On Cats and Singleness

Today’s post is brought to you by Tom Cox, the author of “Under The Paw” and “Talk to the Tail.” He’s a (newly) single cat-loving Brit. While his books are not yet available on Amazon.com, they CAN be purchased for a great price on Amazon.co.uk.
This post hits close to home and highlights the double standard when it comes to singleness, cats and gender.  My favorite line from this post has got to be about “Bob” (read it and you will know which one I mean!).

As regular readers of my blog might have gleaned, I became a single person last year (I haven’t wanted to make too much of this, but since my ex, Dee, was a fairly sizable part of the story in Under The Paw, it would have been an insult to readers not to mention it in Talk To The Tail).

Illustration courtesy of Helen the Illustrator http://www.helenetheillustrator.co.uk/

As a state of being, it’s actually not without its perks – sometimes, I’ll throw a wet towel on the floor and leave it there for a whole four minutes before picking it up – but it’s also been a slightly bewildering phenomenon at times.

Of course, I’ve been single before, but since that happened in 1647, I’m not sure my memories of it are at all relevant to the present day. There’s also the fact that, last time I was single, I was not living alone with four cats: a domestic set up that can be a huge drawback in the dating world, or a major plus, depending on who you ask.

I’m told by cat-loving female friends that being a man who owns multiple felines marks me out as “solid boyfriend material”, but then they would say that: they like cats, and are being nice to me, because they are my friends, and know I’ve been through a relationship break-up in the not too distant past. Am I really more “sensitive” because I like cats? I suppose I have a sensitive side, but I also probably like beer, big boobs and loud rock music no less than many manly men who wouldn’t allow a feline in the house.

Four of these lucky kitties still get to live with Tom, the other two are with the ex

I’m also aware that there’s a flipside to the perception: that there are also women, even women who like cats, who will immediately start asking themselves questions about a man living alone with that many sets of paws. Why four moggies, and not just one? On a deeper level, what do the cats “represent”? If he has that many animals, does it mean he can’t relate to humans?

If I were to answer these questions, I would say it’s as simple as this: I like cats, my ex also likes cats, so we ended up getting a lot of cats, then, when we split up, I ended up keeping slightly more cats than her. But as we all know, that kind of explanation might not cut it in the real world.

Another single friend recently signed up to one of the more wholesome Internet dating sites and showed me her profile and asked me whether there was anything I thought she should add. “You haven’t mentioned that you like cats, have you?” I said. “No. She replied. That’s because you don’t, if you’re a girl. It’s The Rule.” I noticed that in one of her photos she had cropped out Bob, her chunky tabby. I felt sorry for Bob. Had he had any say in this?

“But you wouldn’t want to go out with someone who doesn’t like cats, though, would you?” I asked. “No!” she replied, horrified.

Tom + Cat = Tomcat?!

I’m not sure that single men would worry quite so much about having a moggy slinking in the rear of their shot on a dating site, but Crazy Cat Woman is now so ubiquitous, she is altering the way we all think about our pets, whether we’re male or female. She’s been here forever, yet she seems to be particularly prevalent in modern culture – on The Simpsons, on sitcoms, endlessly referenced in daily conversation. “You want to be careful. You’ll turn into the lady with all the cats and no friends!” “Uh-Oh. You’ve got hair on your jumper. Mad Cat Woman Alert!”

Certainly, there are people out there who project too much onto their animals, and start to let their hygiene standards slip as a result of being around them, but they are in the minority, and it seems sad that we are going to quite such lengths to hide our cat love because we’re worried what the world thinks?

Surely loving cats says more good things about a person than it does bad ones: that they’re patient, an appreciator of beauty, open to a challenge? There’s the possibility that it might just say plainly that they love cats. Having said that, I will confess that I met a girl recently who talked a lot about how much she loved the smell of cat food, and I found it hard to view it as a plus. But let’s face it: that’s just plain weird, isn’t it?

