I recently asked an ex why men love dogs given they personify all that is deemed undesirable in the opposite sex – needy, dependent, requiring constant validation, easily excitable, unable to contain emotions (not to mention the love of snuggle time). He replied, “They don’t talk and you always have the option of putting them outside.”
An acquaintance once asked her dad “why do most men hate cats?” He responded (apparently not missing a beat), “I think they remind us too much of smart-ass women.”
Both these anecdotes speak of the desire for an ever obedient, adoring and controllable female partner. So what then, can we extrapolate about the man who loves cats? The kind of person he is, and what type of partner does he want?
THE MAN WHO LIKES CATS IS:
Secure with his Sexuality
We grow up learning that dogs are for boys, and cats for girls. Even today pet companies may venture so far as to show a woman or girl with dogs, but few portray a man or boy with cats. The man who is public about his cat-love is secure enough in his masculinity to go against social norms and express his love for an animal that is viewed as “soft” and “feminine” (which I have yet to understand given most cats are anything but –that’s another post!).
In this assertion I am not alone. A year ago, the New York Times ran an article about the increasing number of straight cat-owning men. Paul Klusman, a very masculine looking engineer who made a video on youtube featuring his three cats believes, “Any single, straight man who has the slightest bit of insecurity about his own sexuality will probably find it difficult to admit to owning or even appreciating cats.”
Elizabeth Daza, a 28-year-old Manhattanite who has dated cat-owning men is quoted in the same article saying “Straight men with cats seem to be really secure and stable. They don’t need to be running around the park and proving their masculinity like the dog guys.”
The dog is the “insecure man’s best friend,” believes Mr. Scalia, a cat-owning science-fiction writer. “The dog is in effect, your wing-man. If you’re feeling insecure about your space in the world, you get a dog because he will always back you up.”
It’s true that dogs are ready and willing to provide unconditional love on-demand and are trusting to a fault. This has been proven in barbaric experiments where dogs were tortured by their scientist-owners and continued to trust their master to their death – literally licking the hand that killed them.
Cat’s don’t “do” adoration. The man with a cat is comfortable with love and affection that isn’t always on his terms. In Mr. Scalia’s words, the man who loves cats “Is secure within himself,” asserting that he is, after all “sharing his space with a predator.”
The man who dislikes cats is like the man who dislikes gays. Both are fearful of what the feline/homosexual represent in themselves that they are not at terms with and reject. The man who loves cats is in touch with and accepts all aspects of his being – even those that might be viewed as “feminine”.
Stacy Mantle, the founder of Petsweekly.com, goes so far as to say “It’s the un-evolved members of the species who tend toward abuse of cats — and oftentimes, women and children.” It is her belief that men are becoming “cat literate” because more and more men are themselves, evolving.
Recently I asked 15 of my female friends – both cat owning and not – to list the adjectives that came to mind when they thought about a cat-owning man. I was pleasantly surprised that “deep”, “wise” and “introspective” came up numerous times. These words were not associated with dog-owning men (because I asked about that too). Maybe we can convince Men and Cats to create a “single with cat” section?
Patient and Accepting
“Calm”, “patient”, “nurturing”, “easygoing”, “not controlling”. Some of the descriptors my girlfriends attribute to the cat-loving male. And frankly, it makes sense.
Dogs are obedient and faithful by nature, but a cat’s love must be earned. They provide affection on their timeline – not yours. When you first bring a cat home, chances are it’s going straight under the closest bed or sofa. Days might go by before the little critter comes out let alone shares the sofa with you.
The man who likes cats knows to speak softly and kindly to the animal, bring it food and give it space and time. He knows that as long as he doesn’t scare him or force him, soon enough the cat will be rubbing against him purring and curling up on the sofa to watch TV.
Arnold Leo, a commercial fisherman with a penchant for cats put it best, “You can get cats to do what you want if you draw them into it,” he said. ”It’s a question of attraction rather than intimidation.”’
That’s what I want in a man, someone who doesn’t come on too strong and who has the patience to get to know me and accepts me for who I am.
So Let’s Recap
Men who like cats are comfortable with themselves and their sexuality and are in-touch with their “feminine” side. They are patient, easy-going and accepting. They can love even when it’s not always on their terms. They are not controlling but rather accept and appreciate things as they are.
In summation, I believe wholeheartedly that the cat-loving man is in fact the perfect* mate for the opinionated, loving and independent single woman.
*Please appreciate that I resisted the fleeting urge to write “purr-fect”