Will Cats Eventually Replace Husbands?

Karl Lagerfeld wants to marry his cat Choupette

From Elisa Black-Taylor

You may laugh at the title, but don’t think it can’t happen to you. This article is going to be fun, with a bit of research thrown in for good measure.

First of all, let me say my daughter’s daddy once said to me “It’s either me or the cats”. He’s not the first husband to make that remark. I’ve heard from several cat ladies who have given up their relationships in favor of cats. One man, whom I met while purchasing cat food, asked me “just how long will that new cat I got my wife, live?” You should have seen the look on his face when I told him 20-25 years if well cared for.

I was tempted to tell him the cat would likely outlast his marriage, seeing that more than half of marriages fail.

Cats are better than spouses for several reasons (this may be true for men out there who prefer cats to women). First of all, they don’t complain. Well, maybe sometimes, but they use a kinder method of making their needs known. Cats also don’t fuss when you wake them in the middle of the night to tell them you love them. They’re most likely up playing in the middle of the night, anyway.


Have you loved a cat more than a person?


When you feed a cat, it doesn’t tell you its not hungry, wants something different or the food wasn’t correctly prepared. It may turn up its nose and walk away from the food bowl, but a cat won’t verbally abuse you over a meal. And yes, I’ve sent a few spoons flying towards men who didn’t appreciate my cooking. Never had to throw a spoon at a cat.

I’ve been thinking about this topic for awhile now, and decided to write on it when I stumbled across a study conducted by Dennis C. Turner, PD, ScD. Dennis will be among the presenters at the International Association of Human-Animal Interaction Organizations’ conference to be held in Chicago in conjunction with the AVMA from July 19-23.

As it turns out, Dennis has done a lot of research into cat behavior. During his research, Dennis learned that cats are more effective than dogs in easing symptoms in depressed individuals, especially women. He believes cats accept the amount of love a person is willing to give. Cats are more careful in approaching a depressed person and more likely to stick around longer that a dog would. Dogs are about “me” time, while cats are more willing to offer comfort.

We all knew that already, didn’t we? Dennis has also co-authored a book with Paul Bateson that you all may be interested in. It’s called The Domestic Cat:the Biology of its Behavior (3rd edition). There’s a lot of new information in this new edition and its available on Amazon. If you Google “amazon The Domestic Cat:the Biology of its Behavior” you see the book listed.

I feel much better about the decision to share my life with cats instead of a partner after reading this is becoming the norm. Here I was thinking I was a crazy cat lady recluse. It’s nice to know there are quite a few like me who have chosen to share their life with cats instead of a significant other.

Hmmm…I wonder if any studies have been done on successful businesswomen who share their life with a cat? So much less “brain clutter” at work when your cat is the love of your life. Not true when you’re in a relationship.

I am curious about one thing. Do any of you have a significant other who’s ever given you an ultimatum between them or your pet? I went through the same experience with my dog Dreyfuss, where I was given an ultimatum. Back in 2006, I decided to keep the dog and lose the man.

Elisa

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Will Cats Eventually Replace Husbands? — 38 Comments

  1. Cats already do replace husbands. Let’s not forget cats replacing wives too 😉

    We can’t be sexist you know….

    Karl Lagerfeld answered your question. I think a lot of women have decided to give up looking for a husband and settled on a cat instead.

    There are more good cats than good men – dare I say that? I can I guess.

    • I am on the verge of making the choice myself. It’s not that she doesn’t like cats, she loves them, but it’s just that I like the way things are with my cats and don’t want more. I am satisfied. I don’t want to lose the time I spend with them being in a relationship. Relationship is like a full time job when you get home from work and although it often goes fine it’s still a job and it still takes your time. When it goes badly that is another worse thing. I am not sure what I will do but what I am sure of is that I love my cats and I love to spend time with them and when I go to bed I like to play with the ipad with them and give them their daily biscuits. It is a habit and ritual that I have come to need in my life in order to feel stable. I have never felt this stable in any human relationship. In a human relationship you can’t even be sure that you will be in a good mood when you go to bed because you are at the whim of another person. Obviously human relationships can go well but lets face it, you don’t have much time for the cats if you are holding up a job and a human relationship.

      I have to make a choice pretty soon and I am scared to jeopardize what I have now. Also, I don’t feel lonely so I’m not motivated to live with another human anyway.

      • You summed this up exactly. A relationship is a full time job and you can only be as happy as the most miserable person in the relationship. You don’t have to worry about what mood your cat is in when you get home from work. You don’t have to worry about your cat starting an argument over petty crap. I really think if you do a study on successful people you’ll find they have a cat rather than a relationship.

