Friday, October 15, 2010

Pity the Poor Cat People

This most annoying thing I have read this year is this little plea for understanding by Sloane Crosley, titled "Cat People are People, Too." Nothing from Sharron Angle or Glenn Beck or even Karl Rove has sent the tendrils of hostility curling up my spine like this awful ode to pity. So of course it is the "most e-mailed" thing on the NY Times web site.

The basis of the complaint is this:
For as long as I can remember, New York has been set on total canine default with feline being the deviant strain. In other words, if nothing goes wrong and you are, by all accounts, normal, you’d be interested in petting any mutt that crosses your path. Like we do, dogs live their lives on display; they are flashy creatures, status symbols. Their breeds are well-publicized and subject to trend, their owners bear a resemblance to them and vice versa. It’s why cat people compliment their cat’s personality when they say it’s doglike but a dog owner would never flatter their dog by calling him catlike.
OH MY GOD WE ARE SO PUT UPON AND OPPRESSED FOR PREFERRING CATS TO DOGS!!! People think we are weird! It's so unfair!

Oh, you know, dog people have places to go and stores that cater to them and everything, else, while we get slighted at every turn:
For a city that allows for all kinds of passions and interests, we have so remarkably few hot spots of feline tribute. All one needs for confirmation is to wander into the Union Square Petco. A pet store is a celebration of dogs’ existence and an explosion of options. About cats, a pet store seems to say, “Here, we couldn’t think of anything else.”
Poor cat people! They have nothing to buy!

And then comes the slide from "we just want to be treated equally" to "besides, cats are really better in every way":
Even now, I am a bit hesitant to extol Mabel’s many virtues. And they are many. To wake up with her belly-up and demanding affection is to have your heart explode with the kind of joy that compels some people into a life of large-scale oil painting. Alas, I am loath to cheapen her existence and dignify the city’s anti-cat stance by creating a dog-like defense for her.
Why, oh why, are people like this? What do they have to see every word of praise for one kind of life as criticism of every other kind? Why does every positive statement about dogs grate on cat owners and make them want to band together and entertain each other with soliloquies about the glories of waking up next to a soft, furry belly? Why does praise of urban life irritate suburbanites, and vice versa?

There are lots of kinds of people and lots of ways to live. Nobody else's choices have anything to do with you. Honestly. They're really not snidely putting you down when they talk about how much they like their own homes and jobs and hobbies and pets. Well, possibly some of them are, but they're just jerks and you can safely ignore them. Quit worrying about what everybody else does and whether you are in the minority or whether you are cool or whether the people who think they are cool are into something else and all the rest of that high school crap. Live the way you want, and that makes you happy.

For the record, I own two cats and one dog. I like them all fine.

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