How do you become a cat person?

To put the question another way: “How does one become a cat lover”. I’ll try and answer the question. The thoughts of others are always welcome.

Two useful tags. Click either to see the articles:- Toxic to cats | Dangers to cats

Nature/Nuture

Fundamentally, you become a cat person partly because you inherited a love of cats or probably a love of animals generally and partly because of your life experiences which either reinforced your love of animals and cats or in fact changed you from being a person who did not particularly like cats to one who loves them.

Like all aspects of one’s personality there is the nature/nurture argument. Both inherited characteristics and learned characteristics play a role, which must be the answer in a very brief summary.

Are you mistaken?

I’ll add some detail. Some people will be cat and dog lovers. Some people will love cats and hate dogs and vice versa. But if you firmly believe that you love dogs and hate cats, you might actually be mistaken. 🙂

I can remember a story of a man who thought he hated cats. His girlfriend insisted that they adopt a cat. He reluctantly agreed. Within about three months he was totally, head over heels in love with his cat who loved him back. It was a brilliant and still is a brilliant relationship (see picture below).

Timothy Hardway with his cat
Timothy Hardway with his cat. Photo: Timothy.

Soem people, without fault, can have entrenched views which are misplaced and misguideed. You can unlearn them by educating yourself!

Education

A lot of people who dislike cats don’t understand them. They might have views about cats which are entirely incorrect. There’s a lot on the Internet written by people who dislike cats or don’t understand them, which can influence people. When you learn about cats, their behaviour and their needs and you understand their nature you can learn to appreciate them better and connect with them. That’s one way to become a cat person. It might be a complete reversal of your personality.

RELATED: Why do people like cats?

Interacting

Spending time with cats and interacting with them first hand can lead to developing a bond with cats which you did not think could possibly happen. You can start this process off by visiting friends or families who have cats. Or you might volunteer at an animal shelter or consider fostering a cat during which you will experience their companionship. In these instances I’m talking about the nurture aspect of one’s development. In interacting with cats you gain experience about their behaviour and you experience what it’s like to be with them. Sidebar: the interactions need to be at the cat’s pace and to her liking. The focus is on pleasning the cat because if it goes wrong and you get scratched because you have overstimulated her or caused her to be defensive it will dent your progress in learning to love cats! It may even end it.

It can be a life changing experience! That might seem like an exaggeration but if you end up adopting a couple of cats and they live for 20 years each throughout which you expereinced many happy times, learning to love cats would end up being a life changing experience.

Infants, the best time to expereince cats

A lot of people probably learn to love cats when they are infants. They might have not have inherited a love of cats but their parents were cat caregivers and therefore their child interacted with the family cat. They learnt to enjoy those moments and therefore developed a love of cats. A lot of people think that young kids should be involved with a dog or cat and learn to look after them because it develops a sense of responsibility which will be useful for them when they enter the work environment.

So clearly, early experiences with cats or other animals can shape a person’s attitude and preferences.

RELATED: The difference between ‘ailurophobe’ and ‘cat hater’

Barriers

One aspect of the domestic cat’s personality and physiology which can work against him is that they have very subtle facial expressions, they rarely smile like humans but some can I believe, and they are perceived as being “independent”. Some people see them as being aloof. These aspects of their character and behaviour can present a barrier to some people becoming a cat person.

Once again this is about education. In fact education can solve all problems in relation to the human-to-cat relationship. The more you know about cats and realise that they are not aloof and independent, that they love being with their caregiver and that they offer unconditional love and happiness to their human companion, the more you’ll learn to love them. That’s how you become a cat person; you learn to understand the domestic cat and how they can benefit your life.

Comparing cats with dogs

One issue here is that often people compare cats and dogs; two completely different species because the cat is a solitary animal and the dog is a pack animal. The latter lends them to being more communicative with their human caregiver. But the domestic cat has adapted to the human environment and become quite sociable. The comparison between cats and dogs is unfortunate and unhelpful. I think it might have led to the fact that people in general care less welfare cats than they do dogs. Cats get a hard deal because of the barriers mentioned above and is misplaced thoughts about the domestic cat.

RELATED: Dogs versus Cats UK: 51% have a dog and 47% have a cat (YouGov poll)

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