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  • Well said! My mom has been “single again” for 14 years now and I’ve been with her for almost 15 years. She says that even though she gets lonely at times, she really likes her independence.

    • I HAVE CAT

      Yes, it’s def a trade off. I think singleboys who love cats get a better rap than single woman who love cats tho….it makes no sense to me!

    • I’ve just discovered your blog and I love it!! As a single person with now two cats (I just adopted a kitten to keep my adult cat company…when i go on dates?!), I look forward to reading more.

      • I HAVE CAT

        Hi Tracy! I’m so happy to “meet” you. But my dear, you are a PROPER writer! I just visited your blog and am so touched and impressed by your honestly and your writing ability. I cannot wait to read every singe post. And you have only just started it! I cannot believe I am a YEAR with the blogging. Wow, how time flies!

  • SylverWyrd

    I adore men who like cats. Wink Wink

    • I HAVE CAT

      me too! wink wink wink! 🙂 thanks for visiting and posting a comment!

      • Be careful saying things like that in public 🙂

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  • Jackson

    I’m a recently single guy who lives with one awesome cat. Cats are just cool furry people. I’m just grateful mine let’s me live with her! :-))

  • Must agree with you that a single anyone who love cats is better than one who doesn’t. And we just love that first picture where all six of your kitties eat side by side.

    • I HAVE CAT

      Hi MOMO! Isn’t that adorable?! I love that photo too! Thanks for visiting and taking the time to post!
      PS -you have such a great fur boyfriend!

  • I wrote an article once called ‘why cat lovers make the best boyfriends’. Of course, it was VERY self serving 🙂

    That doesn’t stop it from being true. That’s my story & I’m sticking with it 🙂

    • I HAVE CAT

      Thanks for visiting IHC the blog and on FB! We are excited to have another cat-loving man around!

  • Philippa

    The cats will definitely help sort the wheat from the chaff with the whole dating thing. My partner used to bring me chocolate and cat treats for my cat…. He’d never spent any time with cats at all and now he lives with us both and we still get chocolate and cat treats sometimes…

    • I HAVE CAT

      Great expression “wheat from the chaff” and so right you are Philippa! What a lovely partner you have! Thanks for visiting and taking the time to post! come back soon!

  • Adrien

    My longtime BF had a wonderful big black cat for 18+ years. He LOVES the cats I rescued and persuaded me to keep two of them I was working on rehoming through the rescue I volunteer with. It makes my heart melt when he sweeps one of them off their paw pads and kisses them. There is NOTHING unmanly about loving animals. People can be so close-minded.

    • I HAVE CAT

      Awww I love the visual of him sweeping them off thier paw pads! tehe! What a lucky lady you are!

  • he’s cute and he likes/loves cats..how could ask for anything more!!!!!!
    Well, i guess there’s alot more you could ask for…but it’s a start!!!!LOL

    • I HAVE CAT

      well,it’s DEF a good start! LOL

  • Annika

    I couldn’t even think of living (or dating if I was single) with a man who didn’t like cats. We currently have 9 and my hubby truly loves them, too!

  • Bea

    If having a cat (well, any pets really) puts anyone off a relationship, RUN! They’re usually not worth a second of your time. No one should be so desperate to put a personal relationship above the absolute and unconditional love that a pet gives us back!

    • I HAVE CAT

      I agree Bea! Thanks for taking the time to read and post Bea!

  • If he loves cats, he has to be a great catch for a women. It is so great to me to see a guy with cats. Usually they are with dogs.

    • I HAVE CAT

      I agree! Thanks for being such a loyal fan Marg!

  • jmuhj

    Longtime admirer and fan of Janet and Co. And yes, I would never even consider a man as possible relationship material who didn’t love cats. In my background, men, women and children on both sides have always loved cats, rescued them, and shared life with them. What could be more natural? (pssst: Jackson, do you live anywhere near L.A.? lol)

    • I HAVE CAT

      He seems like a cool and sweet guy – hey, maybe he will visit NYC one day and I can meet him! I can’t wait to read his books! I will be sure to post reviews when I do!

