Learning to Appreciate Cats: A Short Guide for Dog People

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There’s a particular quirkiness in our adorable, yet-sometimes-feral feline friends that has captivated the human imagination since times blown over Egyptian dunes. To be fair, humanity has a propensity for symbolism and mythological abstraction based upon varied aspects of surrounding nature, but cats have been such a consistent part of our culture that we still keep them as pets today.

For all you dog people, yes, our barking companions have endured an equal or perhaps greater legacy, but it’s time for kitties to take the spotlight. This is the quintessential (short) guide to appreciating cats for all the lovable fun they can be:
1. Cats are animals too. It might sound obvious, but it’s important to remember that cats, just like dogs and thousands of other species, are animals. I’ve heard people complain that cats are evil or that they will never love you, but that just seems silly to me. As an animal we will never be able to fully understand what goes on in their heads (we can’t even understand each other for that matter), but I assure you that if a cat dislikes you it will have a good reason for it. Perhaps it was hurt by humans, perhaps it senses your own discomfort, or maybe it hasn’t warmed up to you yet.

2. Cats are not dogs. Another obvious statement, but hear me out. A lot of people who grow up in a household with a dog as a pet can get the idea that all animals will be as unabashedly loving and recklessly selfless as their childhood dog. This, in turn, transforms expectations about cats (who are probably the closest mammalian equivalent to dogs in terms of widespread domestication) so when this person meets the new feline they treat them as if they were dogs. They expect the cat to fetch and play roughly, but this is a common misconception. When you’re with a cat, treat it like a cat! Pet it’s back, let it purr and brush against you, etc. You will find ways to have fun times with your cat if you don’t expect it to be as energetic as a dog.

3. Cats are fun too! By this time you must have seen a dozen cat videos in your lifetime (I know that’s a gross underestimation), so you must be aware that cats are eccentric goofballs. They will fight each other while making weird noises, they will chase down lasers, play with yarn, run around like crazy. There’s plenty to pick and choose from when having a cat as a pet or when encountering one in your friend’s apartment. Try and play with them, in a manner befitting their species, and a smile will creep over your face. Alternatives are always great to have, so maybe after a day at the park with your dog you might want to go home and make your cat chase after a red dot for twenty minutes. Possibilities are endless!

4. Cats demonstrate love differently. A while back I mentioned how kitties will brush up against you and purr. This is one of the ways in which cats show their love and trust to their owner (or whomever else they trust), because doing this enables them to spread around their scent, not only unto you but unto their surroundings. Don’t expect your cat to be wiggling it’s tail to wake you up or welcome you after you came home: that’s dog behavior. I feel like some dog people expect their non-canine pets to be very expressive, so when they fail to see these mannerisms they think the love isn’t there. But think about it: if you’ve taken care of your cat, given it food, shelter, and love, and it likes to be around you (albeit stealthily), how can you even assume your kitty doesn’t love you back?

5. At the least, appreciate them. I know some people will try and interact with cats in order to attempt a connection like the one they might have with other pets and simply fail. Not everybody is a cat person (unfortunately), so my last request is that at least you learn to see them as another friend to our species. It’s like that person whom you think is mildly attractive but at the same time don’t have the interest in dating. Cats will still be there bringing happiness to someone else, so don’t worry if they’re not your favorite. Bask in the fact that cats are fun for other people and celebrate those interactions instead of asking why they would choose cats over dogs. After all, cats will probably take over the world in a few years with some brainwashing technology, so you might want to be on their good side.

Stefano Llinas | News Cult