There are many reasons why some people hate cats. All the reasons can be turned around by education, understanding and tolerance. In other words the reasons are often false and cat hating is often based upon misconceptions and a lack of education about cat behaviour. However, some reasons are intractable.
Many people have misconceptions about domestic cats. They may have been brainwashed as children by their parents who also disliked cats. Many people who hate cats don’t even know why they hate them because the reason goes back to when they were small children. But one clear reason is misconceptions about cat behaviour.
You might find cat haters saying that cats have “evil eyes” and sinister faces. They have faces which do not give away what they’re feeling and thinking. Visually cats can look sinister to some people (who fear them). This may be reinforced by the fact that they are active at night and there are still superstitions about cats.
This brings me to superstitions. They still exist as mentioned. People are still frightened of black cat walking in front of them. This goes back to mediaeval times and cats being the companions of witches. On the African continent superstition regarding cats is still very prevalent and it leads to cat cruelty. These superstitions can lead to cat hating.
Another reason why people hate cats is because they believe that they are not loyal like dogs. And the human likes obedience from animals. There is this superiority complex by humans. They see animals as lesser creatures than themselves and therefore they want them to be obedient. The domestic cat resolutely rejects obedience and people who are more needy than others and require reassurances from others find this disobedient unacceptable. It irritates them and can lead to hating cats.
Fear of cats
Then of course there is the bad experience as a child which causes a fear of cats which lasts throughout the person’s life or well into adulthood sometimes. This is ailurophobia. It is an irrational fear of cats. They can be cured by being desensitised to the presence of cats. You do this by gradually introducing cats to the person in very small baby steps until they become acclimatised to the presence and lose their fear. So this aspect of cat hating is as a result of a mental health condition which is curable.
Domestic cats are more subtle than domestic dogs. Their behaviour can lead to misconceptions. It is important that people understand domestic cat and when you do you learn to love them. A lot of cat hating is due to misunderstandings and a lack of education or to put it more bluntly ignorance about domestic cat behaviour. For example a lot of people who hate cats probably don’t think that they feel pain and experience emotions. This is why they are able to abuse cats and are psychopathic towards cats. The more you understand cats and how they feel and bond with their human companions and provide wonderful companionship the more you lose any propensity towards hating them.
Furniture and the home
Another reason is far more practical. People who dislike cats see them as creatures who destroy furniture in the home, shed fur all over the place and are generally messy creatures who mess up the home. Perhaps these people set very high standards about orderliness and tenderness in the home and cats destroy their objectives. Of course dogs are messy as well so perhaps these people dislike dogs and cats.
To return briefly to “disobedience”. Yes, cats are more independent minded. They seem to do as they please sometimes because they originate from a solitary wild cat species. Theye are not pack animals and don’t look to their leader for leadership. Cats are less needy when compared to dogs. And people like their pets to be needy because it massages their ego. But cats can be trained and they are not automatically disobedient. It depends upon the relationship between them and their human companion. The closer the bonding the more you will find that the domestic cat comes to their owner and responds to requests, routines and human body language. The cat hater distances themselves from these advantages. It is a self generating problem. If a person hates cats their response and interactions with the cat will promote further hatred. And the converse holds true. If you love a cat you start understanding the beauty of their companionship.
People tend to anthropomorphise their pets. They relate them as little humans and family members. This is partly good and partly bad. But if you see a domestic cat as a little person you might see them as disobedient children which may irritate you. You need to interact with domestic cats as another species of animal with quite different characteristics to those of humans. Learn about them, understand them and you will see that there is no need to hate them.
Another cat characteristic that causes problems is that domestic cat are, in general, active at night or at dawn and dusk. They are out of step in terms of their body clock with humans. This causes disruption to the lives of humans who, if they are sensitive to this, or intolerant of it, might cause them to dislike cats. There needs to be give-and-take between human and cat. They need to be treated as equals in the home but related to as a different species of animal.
Predation on wildlife
It feels like that there is a world campaign against wondering domestic and stray cats and of course feral cats. They prey on native species and other wildlife such as small mammals and birds. In Australia they prey a lot more on reptiles. In short the native species found on continents like Australia are threatened by the predation of domestic and feral cats. This causes people to hate them because they are expressing speciesism. People sometimes prefer one animal over another. In this case, in Australia, a lot of people including the authorities rank native Australian species over feral cats which were introduced to the continent by people hundreds of years ago. Feral cats are present in Australia because of the carelessness of people but now they are hated by the descendants of those people.
Spread of disease
The perceived spreading of disease by stray and feral cats causes some people to hate them. Of the diseases you should include toxoplasmosis. A lot has been written about toxoplasmosis and once again there are misconceptions about it. There have also been articles in the media about Toxoplasma gondii oocysts being transferred from the land to the sea in drainage systems where it infects marine wildlife. The point is that a lot of people see cats as spreading disease. In fact local authorities in many parts of America perceive the feeding of feral cats as a route to spreading disease amongst the community in general. This is why local laws are made affecting feral cats. Or there are attempts to create laws which for example prevents the feeding of feral cats. Sometimes administrators within local authorities dislike or even hate cats for these reasons.
On a more personal level neighbours sometimes hate cats for coming onto their property i.e. trespassing which doesn’t apply to domestic cats, and crapping on flowerbeds and peeing on patios. Or sitting on beautiful cars, their pride and joy. So you can get neighbourly disputes because their neighbor’s cat wanders into their back garden and they can do nothing about it under the law. The wanderings of domestic cats on to other people’s properties causes people who do not own cats to hate them because they mess up their back gardens.
One guy who hated cats was transformed by the presence of two kittens, “All the reasons he hated cats have disappeared with the arrival of Nala and Phoebe”. It was like flicking a switch. It can be that simple sometimes to go from hate to love.