Angeles, and he’s a funny, accessible, straightforward guy — a real role model for cat guys all over. He read about two pages from this book during his talk, and people hung on every word. It’s about cats but it’s also about his personal transformation — a good start for any future cat daddy.
The Kit-Cat Clock has been around since the Great Depression, and if the cat man in your life likes retro-looking gear with an Art Deco feel, this will go great in his kitchen or den. The original Kit-Cat looks a lot like the famous cartoon cat Felix — a black cat with a white muzzle, a big smile, and big round eyes. The Kit-Cat clock is made in numerous color schemes (including black and white) and at least two sizes. Some of the pricier models have rhinestones on them, and the company website offers customized kits with interchangeable tails and bow ties.
On all the wall clocks, Kit-Cat’s tail and eyes move back and forth in unison — so if your cat guy also likes amusing (and slightly creepy) things, this clock is for him. I’ve had two of these since the late 1980s — one of them I got at a garage sale — and both are still running.
This doormat that says “Beware of Cat” is a nice way for your cat guy to tell the world about his true nature. It’s funny (the faux claw marks are real cuts taken out of the mat) and playful, while not being quite so obvious as, say, a replica of a big yellow road sign with a kitty silhouette and the words “CAT XING.” Rather, this item (which measures 18 inches by 30 inches) could be a cat guy’s way of revealing his feline love without having to bring it up himself. All he has to do is invite someone to his home or apartment, and the visitor will know before the cat guy answers the door.
Men’s jewelry can be a bit extreme. Rings, chains, and bracelets aimed at men often look like they were made in the same factory as Air Force jets. While that’s probably cool for some guys, others find that it limits their expression to something approximating “AAAAARGH!” Just the same, a lot of cat-themed jewelry out there is so clearly made for women that it’s probably out of bounds even for the gender-bending guy (unless they want to look like an elementary-school girl).
So we’re thankful for the Outlaw Kitty Chain Necklace. It combines that jet-factory sensibility with subtlety and humor. This kitty looks menacing in the same way a skull and crossbones does, but hey, it’s still a kitty. Like the doormat, it might be a conversation-starter that gives a cat guy a route to show himself.
This smartphone cover from popKiller contains the Maneki Neko — also called the Japanese Lucky Cat or Money Cat. You’ve probably seen these little figurines of this in businesses — they’re said to bring good fortune and many visitors. The Maneki Neko is based on multiple stories, all of them having to do with a cat who urges a human to change course or take notice, thereby saving the person from a violent end.
The Maneki Neko’s paw is raised and looks to us like a wave — or perhaps a gesture of solidarity. But in Japanese culture (so we’re told) what looks like a wave means “Come over here!” Armed with that knowledge — and such a cool little cat on his phone case — think of what a good first impression your cat guy will make.
If your cat daddy wants to feel like he’s among friends throughout 2013 — and also like he’s supporting a good rescue cause — this calendar will accommodate that. The retro-inspired images in the calendar depict guys in various states of dress (and undress) and situations. A guy in a tuxedo (January) talks on a black rotary phone while a cat sits on his shoulder. A masked white cat burglar (March) leans against an alley wall with his white feline accomplice, who also wears a black mask. A tattooed man (June) stands in his bathroom, prevented from shaving by his cat — who occupies the sink.
The photographs were shot by Lynn Terry, who’s an animal advocate. All cats in the shots were rescued or have been adopted through a place called Rainbow Ranch, according to Terry’s Etsy shop. The money will help the group’s Feral on the Farm trap-neuter-return program that helps ferals find homes on farms and other agricultural operations. The 2013 calendar measures 12 inches square.
If it’s one thing that’s been way overdone in popular culture, it’s the vampire. (See also: Zombies and pirates. Over!) Just the same, this kitty version of Count Dracula is refreshingly simple. On the front of this gray cotton shirt lives a fabulously dressed vampire opening his arms and cape to welcome his unsuspecting victims — except he has the head of a white kitty (and red eyes).
This is the only real gadgety thing on this list, and as gadgety things go, it’s not really that gadgety. But this camera seems like great fun — if you can get your cat accustomed to wearing a tiny camera around his neck.
If you’ve ever wondered where your cat goes when he’s outside or when he’s walking around the house or apartment when you’re at work (we have), this camera will help you find out. According to the site, the camera clips onto your pet’s collar like an ID tag. It can store as many as 40 photographs, and its timer can get set to shoot every 1, 5, or 15 minutes. Its resolution is 640 by 480, which makes four-by-six-inch prints. It measures 2.5 by 2 by 1.5 inches, comes with a USB cable, and runs on two AAA batteries. This could also be another way for a cat guy to come out: “Hey, everyone! Look at the crazy shots my cat got in my house when I was at work yesterday!”
This Catnip Freakout print in its retro style would look great in the same room as the Kit-Cat Clock. It serves the added purpose of warning cats in your cat guy’s house against the dangers of catnip. (Hint: Just say meow!)
The artist, Matt Snow, describes it as “atomic style” and “inspired by 1950s morality cinema posters.” (We’re guessing Reefer Madness is among them.) It measures 11 inches by 17 inches — and it does not include the frame and matte board shown in the photograph. It’s printed on heavyweight gloss cover paper, and it’s shipped in a sturdy mailing tube.
I have to qualify this one: I don’t like the idea of saying what makes someone a “real man.” It’s preachy, and I believe it’s dangerous when we claim to know what’s good for other people. That said, if your cat guy is okay shouting his love for felines from the rooftops — or he’s the type who likes to ridicule the “Real Men Drive Trucks and Beat People Up” mentality, this shirt is for him. Or, think of it this way: It could be the start of a new definition of masculinity. After all, Ernest Hemingway loved cats.