You love cats and are a long-term cat guardian/caretaker. What do you do if you discover that a person you admire, or a friend, dislikes cats to the point where he or she might hurt them if they entered his garden? Do you immediately cut them out of your circle of friends? Do you stop admiring the person that you once admired?
For my part, I have to admit that it would definitely seriously affect my friendship. I would also stop admiring anybody, for example a well-known celebrity, who declared to the world that he might hurt a cat under certain circumstances.
The trouble is that you may like every aspect of your friend except the fact that he/she hates cats. Perhaps you should compromise and still be friendly and ignore it; not possible in my case. It’s too important a subject but how many friends do you have? Can you discard friends? Should we accept our friend’s character entirely, the bits we like and dislike?
Another issue, however, is that if somebody hates cats they probably have a relationship with animals or an attitude towards animals generally which clashes with mine so that aspect of a person’s character goes wider than just the subject of the domestic cat.
You may have a friend who likes cats, like you do, but the way they treat their cat or their relationship with cats is such that you can no longer be their friend or as friendly towards them.
For example, I have a neighbour who informally lets her cats breed and then sells the kittens to make a bit of pocket money. She’s a nice woman but this behaviour is so against my principles that it has had a serious impact upon my relationship with her.
You might admire and like a television or radio presenter but then discover that their attitude towards domestic cat clashes with yours. Do you forget about it and continue as before or do you stop listening to him or stop watching him on television? The question then is, “do you stop liking somebody who dislikes cats?”
The journalist, Polly Hudson writing in the daily Mirror said that she felt betrayed and perplexed when Sean Lock on the television program Eight Out Of Ten Cats Does Countdown (never watched it), “suddenly launched a bitter tirade against cats.”
Mr Lock announced that he had invented a device which got rid of cats from his garden. Amusingly (or so he thought) he called the device a cat-apult. Perhaps he was just enjoying a play on words and didn’t actually mean what he said. But Polly Hudson questioned whether she could go on liking Sean Lock because she felt betrayed, disappointed and perplexed. She then discovered that a number of friends didn’t like cats either, after she had discussed the program with them. Disaster.
She discovered that her friends thought that cats were smug and crafty or felt superior and aloof. These are the usual criticisms by people who don’t understand the domestic cat.
Initially, Hudson decided to do away with her friendship with these people but then realise that she couldn’t do it because she needed the friendships. Would you compromise like this? How important is this facet of a person’s character to you: whether they strongly dislike cats or not?