  • I have always had serious doubts about people who don’t like animals, and do my best to avoid them.

    As to why should you have more than one cat and/or dog? Because there’s a serious overpopulation problem out there, and while you can’t save them all, you can certainly make the world a kinder place for a few. And certainly more entertaining (and warm and very fuzzy) for yourself!

  • My (now) wife says her cat Bitsy was an early-warning system. She would hiss and/or run away from some of the other guys she dated. Fortunately, I think Bitsy knew that I love cats … the first time I met her, she came right up to me for pets and scritches. Bitsy has since gone to the bridge, but we still have cats (and I still love them!). 🙂

    • I HAVE CAT

      awww, I love it! early warning system so cute! aww bitsy! sweet pee! bless her. yay for kitties! 🙂 Thanks for sharing!~

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  • Vanessa

    If you think it is difficult being a single man who loves cats, try being a single woman who loves domesticated rats. That will turn off even the most animal loving men.
    I love my pussycats too, and currently have three, and I can appreciate a man who is compassionate to our fellow beings.
    It speaks volumes that a man can accept a being with an independent nature because that means he might accept this independent natured being too.
    Lovely feline family you have.

    • I HAVE CAT

      oh my..you bring up a valid point Vanessa. Had never considered the Rat barrier for sure. In a weird way tho, you’d think that if cats = needy woman, then rats = not-needy. Once again, the double edge sword! i TOTALLY agree with you about a man who can accept an independent being!
      thanks for visiting Vanessa, and for taking the time to post – it REALLY means a lot!

    • I HAVE CAT

      Very interesting Vanessa. One one hand, one might think rats are more guy-friendly pets than cats?? Maybe it scare them? Men seem easily scared (at least most of them..and in my experience….but maybe that’s because I’m so loud?!).
      Wow, you have kitties AND rats? How do they get along? Or do you keep them apart?
      I AGREE with your insights into men who love cats and their ability to accept and appreciate independence 🙂

      • Vanessa

        The rat community consists of probably about 98% women. There are not many men who can muster up any compassion for rats. They usually react with a mixture of fear and disgust.
        I think so many women adore them because we are suckers for the underdog – and rats are the definition of underdog.
        The pussycats leave them alone while they are caged, and when they are out freeranging the pussycats are locked in the bedroom.

  • Any chance we could add cats to elections? Whoever wins an election attends an interview with half a dozen cats.

    If the majority don’t like him/her, s/he gets discarded. You can fool most of the people most of the time, but not cats!

    Another big plus: it’ll quickly reduce the size & cost of govt! Sooner or later, there will be hardly anyone left there 🙂

    • I HAVE CAT

      omg hysterical…let us know how that works out down-under and perhaps we can get Obama on board. So true about not being able to trick cats! they’re on to us!

  • Robyn Lynn Reichert

    You are amazing and will find that cat loving female in the not so distant future. Felines rock!

    • I HAVE CAT

      and by “you” I (sadly) assume you mean Tom Cox and not me, Tamar Arslanian!
      thanks for visiting Robyn, and for taking the time to write a comment!

    • I HAVE CAT

      He does seem like quite the catch doesn’t he! Maybe he will come to NYC someday soon! 🙂
      Thanks for visiting and commenting Robyn!

  • Tom

    Thanks for all the supportive and interesting comments, everyone! Much-appreciated. I’m hoping Under The Paw and Talk To The Tail might get published in the U.S. at some point. Do come over to the Under The Paw blog if you get a moment: http://littlecatdiaries.blogspot.com. You can also follow me on Twitter at http://twitter.com/tomcox75

    • I HAVE CAT

      Hi TOM! We are so excited to have you comment! Thanks again for letting us post your piece!

