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.

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)

Please search using the search box at the top of the site. You are bound to find what you are looking for.

Is it normal to not like cats?

Of course, it is normal to dislike cats. It is normal for humans to hate cats sometimes. This is because it is normal for humans to do a lot of strange and/or extreme things. But disliking cats is not an extreme thing. It is just the way of things are because people have preferences. However, I would state right away that a lot of the time people don’t like cats because they are frightened of them. They are frightened of cats’ claws and teeth. They are frightened of cats’ athleticism and stealth. Domestic cats are top-line predators. They might be frightened of the fact that they are living with a predator.

Circuitous fear and hate of cats can happen. Image: MikeB

Note: This page is predominantly for people new to cats as it is largely based on common knowledge.

RELATED: i hate cats – an article I wrote in 2008. It is deliberately in lower case because that is how cat haters write!

These are not really good reasons to dislike cats. They are reasons to look at one’s conscience and confidence and ask whether the reasons why one dislikes cat is because of one’s failings. But you might dislike cats for genuine reasons and that’s fair enough. The word “normal” in regards to human behaviour covers many aspects of behaviour including what might be regarded as strange forms of behaviour.

If you end up living with a domestic cat that you don’t like then you should rehome the cat as best you can. It is the responsibility of the cat’s owner to rehome the cat to a good home. Far too often people who dislike their cat abandon them irresponsibly. A cat owner’s responsibilities extend all the way to rehoming if needs must.

It is said that in general people dislike dogs less than they dislike cats. This is probably to do with the fact that the dog is a pack animal and looks up to their owner as their master and leader. This massages the owner’s ego. People like that. They like a sentient being to be a slave to them. A slave and a companion. A nice combination. Conversely, the domestic cat is more independent and less likely to become a follower of their owner. Although it does happen if the person raised their kitten which results in the human being imprinted onto the mind of the cat as their mother. When that happens, the cat will follow the human around the home and be very bonded to their owner because they are kept in that state of being a kitten all their lives.

One survey found that 15% of adults said that they disliked cats a lot while only 2% said that they disliked dogs a lot. Sometimes an entire culture dislikes cats or they behave as if they do dislike cats. In Asia they have the cat and dog meat markets. It results in extreme cruelty against these animals. This is not so much a hatred of cats but an indifference to their sentience; the fact that they feel pain and have emotions. It’s an entire indifference to it which allows them to treat animals as if they are inanimate objects resulting in extreme and obscene abuse.

If a person is going to dislike cats it is probably going to be a black cat. This highlights the fact that a lot of the time people dislike cats because they are frightened of them. Black cats are still associated with witchcraft and evil and the devil. It is frankly pathetic that even today people are so superstitious. Superstition is more prevalent in undeveloped countries. And superstition is more prevalent in Asian countries where they believe that eating cat and dog meat has medicinal benefits to which there is no scientific support. Yes, all that horrible animal cruelty is based upon ridiculous superstitions. That makes me hate humans rather than cats!

What country loves cats most? Well, Muslim countries should love cats most because the Prophet Mohammad loved cats according to the Hadiths. There is an obligation, it seems to me, on Muslims to love cats if they wish to follow the Prophet. But they don’t because lots of cats in Muslim countries are ill-treated. Dogs are treated even worse; often cruelly. Muslims regard dogs as unclean whereas they regard cats as clean. That’s another superstition which is incorrect.

Saudi torturing a stray cat by cutting off its tail
Saudi torturing a stray cat by cutting off its tail. Image in the public domain.

It is said that Russia is a country where they tend to love cats. A study online says that Russians love cats more than anyone on the planet. Indeed, Russians do tend to like cats. Although there are many strays suffering in the cold. They have a lot of cat breeders in Russia. They are very competent cat breeders. They turn out some wonderful Maine Coon cats for example. Although they tend to breed to extreme which I disagree with because it is against the health of the cat. They have their own purebred cats such as the Siberian and the Russian Blue.

British Shorthair cat becomes first passenger of Moscow Metro's Shakespeare train
MOSCOW, RUSSIA – OCTOBER 12, 2016: A British Shorthair cat in a car of a train marking the 400th anniversary of William Shakespeare’s death. Image: The Calvert Journal.