        I mentioned to Laura the other night on how my ex who died would have been so proud of my writing. She told me my writing would never have happened because he’d have kept my mind too screwed up to concentrate.

  2. My husband started to get in the bed the other night and there was a cat on his pillow… He went to the other room.. I said, ” Why are you not sleeping with me tonight?” He said, ” I couldn’t disturb the cat”. True!

    • Pretty well sums it all up. We should not be too sentimental about human, male/female relationships. In the end it is about functionality and if cats have their say they can take precedence. Thanks for sharing Elisabeth.

    • Oh, you both are two lucky spouses to have found each other. That same adoration towards the cat. You just made my night so much better!

  3. My cats are more like the kids I didn’t have. There are some cat-loving men around who are pretty good guys but sometimes we expect too much from the poor dears. Cats let you know what you see is what you get but what you get is so wonderful you should darn well be grateful.

  4. Elisa, only boyfriends; not husband (well, would you marry him otherwise?)
    And shame on you! for telling him in the checkout lane that the cat would live more than four…keep him sweet-talking and playing with the little feline, while vacillating btwn his affection for his wife and her little baby, thinking that she will only live to be four yrs. He just might end up seeing all of those endearing feline qualities and nuances that only a cat has! (and THEN the cat can live to be ninety-one.)

    But, you truly must keep making those remarks when purchasing cat ‘fud’ (remember the dryer door with the sign that the family dog made?–Gary Larsen?) 😉

  5. Its bizarre , strange and true which psychologists in Mumbai would find difficult to reason. Three of India’s most famous women model/Actors who were also avid cat owners committed suicide over the last few years, all of them in the prime of their youth .The reasons being failed “Love affairs” as claimed by the media.Why weren’t these suicidal young ladies didn’t find solace in their pets or animal welfare activities. The latest to commit suicide in Mumbai was 25 year old actress Jiah (Nafisa). Khan who is an Indian of British origin having been bred in New York and London. She was the owner of some stray cats and a avid animal activist. I personally feel that besides owning or caring for pets every human requires a strong human bonding with another human or a group of fellow humans to ward off depression.I must have opened a Pandora’s box of debate.

    • Very interesting, Rudolph. It seems that these cat lovers were more sensitive to the failings of humankind or just more intelligently sensitive generally. They appear to have found the human world intolerable. There are probably other things going on. I think I will look into this. Of course they left behind their beloved cats.

  6. I don’t think cats will ever replace husbands but purr-sonally I’m much happier since I stopped worrying about being single like I did when I was younger.
    Being an animal lover and activist is a hard road to follow and I know quite a few people who have ‘burned out’ through caring so much about animals because it seems however much we do to fight abuse and save them, it’s never enough.
    Every day horror stories come up about animals hurt or killed by cruel people in various ways and it seems hopeless that anything will ever change because there are not enough people to care enough.
    Cats can actually help a person with depression, ours did so for me more than any human could have.
    Maybe the young ladies committing suicide just couldn’t face living in this world any longer, maybe their love affairs went wrong because of their care about animals, true animal lovers put their animals and activism first, maybe their men friends thought the animals had more attention than they did.
    People who don’t care about animals don’t understand those who do.

    • I agree that cats won’t replace husbands generally but they can stand in the shoes, metaphorically, of any human companion very effectively. I’ll look into these stories Rudolph has mentioned and see if I can find out what is going on.

      The fact that people who care about animals and fight for them can become burnt out indicates that there is so much to do to help animals. I really fail to truly understand why humankind is so badly behaved in general with respect to animals. It is very uncivilized behavior. We are not yet civilised. We might even be going backwards.

    • I don’t worry much about being single anymore. Between a full time job and writing roughly 4 articles a day and finding time to hold the cats after work, there’s no time left for a relationship. I’m happy than I ever was in a relationship. I guess my relationship is with the cats.

      • I think for some people they gradually come to realise that the best companion is a cat and animals. They sort of give up on a human companion. There are a lot of people like that. They are good people.

  7. A bit about the image at the top of the page:

    How much do you love your cat? You have to be very honest with yourself. I ask because Karl Lagerfield loves his cat, Choupette, so much he would marry her if he could. He is genuinely very concerned about her well being. When Choupette became ill he could not wait until the morning. He made arrangements for a vet to come out in the middle of the night. He did for peace of mind. He has the money. It does show real concern though.