  • Jeremy

    He brings up a good point in regard to being recently single, male, and loving/owning cats. Some people seem to have this ridiculous view that cats are effeminate – some people think it’s strange: For example, if you are a guy and set up a profile on a dating site and said you love dogs, and had all sorts of pictures of you chillin out with your dog, or laying on the couch together – women universally seem to think that that is “cute” as well as “sensitive, in a manly way,” – but if you were to post the same thing with cats, only some women appreciate it – some would think it’s weird for some stupid reason (particularly many of the less educated, more traditional women)..

    I love my cats, they mean the world to me – it’s so cool having a little independent, soft, loving animals that live in my house that are also little predators (mine only hunt cat tos and laser beams, and daydream on the birds they see outside the window) – they make life so much better, and I don’t think I would want to be with a woman who doesn’t like cats.

    • I HAVE CAT

      Jeremy, you hit the nail on the head! why is it that Tigers and Lions are cool but not cats? They are for all intent and purposes, tiny lions and tigers! Right?! I don’t get it either. I agree that a man who can accept and love an independant being is a man I want to be with! Someone who accepts someone/thing for what they are and doesn’t require being looked up to and idolized 24/7!
      Thanks for writing!

  • Hi Tom,

    Pleased to meet yoo.

    We’re cats so naturally we wouldn’t like anyone hoo didn’t like cats! So if our hoomans were joining a dating site (which they’re not) we would snoopervise and DEFINITELY insist they put “Car Lover essential”!

    Milo and Alfie xx

    • I HAVE CAT

      Thanks for reading and commenting Milo and Alfie – I’m sure Tom will be happy to see your note!

  • I am back to read about the comments and your responses, some of which are very interesting and insightful.

    Do let us know at the CB’s autolinkies when you post. I’ll be back!

    • I HAVE CAT

      Thanks for visiting Momo! We will be sure to post linkies on CB!

  • I have found guys with cats are much more laid back and less controlling that guys who like dogs. Dogs can be trained – most cats can’t! My hubby says good night to all our cats individually every night – and we have lots of cats. That alone makes him worth keeping!!!
    Can’t wait to read Tom’s books. Love the pic with all the cats lined up eating!

  • Meow,

    Hello, we are the five cats belonging to Jeanne B. of the KnittyBanter blog. Please tell Tom that all five of us are VERY interested in meeting Tom’s four cats at some point in the future.

    We’ve discussed it, and we think it’s OK if Tom comes along, too, as our owner has been looking for a nice, well-bred cat-loving man for far too long. She’s given up on ever finding someone who will love us as much as he loves her, and we’re concerned about her. It’s quite a job for the five of us to give her all the love she needs. We could really use a little human help here.

    We promise to be nice to Tom’s furpeople, to share our catnip stash, and not hiss too much.

    Pawprinted by:
    Jake, Tyler, Zander, Ophelia and Sammy Blue

    PSSST—don’t tell her we were on teh computer

    • I HAVE CAT

      I promise i will not tel! I think that’s adorable that you have discussed it and think Tom is okay to come along…maybe i will slip him a note and let him know! I hear you re:finding the right person. I am in the same boat. You guys have quite the job! that’s sweet that you will share with Tom’s Furpeople – there would be 9 of you total you know! 🙂

  • Nice post. Cute cat.

  • According to our Mommy liking the smell of cat food is very weird the best she can say about catfood, is it doesn’t stink as much as it used to.

    Being as we are cats and a dog we thinks catfood smells divine.

    Mommy would never hide the fact that she has us, we makes her happy. And while Daddy might not admit to being our Daddy we are sure he would claim us as his cats and he might even claim THE DOG. Even though THE DOG is Mommy’s.

    • I HAVE CAT

      Awwwww sounds like you have a lovely Mommy and “Daddy” 🙂
      Thanks for visiting and posting your thoughts!