Some people ask why cats annoy them so much. If your cat annoys you so much then you should not be living with a cat! Obvious, but I’m just answering the question. One reason why a cat might annoy a person resulting in the person disliking the cat is because they follow them around and are underfoot. That’s ironic because it means that their cat likes them and wants to be with them and this affection is not reciprocated. Or the cat is looking for food and the person is not providing it because of neglect. This would be an obvious failure of the person to discharge their duties. Once a person takes on the responsibilities of looking after a cat it is for the life of that cat and if they can’t discharge those responsibilities, as mentioned above, they should rehome them carefully.

One website says that people who hate cats are ailurophobic but that isn’t particularly true. Ailurophobia usually refers to people who dislike cats because they have an irrational fear of them. You can dislike or even hate cats for rational reasons. Although the word also means an extreme fear of cats but an extreme fear of cats will be based on irrationality because there is no logical reason for it.

Can cats feel it when you don’t like them? Certainly, domestic cats understand when you don’t like them because you create a hostile environment for your cat which is picked up by the cat for obvious reasons. Cats are very switched on to hostility from their human caregiver. They will back away from being with their owner. They might hide. And if a person doesn’t like their cat, they will tend to shout at them or mishandle them. These are hostile actions. Cats pick up on this. They will go away and be anxious. They will do this because the human becomes a large hostile creature ruining their environment. It is an obligation on cat caregivers to ensure that the environment is calm, friendly, amicable and pleasant for their cat with rhythms and routines built into that environment which helps to make the cat happy.

Do cats get sad when their owner leaves? Yes, if there is a good relationship between cat and person their cat might become sad when the person leaves but it depends on for how long the person leaves. If, for instance, a person leaves their home for a couple of hours every day at the same time then the cat understands this and will not become sad. But if the person leaves for a long time such as several days then the cat will become anxious and concerned. Perhaps not so much sadness as anxiety.

One person asked why cats make her feel uncomfortable. I’ve touched on this above. It’s because they are predators and they have claws and teeth and independent minds. Some people don’t like that. We should get used to it if they want to live with a cat! Cats can be incredibly friendly and pliable and amicable. It depends how you treat them. If you are frightened of a cat and treat them with that attitude, they are liable to become more difficult in interactions with their human caregiver. This is going to make the person even more anxious. Interact with a cat confidently with love and care and they will reciprocate.

What is the most introverted cat breed? There’s no such breed in my view. It will depend upon the individual cat whether they are introverted or extroverted. In other words, whether they are timid or confident. It depends upon how they are bred and raised but cat breeders do their best to ensure that their kittens are confident and outgoing. Although the character of a cat depends upon the nature/nurture principle which is inherited behavioural characteristics combined with environmental influences.

How not to be afraid of cats? If you are afraid of cats, it is probably because you are frightened of them as mentioned. The way to beat this is to desensitise yourself by gradual interactions which start with very short, low-level interactions at a distance with a kitten in a cage and then building up to touching a kitten and then touching an adult cat. This the well-known process of desensitising which applies to every irrational fear. I say “irrational”. There is a certain amount of rationality about being frightened of cats because they do have very sharp claws and a strong bite! Although it is up to people to understand how to interact with their cat to avoid a cat using their weapons defensively.

What is the least adopted cat? The least adopted cat from a rescue center is a black, elderly cat. The cat most likely to be adopted would be a pretty, white kitten probably. Funnily enough, I’ve just read an article about a nice woman who adopted a couple of black cats because they were very friendly with each other at the rescue center. Sometimes you have to adopt to cats together because they are bonded with each other. She loves her black cats and she has no bias at all against black cats. There is an incorrect bias against black cats for the reason mentioned above.

Picture of a black cat with what looks like a twisted head
Picture of a black cat with what looks like a twisted head. Photo in public domain.

Why is my cat so badly behaved? A badly behaved cat can lead to the cat caregiver hating their cat. But ironically, the reason why a cat is behaving badly is because of the environment in which they had been placed. That environment has been created by the owner so the argument is circuitous. if your cat is behaving badly, you should look at the environment that you have created for your cat and make adjustments. The target: calm, routines, rhythms, quiet, well fed, hiding places, high places, friendliness, warmth both emotional and physical, no outside cats coming inside the home frightening your cat, and if you did with a partner, the partner should respect and love cats because often won’t don’t know what they get up to when you are away. There have been some unhappy stories of partners abusing the lover’s cat.

Please search using the search box at the top of the site. You are bound to find what you are looking for.

follow it link and logo