    Choupette is described by the newspapers as a Siamese cat. In fact, the Mail (UK) describes her as a “white Siamese”. That is meaningless description. Largerfield, himself, says she is “snow white with touches of caramel around the eyes, ears and on her endless boa-tike feather tail”. This is not a Siamese cat. Siamese cats do not have plumed tails and semi-long hair.

  8. My partner of a few yrs now is not an ailurophile, nor adorer of cats, but has done more for my cat Shrimp than anybody else in my past history with men and my cats.
    Well, he surprised me, the first time I saw him holding a piece of turkey breast in his mouth, sitting on my couch, and Shrimp (who was still kittenish) jumped onto his lap and tentatively climbed up his chest and gently took the turkey. wow. And when we moved, Shrimp went missing for a week, even though I was so careful not to let him go outside without me. B. put up flyers that he had hand-Sharpied to show that Shrimp was blind in his left eye (it’s actually opaque). He got the wrong eye, but bless his heart! I had my beloved Shrimpie back… a mystery to this day. Returned alley-side from the passenger side of a dark small car, and of course I was standing out in the dark facing the opened back gate, when he leaped out and ran straight into my arms. It brings tears to my eyes, even now.

  9. My cats gave me far more affection and companionship than my former husband or subsequent partners. The cats’ love was unconditional. They don’t care if their person is fat or thin, socially adept or introverted. Cats don’t emotionally blackmail their people or nag their person to change. Every time I’ve had to choose, I’ve chosen in favour of the cats. Male company is fine on occasion, but I prefer feline companionship. Besides, I understand cats much better than I understand men!

    • Well, if Sarah Hartwell writes that, it should be read and digested ; )

      I tend towards the same conclusion but in reference to the opposite sex. That is not to criticise women. It is a criticism of the male/female human relationship.

      The cat/human relationship is more sensible, objective and stable. There is no baggage or preconceptions if you like cats. It is just the way it is. The relationship with a cat is much more straightforward and simplified. This makes it stronger. I love that.

      • We could get into the whole discussion of cats don’t booze/gamble/have affairs/criticise your tastes/leave dirty washing on the bedroom floor etc… However, despite their smaller size, a cat seems to take up the same amount of space in the bed as a human partner!

        I think likening it to marriage is metaphorical to describe the degree of attachment and interdependence though. One great benefit is that you can tell your cat all sorts of personal things and s/he isn’t going to gossip to others or vengefully post it Facebook.

        • Well said..

          However, despite their smaller size, a cat seems to take up the same amount of space in the bed as a human partner!

          That is a topic for an article because I know all about that. Charlie completely hogs the bed. I won’t go on but he takes more space than a human and I am not sure why. I think the problem with Charlie is that he wants to be next to me for warmth. I want a bit of space. Those two desires result in me being pushed towards the edge 😉

          • With Kitty on one side & Minns on the other side I get squashed in between them. It’s very reassuring. Both snore, sometimes loudly.

            • I have little cat-dog Cujo on my stolen bed pillow, then my cat Lucky is laying on top of my head on my pillow. Renny comes and goes. He could be anywhere, including chasing Lucky. I have to tie a nightgown around my eyes because I’m afraid of getting my eyes raked by claws during one of their 4am chases in the bedroom

              • Some years back with 3 cats, cat 1 liked to be tucked up against my belly under the duvet, cat 2 was wrapped round the top of my head and cat 3 liked to sleep on my hip. A nice cosy sleep heap of purring, whiffling, twitching paws and the smell of warm fur.

            • Don’t know how you get to sleep. Charlie makes a lot of gurgling and snoring sounds. He is quite noisy at times. When he is snoozing he makes a particular sound that advertises the fact he is snoozing. It is as if he is saying, “I am snoozing, leave me alone…”.

          • That’s interesting, Michael. I used to sleep with Oliver, Lucky, Luna, Shrimp and Michael all enveloping me in the nest that they created, every night. I did not dare move. Maybe this caused me not to sleep soundly, but I don’t think so. I believe it helped me sleep more soundly. Especially being enveloped in a purr “massage.” 🙂 Their snoring drowned out the night noises that might have disturbed me otherwise. I miss it! 🙂 [you are all probably zonked out over there in England…sweet dreams!]

  10. I know this was a long time ago. Its so true. I’ve found Relationships are so much harder these days. Its hard enough just to look after me. I definitely agree Cats are so much better than having someone else. If i ever have to live alone again it would not be a problem. Good article by the way. I do think cats will be our partners in crime lol. I miss the times when i was by myself. Even though i do get time to myself now. If it was financially hard it wouldn’t be a problem. I agree Cats are wonderful Therapists and my lot always know when im Sad and struggling. They curl up and come close.

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