  • yes. that woman liking the smell of catfood is just plain weird.

    not to sound even weirder than the weirdwoman, but maybe she has some sort of iron deficiency… (catfood is usually superduperhigh in protein. and it’s actually why some dogs go digging through the litterbox for snacks…)

  • my mommeh says that guy is cute. me, i does not see it, i much prefer the blue eyes of my Lolo. anymew, the whole Crazy Cat Lady thing is totally out of controls, but it doesn’t stop my mommeh from telling peoples about us, even GUY peoples, cause they would has to find out soon anyways!

    • I HAVE CAT

      I agree – the guy peoples DO have to find out anyway. Thanks for stopping by AttieCattie! Look out for a new post soon. It’s been a long time..i have been very delinquent! Hope you forgives me!

  • This blog is delicious ! Thank you for your comment in my blog, I know you didn’t understand nothing and I have a google translator button but it sucks !! It’s the worst translation ever !!
    Your cats are absolutelly beautiful, my cat Pink fell in love with Petie, but she already has a virtual boyfriendcat…
    I’ll sign up for e-mail allerts, please I need more posts !!!

    • I HAVE CAT

      I don’t think my blog has been described as “Delicious” before – – i LOVE IT! Thanks so much Lais! Sorry it’s taken me so long to respond. As you might be able to tell, I’ve not been as present on my blog as in the past. Trying to rectify that! Thanks so much for stopping by and taking the time to post a comment!

  • OldCatsRule

    So… what’s his phone number? Is he coming to Stateside — or do you already have a lock on it? lol!

    • I HAVE CAT

      LOL! No “lock” my dear…no clue if he is coming to the US. I know he would like to get his book published here!

  • Cats are wonderful creatures and bring much joy to their owners – from small children to the elderly living on their own. They quickly become part of our family, in fact they think they own us!

    This post made me have a crush on tom.haha and would definitely grab his book and tell friends about them.

    I felt sorry for Bob. Had he had any say in this?
    and yes the bob part made me laugh.

    nice post!

    • I HAVE CAT

      I think all cat loving woman MUST have a crush on Tom after reading this post! 🙂
      I’ve always argued that the cat-loving man is best!

      WANTED: A MAN WHO LOVES PUSSY (CATS) http://ihavecat.wordpress.com/2009/10/18/catloving-men-are-best/

      Thanks for visiting Kathy and for taking the time to post! Hope you come back and read some of my other posts! Can’t wait to chekc out your blog! We also have a facebook page – come join the fun! http://www.facebook.com/ihavecat

  • Thank you as well. Posts like this are just nice to read. Worth coming back every time you feel like reading and blog hopping! =D

    I will add you on facebook too! Keep posting good articles. You inspire other blogger like me.

    • I HAVE CAT

      Aw thanks Kathy, that means a lot! Hopefully MY writing is half as good as Tom’s! Hope you sign up for email alerts and visit us on FACEBOOK!

  • GlamKitty

    What a great post! Thanks for giving me another cool blog to follow!

    True story: The only reason I agreed to go out with a particular fellow (my now-husband)–who called me up out of the blue (after getting my name from some friends)? He rambled on (and on) about the cat he’d grown up with… which let me know he was worth a shot! 🙂

    (Also, count me as another female with a little crush on Tom… ;))

    • I HAVE CAT

      Love that story! a BIG “awwww!”
      Tom needs to move stateside!

  • Lori LaRose

    I love cats. I have three. I rescued all of them and somewhere along the way, they rescued me. 😉

  • naturegirly

    LOVE IT! I’ve seen hundreds of posts of people who own multiple dogs with no negative comments. I’m so tired of people thinking it’s strange to love cats but not dogs. It’s not that I don’t like dogs. I’ve had and loved them too. It’s just that I get along better with cats for the most part. Has anyone else ever noticed that cat people seem to love everyone and every animal where as dog people only seem to tolerate the rest (and downright hate some) ???? LOL Anyway , I like this guy and I’m sure there are many women out there that understand a man with a good heart is the most valuable trait you could ask for. Bet his books are great! <3