Criticising people who hate cats (Part 1)

I’ve decided to do a series of posts in which I criticise people who hate cats. I do this by addressing the reasons why they hate cats and explaining why their reasoning is wrong. In doing that I am criticising them because their thinking is incorrect and illogical.

The idea came from a post I made in 2008 along the same lines which was very successful and which is on a blog site. You can read that post if you like by clicking on this link.

In this critique I address the reasons why a Reddit.com user hates cats. It comes from a sub-Reddit (a category for discussion) called r/catfree.

I don’t know if the person is male or female but it doesn’t matter. You can see the post at the base of this article. I will make a presumption that this is a female to make it easier to write about her.

Reddit user vents on why they hate cats
Reddit user vents on why they hate cats. I address her reasons for hating cats and in doing so I criticise here.
Until September 7th I will give 10 cents to an animal charity for every comment. It is a way to help animal welfare without much effort at no cost. Comments help this website too, which is about animal welfare.

I will use her words in quotes and then comment on them immediately afterwards.

“It’s scary to be a cat hater on the Internet because people suddenly harass you and act like you’re the worst person to ever exist.”

I think that’s a bit harsh. It implies that she feels like an outsider on the Internet with her cat hating. If that’s true then it means that the majority of people on the Internet don’t really understand why people hate cats and that there are more cat lovers than cat haters or those that are neutral towards cats on the Internet. Don’t forget that the word “hate” is a very strong word.

At the outset I think it needs to be said that some people don’t know why they hate cats but they try and find a reason. This person is in that bracket I would suggest because she goes on to say that “I also can’t explain exactly why I hate them”. This would imply to me that she is frightened of cats but doesn’t admit it. A lot of people have an irrational fear of cats which is ailurophobia. They may have had a nasty experience when they were young but sometimes ailurophobia can be mixed up with what they believe is a rational hatred of cats. Clearly if you fear cats you will hate them. But this, I stress, is irrational and it’s a form of illness that can be cured by gradual desensitisation.

If you fear something you will dislike that thing whatever it is. In fact there’s an argument that when humans fear something they end up killing it but that’s a philosophical issue which I won’t discuss here.

I think judging by the words in quotes she has a personal problem with being disliked or perhaps she might have a self-esteem problem. She feels as if she is hated in hating cats and that it is unjust. She should have the confidence to simply state her feelings and not feel attacked.

“I hate that they kill chickens, birds and other small wildlife and eat food that is not theirs”

Well, this is about domestic and stray cat predation of animals. It is the raison d’être of cats: to kill, to hunt. It’s how evolution made them. You can’t hate them for it particularly if you take into account the fact that humans kill far more animals than all the cats on the planet. Humans probably kill by a factor of 1000 more animals than cats. So if she hates cats for killing animals that she should hate humans doing the same thing.

This woman is anthropocentric meaning the world revolves around humans with little regard for animals. And the comment that cats eat food that is not theirs is bizarre to say the least. Cats can have no ownership rights in anything. They don’t have the capacity under human law to own anything. And therefore to say that they eat food that isn’t theirs is entirely wrong.

“I hate that theirpoop smells bad, even worse than dogs’ or human poop does.”

Wrong. There is no scientific evidence which supports her assertion that cat poop smells worse than human poop. I have no idea where she got that idea from. It may come from the fact that she never really smells human poop and is guessing. She is probably smelling the poop produced by the stray cats that she sees of which there are many she says. But she won’t and doesn’t have the opportunity to compare cat poop smell with human poop smell because humans go to the toilet and there poop is submerged in water almost immediately whereas stray cat poop is there out in the open. Her thinking is irrational on this topic. Also some of these stray cats might be ill which may affect their digestion and poop. If that is the case they deserve sympathy not criticism as they were put in that position by careless humans.

“I also hate that they can claw and bite you, even without provocation”.

