Caitlin Moran is a celebrated Times journalist. She is the current columnist of the year. Caitlin Moran has come out. She has declared to the world in the Saturday magazine that “it’s taken me 9 years to admit it but: I am a cat hater. I hate my cat”. No doubt she is being deliberately provocative but I sense truthfulness. She won’t mind, therefore, if I defend her cat and cats generally.
She says that everyone loves cats. I’m afraid you have got off to a bad start Caitlin because that is incorrect, regrettably. There are many people who hate cats and that’s all right as long as they don’t hurt them because of their hatred. It is that which worries me.
Caitlin says that if there’s a bust up on Twitter or indeed anywhere people make peace by beginning to discuss the domestic cat. What about Grumpy Cat or cats wearing hats, or a cat jumping into and out of boxes, or kittens falling off things – these are a few of the world’s favorite things!? They create peace and harmony amongst humans. But after 9 years she says that she has learned to hate one of her cats and explains why.
She has two cats, which she adopted 9 years ago from Battersea Dogs & Cats Home. Of course, when she adopted them she liked them a lot. One of her cats is Betty and it is Betty that she has learned to hate. She says “Betty – the s*** cat – was beautiful, yet oddly cold and dim”. She describes Betty as demanding attention as if she was entitled to it arguing that a rescue cat should not feel entitled to attention. Caitlin, I wonder whether you are anthropomorphizing the domestic cat?! It looks very much like it to me, but that is not the only thing you are doing wrong. Sorry but I think it needs to be said.
Caitlin complains that Betty fawns over visitors, pushing her face into theirs even though they’re about to get divorced and therefore emotionally stressed and/or they are allergic to cats. She says that when Betty does this she reeks of nobbishness (I believe this word means demonstrating moronic behavior). More anthropomorphizing am afraid. Her cat is just being friendly. How does she know the person is getting divorced 😉 .
She believes that Betty considers herself very sexy with tiny white paws and big, green, mesmerizing eyes but that she has started to bully their other cat, Clothy, who is plain and less sexy. Okay, Betty is bullying her sister and her sister became stressed. She became morose and put on weigh – turning into a goth. She says that she became like herself (Caitlin Moran has a naturally goth appearance). Caitlin describes the way she was bullied by Rachel Farrow at school and therefore can relate to Betty’s bullying of Clothy! More anthropomorphizing, I am afraid Caitlin.
Caitlin also complains that Betty is very stupid because she does not understand the simplest of things. Caitlin provides an example. Every morning, over the preceding 9 years, Betty has come into the bedroom and jumped on the bed. Betty then kneads Caitlin’s face to elicit milk. We know that kittens knead mother’s nipple to encourage the flow of colostrum. Cats do this to their caretaker because they relate to their caretaker as their mother. Caitlin does not like this and has pushed her off the bed.
Caitlin objects to the fact that Betty has never learned the simple fact that her face cannot produce milk and therefore concludes that she is stupid. Not only is Caitlin once again anthropomorphizing her cat, she fails to grasp the fact that Betty is not expecting milk but is simply instinctively relating to her human caretaker as her mother, a cat, and it is a sign of affection and closeness, ultimately. Therefore, to push her away, apparently fairly violently (“even as she is flying through the air”), can only serve to alienate Betty and perhaps make her more in need of reassurance which may indeed encourage that which Caitlin dislikes in terms of needy behavior.
In another example of Betty’s behavior, which infuriates Caitlin, she says that her cat likes to dip her paw into any drink that she has prepared for herself such as tea, water, milk or gin. For 9 years Betty has been “pursued a policy of cold, calculating bespoilment towards them”. More anthropomorphizing.
We know cats like to flick water from water bowls and what Caitlin is experiencing is exactly that. We are not quite sure why cats like to do this but it is very commonplace. It is something that a good cat caretaker should be prepared to put up with otherwise don’t adopt a cat.
In another example of Betty’s irritating behavior, when her sister, Clothy, came back from the vet, Betty hissed at her for two weeks. Caitlin complains that Betty behaved in a high-handed manner claiming that her behaviour in hissing at her sister was because Betty felt affected by what had happened (i.e. selfish behavior). Caitlin complained that Betty was behaving selfishly in not thinking about her sister’s feelings etc. after a major operation.
She describes Betty as a “vapid, self-centred, tuna-smelling hate-tube”. Caitlin as a Times journalist writes very nicely as you can tell by her language but I’m afraid she’s got this completely wrong because the reason why Betty hissed at her sister was because her sister smelt differently and to Betty she temporarily became a strange cat; an alien cat who had invaded her territory. Domestic cats recognize other cats through their smell and of course sight but smell is the major means of identification. Perhaps if Caitlin had used a damp cloth to wipe Clothy’s coat it would have removed the smell of the veterinary surgery, antiseptic solutions, and the vet’s hands and restored harmony much sooner.
Lastly, Caitlin complains that her cat defecates in her back garden. Caitlin is, it appears, a proud gardener and quite good at it. She complains bitterly that her cat goes to the loo in her garden and even looks at her when she’s doing it in a challenging way. I wonder why Caitlin has not provided Betty with a cat litter and trained her to use it? This last irritating behavioral trait appears to be in the hands of Caitlin, herself, to fix.
I have two final points to make: I am making a presumption that Caitlin Moran is writing in a serious vein and not writing a spoof of some sort and I believe that Caitlin knows all the points I have made about cat behavior but has deliberately ignored them.