cat lady

The Case for Owning Cats

by Lindsey

Binx, Kelsey’s cat scarf/needy little dude

Last week, I came across an article from Vox that made a case against owning cats, saying in the (clickbait) headline that cats are “selfish, unfeeling, environmentally harmful creatures.” Well, well. Since I am a self-professed cat lady* and a person who generally likes to hear both sides of a story, I’m here to offer a rebuttal…and more!

  1. “Your cat probably doesn’t love you”
    • To “prove” this point, Vox cites scientific research that observes
      how dogs and cats respond when their owners abandon them in a room and later return. According to their conclusions, “compared to a stranger, the dogs become more disturbed when their owners leave, and interact with them more when they return.” Cats in the (as yet unpublished) studies do not respond in the same way. I feel like this is a shallow way to measure affection, but the cats in my life have responded much the same as dogs. When I leave for the day, my cat follows me to the door with a distressed look on her face. When I return, she greets me (loudly). My parents’ cats welcome them home by begging for belly rubs. Kelsey’s cat wanders around her apartment meowing until she picks him up and carries him around with her. How is this different that a dog’s behavior in a similar situation? (I will agree with Vox that cats do not usually come when called. Oh well.)
  2. “Your cat isn’t really showing you affection”
    • Cats do mark things/people with their scents by rubbing them, but to say that it’s only a means to that end is ridiculous. Comparing how a cat rubs/greets its owner with how it rubs/greets a stranger shows this. Cats and dogs both beg for food, so I’m not sure how the manipulative nature of meowing or purring can be shown as a negative for only cats. Plus, in cats I’ve known, purring occurs largely away from food, when they’re relaxed or being petted. Which also gets to the point that Vox makes about cats not enjoying being petted. Some may not, but most do, as shown by their (sometimes annoying) insistence that you pet them. Check out this article from the Dodo for more info about how cats show affection, including the “slow blink.” It makes you look friendly to cats and stupid to other humans, so double-bonus win! Plus, Wired says cats care, so boo-yah, Vox. (In other news, I’m very mature.)
  3. “Cats are an environmental disaster”
    • Yes, cats kill birds and mice, etc. The simple solution to this? Keep your cats inside. Dogs, which Vox admits also hunt and spread disease, do not have this option. Kelsey makes the point that, if this logic is applied, every carnivore in the world is an environmental disaster then. People have traditionally kept cats around for their hunting skills alone. Hasta la vista, rodents.
  4. “Your cat might be driving you crazy”
    • I don’t have enough medical knowledge to give my opinion here. I will say that I’ve had cats all my life, and I don’t think they’ve contributed to my crazy.
    • Kelsey had some rather strong feelings on this particular point, too, saying: “My cat might be driving me crazy? Well, perhaps. But on the other spectrum, dog owners are the ones who tote their drooling counterparts around, regardless of size, friendliness or general appropriateness to every beer garden, party, park, outdoor eatery or any function ever. My cat may be driving my crazy, but at least I’m not a chauffer/it’s more inconspicuous than the dog crazies.”


      My Stella, performing her morning cuddle bomb routine.

  5. And more!
    • It has long been my opinion that cats are the introverts of the domestic animal world. Dogs, of course, are the extroverts. Cats generally give affection in a quieter, less boisterous way than dogs. As an introvert myself, I can identify their behavior that is sometimes construed as anti-social or less forthcoming. Yes, I know cats and dogs aren’t on the Myers-Briggs spectrum. I still think it’s worth considering the differences in base temperament for each species. Also, cats are smart.
    • Cats really don’t need more bad press, and I’m disappointed that Vox would distribute a one-sided article about our feline friends. Cats are the darlings of the online video world, but they’re met with vitriol in real life. It’s been my experience that when people dislike cats, they REALLY dislike cats. They have a reputation for being the bane of allergy sufferers, evil (especially dear black cats like my Stella), sneaky, uncontrollable and unloving.  It’s not that all of those are untrue, but it’s disheartening when those negative qualities are magnified and expanded by folklore and press. Plus, has a woman ever been dissed as a dog lady? Not to my knowledge. Whereas, my reputation as a cat-loving lunatic has now been cemented into the minds of every unlike-minded reader. I like to wear my cat lady status on my sleeve (more on that later).
    • If we’re going to equalize reputations here, I would say that dogs are smelly, require grooming and bathing from humans, are dependent to the point you can’t leave them alone for a couple of days, must poop outside in winter and are capable of killing people. And I like dogs! If I had a nickel every time someone said one of the following sentences, I’d have lots of nickels: “Oh, our dogs will win you over to their side!” or “We’ll get you to like dogs, yet!” or “Aww, maybe you are a dog person!” Favoring cats doesn’t mean you can’t like dogs, I just don’t want the added trouble (see above complaints about grooming and outdoor trips) that comes with them. This article isn’t meant to slight canines, but to take up for my beloved felines.

The moral of the story? Don’t lump cats into one category, and don’t piss off the owners of loving cats everywhere. #NotAllCats


*Please note that I’m speaking from my own experiences with cats. I know not every cat is the same. Some may be just as aloof and heartless as Vox would have you believe, just as some men are jerks, some women are crazy and some dogs are violent. Damn you, stereotypes!