Yes, domestic cats can use their weapons against people. A known fact. But from the cat’s perspective, there is always a good reason for it. Cats don’t attack people without provocation. The motivation will often be defensive. Stray cats are inherently fearful of people and that fear provokes a defensive reaction which is to strike out with claws. This is a good reason and is not biting or clawing a person without provocation. It is up to the person to understand cats better. To understand that they are fearful of strangers and avoid being scratched or bitten by behaving respectfully, accordingly.

“I could never imagine loving a pet so ungrateful and entitled despite you providing a shelter, feeding it food and buying toys.”

She is criticising domestic cats for being ungrateful and ‘entitled’. I think she’s wrong again. It is part of the human-to-cat relationship that the human provides for the domestic cat and in return, the cat, by their presence, is a companion to that person. Their primary role today is companionship. The initial domestic cat role was to keep down rodent populations. But the companionship is very strong and very important to humans living alone. This is their way of showing their gratitude. It’s not a deliberate expression of gratitude. We can’t expect that from an animal. But cats are very reliable. They are ever present. They lick you and rub up against you. These are signs of friendship and therefore indirectly gratitude.

“I also hate how cats are vengeful and don’t understand the word ‘No'”.

Vengeful? Domestic cats are not vengeful. She is getting mixed up between cats and people. It is people who can be vengeful but not cats. They don’t know the meaning of the word or the behaviour. This is anthropomorphising cats. And not understanding the word “No”, would seem to be wrong as well. You don’t have to say ‘No’ to a cat that is asking for food. You simply don’t give your cat food and quite soon the cat will go away and do something else. And in any case, the word ‘No’ is part of the English language. Domestic cats don’t understand English language. They understand sounds and human body language and human behaviour as signals as a form of communication with them. You can train your cat to respond to the sound of the word “No”. But this lady didn’t do that. That’s her problem.

“I also hate that cat lovers keep telling others that cats choose their owners”.

If you go to a shelter then shelter cats sometimes do tend to choose their owners. These are the cats who come forward because they are more confident. If they are allowed to they come up to the potential adopter and they might sit on their lap or rub up against them. This is the cat ‘choosing’ their owner. There’s nothing wrong or strange about that. It’s just the behaviour of a rescue cat wishing to interact with a person and in doing so they tell the potential adopter that this is a friendly cat and a cat that is going to be a good companion. Cats do choose their owners not in a deliberate act; a rational act. This is not rational feline behaviour but instinctive feline behaviour when seeking attention of a potential adopter. Shelter cats might sometimes learn that people wandering by are potential adopters because they come by their cages and they know that these people can sometimes take cats away. Away from the shelter which is not a great place to be for a cat.

“‘You have to earn the cat’s affection’- like for real, I think it’s insulting”.

She doesn’t like it when cat lovers say that you have to earn a cat’s affection. I don’t understand her. You have to earn the affection of a person. You have to demonstrate to a person who you might like that you are worthy of their affection and love. In effect, you have to earn a human’s affection through your behaviour. There is no difference between doing that with a person and doing it with a cat. It’s particularly important for a cat because the default mentality of a domestic cat vis-à-vis a stranger is that they are fearful of them. This is instinctive and understandable defensive behaviour. And therefore you have to surmount that barrier which is earning their affection.

“And how dare cats be compared to actual human kids”.

Well, domestic cats are often compared with human kids and they are often related to as kids i.e. as members of the family. This is fine provided you respect the cat as a cat with feline behaviour and don’t try and shoehorn feline behaviour into human behaviour. There’s nothing wrong in comparing cats with kids. They behave a bit like kids. This is about anthropocentrism by which I mean people tend to think they are superior to cats. It’s also about speciesism, once again thinking that some animals are more worthy than another animals. In this instance I am referring to the human as a human-animal which is exactly what we are. So I would criticise her for being anthropocentric.

Finally, she doesn’t like cat lovers who push their “cat-loving craziness on others”. If a cat lover is doing that then I would agree with her. I don’t think cat lovers should push their love of cats on others. We are all different. What I hope is that anybody who dislikes cats or even hates them thinks about the reason why and at the very least never harms cats because of their beliefs.

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