Cats are aloof? No, we have misplaced ideas!

I’ll be honest. It irritates me to read descriptions of the domestic cat as “aloof”. The domestic cat is not aloof. People are (incorrectly) comparing cats to dogs and concluding that, in comparison, a cat is more independent and less needy than a dog.  People construe these attributes as being “aloof”. But do we describe the dog as a fawning, needy pet that slobbers over anyone in sight. No, of course not.

Aloof cat? No
Aloof cat? No. More friendly cat. Photo copyright Fofurasfelinas
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Once again, and I hate to go on about this, the idea that cats are aloof is really more about people’s misplaced perceptions and ideas than about the cat herself.

Yes, cats do have their own minds. They do like space sometimes. They do like a retreat high up or somewhere safe. Sometimes they cuddle up to you. Other times they don’t. This is normal and good. I could be describing your human partner not your cat!

As is often the case, our relationship with the cat comes down to our expectations and demands. We should not harbour false expectations. Neither should we make unreasonable demands on our cat. We should understand the cat, get into the mind of our cat (yes, it is possible) and accept all the attributes that a cat brings to the relationship.

I sense that the source of the aloof cat descriptions are often from people who are ambivalent about the cat or simply dislike the cat. The dislike often comes from a lack of understanding of cat behavior or a prejudice learned from various sources.

Unreasonable prejudices against the cat tend to go undiscussed. Prejudices are learned. They can be unlearned. Prejudices can lead to stating that cats are aloof.

The truth is that the modern day domestic cat has evolved into quite a sociable animal. They make friends with other cats other animals (dogs most often) and people. Each cat has his own character just like people. We should get to know it and respect it. This is acceptance, the cornerstone of a good relationship with anyone or any animal.

Cats are not aloof. They are themselves. Individuals with their own character. The cat is a sociable companion. People just have to discover that quality and put aside misplaced ideas.

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11 thoughts on “Cats are aloof? No, we have misplaced ideas!”

  1. I would say that aloof is the exact opposite of my Ozzie! I come home from work to be greeted by him running down the stairs at me chirruping his greetings! Alfie tries to jump into my arms after hypnotising me first to catch him by staring intently at me 🙂 Cats are aloof because you spend no time with them and because you don’t play with them or talk to them or quite often because you don’t understand them.

    • Well said Leah. People who are unsure about cats or who dislike them generalise and stereotype cat behavior. This is careless and wrong. It is like saying all Englishman are reserved. Rubbish. Some of us a cat mad 😉

    • Ye exactly well put Leah – the less you put into the relationship the less you get out – people who put nothing in are bound to never understand cats and they will always see them as aloof.

      And consider this massive irony.

      Look at all the fashion video and photography out there that promotes the aloof look as being cool.

      Humans are just messed up ignorant fools really. If aliens came here they would probably tip toe straight back out as quickly as possible when they saw how confused and destructive and incompetent we are as a species.

      • Look at all the fashion video and photography out there that promotes the aloof look as being cool.

        That is a very enlightened point that did not occur to me at all. It means that people demand that the cat be super friendly and if not the cat is aloof. It is about the companion animal being a product to meet demands of companionship. People who call the cat aloof demand that the cat plays a role. This is a reflection on the relationship some have with the cat.

        Thanks Marc for that insight.

  2. Great commentary, Michael. I am so glad that you put up another page on this topic, b/c we know that it is too irritatingly true. And I have no patience with it either. You said it so well. “do we describe the dog as a fawning, needy pet that slobbers over anyone in sight”? That sums it up perrfectly!

    I have to tell you this, because it’s never happened before: Marco(Polo) is now just about five mos. old. I was defrosting some milk in the microwave (I buy and freeze extra when it goes on sale, but as it warmed up today–52F!hurray–I had to take it out of the car where I store it). While my back was turned, Marco jumped all the way into the MW and was just sitting there, staring unblinkingly at me. oh my! I wanted to take a picture before I grabbed him, but who on PoC would appreciate such an image! lol. It reminded me of the movie “Gremlins,” only in this case, Marco Polo is the gremlin. He is always off on an adventure. I don’t even let my cats sit in front of the microwave when it’s running.

  3. If we say cats are aloof then we must say humans are aloof too, because we choose our own time to be sociable and if we don’t feel like it then we keep to ourselves. But the difference is sometimes even though we resent having to be sociable we still do it where as cats are brave and honest enough to let us know when they want to be left alone.
    It’s daft to expect cats to always want fussing over, they sometimes feel the need of a bit of peaceful time just ‘being’ and they have every right to do that.
    People who don’t like cats have never tried to understand them. I’ve met two people in my life, one male, one female, who were wary about cats because they didn’t actually know any personally, they soon changed their mind when they got to know the cats we had at that time.


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