In Defense of Cats

We are honored to publish this amazingly rich and insightful piece by Allan Goldstein, author of “The Confessions of a Catnip Junkie.”

**************

I come before you now in defense of cats.  They shouldn’t need my help, Americans have over eighty million cats, more than dogs, more than any other animal.  But if the cat is much-loved, it is more misunderstood.

I have written a novel, “The Confessions of a Catnip Junkie,” to give the cat a voice.

Cats play the villain in Western culture. It starts with Looney Tunes and never lets up. Cats have a terrible image.

If you love a cat, you love something distinctly not human.

People are more dogs than cats. We hunt in packs, we’re highly social animals, we crave approval. We’d lick ourselves if we could reach.

Cats are aliens, they operate by a different set of rules. They are rarely conflicted or neurotic. For every neurotic cat there are a hundred neurotic dogs, and a thousand neurotic humans. Cats have it figured out. Cats are perfected.

It’s a paradox.  Cats are what cool people really want to be. That’s where the phrase “cool cat” came from. But a cat person? Far from cool. It’s some old lady whose house stinks of litter and who hasn’t had a man since the Eisenhower administration.

Which only goes to prove how misunderstood the cat is. Cats are much more than living knickknacks for lonely shut-ins. Cats are cool, efficient, predators whose love is as unexpected as it is impossible. Yet they do it and we give it back to them. Because so are we.

Falling in love with a cat is falling in love with an equal. A cat won’t guard your house, herd your sheep, guide your blind, or chase your criminals. A cat won’t work for you or anyone else. Cats don’t work. They live. And they’re very good at it. Nine times better than we are.

Sometimes cats are in, sometimes they’re out. We all know cats were deified in ancient Egypt. This enlightened attitude was a matter of indifference to ancient Egyptian cats.  We are equally familiar with the burning of cats as witches by the Church in medieval times. This behavior was somewhat more concerning to middle age felines, but they survived it.

Egyptian Cat Sculpture (The MET Museum)

Egyptian Cat Sculpture (The MET Museum)

Humans, on the other hand, got rats and the plague out of the deal. That’s a pretty high transaction cost for indulging in cat genocide, especially when the genocide didn’t work.

We are all fortunate it failed. But only some of us know it. Only some of us know the extreme pleasure—I’ll come right out and say it—the sweet bliss of loving a cat and having that cat love us right back.

It’s enough to move the poet to raptures of song, to inspire great art and lovely stories; it’s more than enough. But, somehow, it hasn’t.  It is the other love that dare not speak its name. The arts have failed cats.

There is something about a cat that’s hard to capture on canvas or paper. I’ve seen paintings by the Old Masters, masterpieces of portraiture, with people so real they seem to breathe, domestic scenes so cozy and perfect you want to move right in, every brush stroke a testament to enduring genius.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
This entry was posted in Cats and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.
  • Wow, that was quite interesting. And he is correct – cat love is totally addictive!

    • Ihavecat

      I know, isn’t he a great writer?! I can’t wait to read his novel. Hopefully we will do a giveaway soon for one as well!

  • urbancritter

    I love this post! And I am as addicted to my kitty’s love as an addict is to their crack.

    But why isn’t this book available on my Kindle?! I could have been reading it in a nanosecond, now I have to order the version that kills trees and WAIT for it!

    • Ihavecat

      oh no! Good question! I don’t think publishers make ALL books available for Kindle sadly…perhaps it’s based on popularity? I’m forward to reading it too!Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to leave a comment!

  • That was a realy interesting bit of writing and how right too.. HUgs GJ x

    • Ihavecat

      Thanks for visiting, I’m glad you enjoyed the post. I thought Allan did a great job! He is a REAL writer!

  • Cats are the most amazing creatures on earth.

  • So true! I totally want to read his novel…

    • Ihavecat

      me too me too!

  • Not only do poor cats have a bad image, as you know being a cat owner, female, in your 30’s and da-da-da-dum… single is worse than being a cat to a great part of society hehehe

    • Ihavecat

      touche my friend.

  • I have two cats and this is so very true about each of them. I’ve always thought that my cats have mastered three things: living in the now, unconditional love, easy happiness.

