Artists Like Cats Soldiers Like Dogs
Society of Feline Artists - artists like cats - photo by The Painted Cat
This page explains the quote, Artists Like Cats Soldiers Like Dogs made by Desmond Morris. It is a quote that is well quoted on the internet. Although I am sure that the answer is out there, in the ether that is the internet, somewhere, I am yet to find an explanation as to why he said it. Yet I do not have to surf the web to find the answer as it is on page 3 (sort of) of Cat Watching, his renown book.
You might well, and probably do, know the answer. The practical division of labour in prehistoric times between male and female human resulted in the male hunter and the female child bearer and gatherer. These were and still are the extreme ends of a wide ranging spectrum of characters both female and male.
Successful hunting required a team effort. And a team of male humans is very similar to a pack of wild African dogs hunting down the proud lion with success 🙂
The two are aligned with each other. The male team player knows the in and outs of team work and leadership and is more in harmony therefore with the dog, the ancestor of the wolf. The soldier is the ultimate team player sacrificing individuality for the sake of his fellow soldiers.
Conversely the self-sufficient and individual female aligns herself with the solitary feline felis silvestris catus, the domestic cat. But in reference to the quote, many artist are of course males. Yes, but all artists are at the opposite end of the spectrum to the pack animal, who being a team player cannot be an individual and therefore cannot be an artists who has to be original, unique and different if he or she is to succeed.
So, artists like cats because of their individuality and self-sufficiency while soldiers, the archetypal unthinking team player who sacrifices individuality for the sake of the team, prefers the ultimate pack animal the dog.
I prefer cats because I am a person who rejects the status quo, the conventional. This supports the argument above.
Many artists lived with and painted their cats – Cats in Paintings.