    Reading this is giving me the itch to get another cat after we move to a much bigger home. But I’m afraid that Jaffrey may not forgive me another roommate 🙂

    Thanks for this post!

    Kimberly

    • Ihavecat

      Is Jeffery 2 legged or 4 legged? 🙂
      Thanks for coming to visit and for taking the time to leave a comment, i Just went to your website and your work is beautiful!
      I will be sure to post your April 23rd entry about photographing a dark colored cat to my FaceBook page! Thanks again!

  • That was great! We didn’t need any convincing though. Have some friends we’ll send this too. 😉

    • Ihavecat

      Excellent! I’m trying to get my “Share” button to work – didn’t realize it wasn’t clicking! Argh. In the meantime i guess just send them the link?!
      THANKS!

  • That sounds like a wonderful book. We do need to prove how wonderful cats really are.
    Cats are used for one really good thing and that is to kind of be therapy cats. Some cats that are suited for the job, go to hospitals and nursing homes etc. to cheer people up. And they are just as good as the therapy dogs.
    Have a great week end.

    • Ihavecat

      Agree on all counts! Thanks for reading and commenting! I’m sure Allan is going to love seeing all the great comments!

  • jmuhj

    AT LAST! A western writer who is able to put into socially-acceptable, informative, and engaging prose, just WHAT it is about cats and those who love them! May every person who is convinced (s)he dislikes cats READ THIS BOOK. And then, may (s)he join the ranks of those of us who know. The cat IS perfected. No doubt about it.

    • Ihavecat

      Love the “(s)he”! I can’t wait to read the book. It’s clear how much research Allan has put into it and how great his love of cats is!

  • That’s funny. And here we were thinking cats play a great role in literature. In the Netherlands in any case every other writer has written an ode to his or her cat in some form.
    Does that make us unique in the world? Are we literally a cat lovers country?

    • Ihavecat

      How interesting. Good question. I get the sense that other cultures like like the Japanese respect and accept cats as well. It would be very interesting to explore this topic further. Perhaps it will inspire a post! I know one IHC reader who says Indian men, for example, are not ashamed at admitting their love of felines, and that it’s not considered to be feminine.

  • Pingback: What Would Doo Doo Do (WWDDD)? « I Have Cat()

  • What a very cool, and thought provoking, essay!

    Oh, and Sylvester was just misunderstood….

    By his son as much as by his therapist. ;-D

    Wonder who was his wife, and what happened there?

    Did she die, or did they get divorced, and he got custody of Junior? ;-D

  • Wow! What a wonderful, thoughtful, essay!

    How in the hell did it escape my attention all these months?

    How has it escaped the attention of other Cat Bloggers, thus no comments here?

    I want to get my paws on a copy of his novel, now, and will have Daddy Kiril do so by the end of the year.

    One thing, in particular, stood out for me, as Daddy gets a lot of grief for my, and Miss Elvira’s blogging, from his sisters who fail to understand what the heck we are all about.

    “a cat person? Far from cool. It’s some old lady whose house stinks of litter and who hasn’t had a man since the Eisenhower administration.”

    or some 35-to 55 year old single guy who has never had a girlfriend, or much of a social life since, well, since ever ( Daddy was 38 when I entered his life, as Cat #2, in 1998, and he’s 51, now).

    & no, even with 2 Cats now, the house most certainly does not stink of litter, or our presents that we deposit therein. ;-D

    • Thank you Nikita for reading this post and I’m so happy you love Allan’s writing as much as I do. I do hope you check out his novel! 

  • Nice post. I appreciate you re-sharing it with us…perfect Sunday morning reading 🙂

    • Hi Vicky! I’m so glad you enjoyed it. If you haven’t read Allan’s book i KNOW You will LOVE it! you can read the review on IHC under the post titled WWDDD (what would Doo Doo Do!)

  • Nice post. I appreciate you re-sharing it with us…perfect Sunday morning reading 🙂

  • This is a terrific essay!  I’ve already added the book to my wish list on Amazon.com.  Thanks for posting, and all of the other insightful cat posts you lovingly bring to your fans.  

    • YAY! You will NOT be able to put it down I tell you! get it ASAP!