What are Cats Good for Anyway?

The other day while I was perusing the cat food aisle at our supermarket, a stranger walked up to me and had the unmitigated gall to ask, “What are cats good for anyway?”

What good are cats for?
Our two Oriental Shorthair cats, Dr. Hush Puppy and Sir Hubble Pinkerton – Photo by Jo.
Two useful tags. Click either to see the articles: Toxic to cats | Dangers to cats

It was hard for me to believe that a cat hater had the nerve to approach me and attempt to cast aspersions on our beloved feline species. But it was obvious to me that this ignorant woman had no idea that she was decidedly barking up the wrong tree. I am sure that I seemed to be a crazy lady to her since my eyes were rolling and the color of my cheeks had turned a rosy red.

To say that I was thoroughly incensed by her question would be a huge understatement. It took me quite awhile to recover my composure. To be perfectly honest I was sorely tempted to punch her in the nose. But after silently counting to 100, I was sufficiently calmed down to ask her if she really wanted me to answer her question. And much to my surprise she answered in the affirmative.

How does one even begin to extoll the amazing benefits that we as cat lovers enjoy from being owned by kitties; especially to a self-proclaimed ailurophobe? Based on her strange demeanour, I wasn’t particularly motivated to make her into a convert. However I decided that I had to tell her that based upon her self-proclaimed prejudice against felines she was missing out on one of the greatest treasures in the animal kingdom.

So what ARE cats really good for anyway? I am sure that we as passionate kitty lovers could come up in a heartbeat with an extensive liturgy of what we appreciate about our felines. But I simply had no idea where to begin to sing the praises of what I consider to be just a few of the behaviors that endear our two Oriental Shorthair cats, Dr. Hush Puppy and Sir Hubble Pinkerton so deeply to me.

Fortunately I came up with a few important things to tell her in just a few seconds!

Let sleeping cats lay: They save you money! On those frigid Florida winter nights when the temperature drops down to a bone-chilling level, instead of having to use an electric blanket, the two warm furry bodies that snuggle so tightly against me is not only a pleasure, it certainly lowers our electric bill.

“I think that the most important thing a woman can have – next to her talent, of course – is her hairdresser” — Joan Crawford.

I happen to be fortunate enough to have a cat named Sir Hubble Pinkerton who believes that he is a masterful hair stylist. He loves to shampoo and style my hair into a punky spiked-out look. After he is thoroughly satisfied with the outcome, I am ready and rearing to go out dancing! And he saves me the exorbitant price of a fancy professional coif!

“It is good to have an end to journey towards; but it is the journey that matters in the end.” –Ursula K. LeGuin

Although both of our cats are not particularly enamored with riding in our car, they do thoroughly enjoy taking rides with me when I travel about the house on my power wheelchair. Not only is it comforting to have company sitting next to me even if we aren’t really going anywhere important – they remind me that the joy IS in the journey.

However, the most important thing that our cats teach me, which is the main reason that I love them so dearly, couldn’t have been put into words more beautifully than Henry Ford when he said, “My best friend is the one who brings out the best in me.”

Since it didn’t appear that I had made an impact on the cat hater, my final words to her was quoting E. B. White who said, “Prejudice is a great time saver. You can form opinions without having to get the facts.”

What do you think cats are good for anyway? Please share your thoughts in a comment.

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Useful tag. Click to see the articles: Cat behavior

23 thoughts on “What are Cats Good for Anyway?”

  1. my cats help to keep my stress level down. and in 2011 when my arm was broken, they took turns lying down next to my broken arm and purred for hours. a month later my arm had healed entirely.

  2. Whelp, you have some great answers here, so rather than repeat what has already been said, I will just say,”you shouda punched that woman in the face”. Now I think you have my opinion on this subject.LOL

  3. {{{{DEE}}}}
    My kitties are my family. I can’t imagine how I could cope with what happened to you and your fur baby. My heart feels for you. May your friends help you and the memories of Colonel Slate in time help your heart heal from the cruelty of xxxxx I can’t even think of a word of what a monster that would do such a thing.
    Katrina, and my kitties:
    Toby, Marty, Lady Suzanna & Cosmos the Southpawcats >^..^<

  4. {{{{{Dee}}}}

    I am so sorry for your tragic loss. There are unspeakably cruel people in the world- those are the ones who will at some time or place get their just desserts.

    I feel so sad for you. This is an unexcusable act- and I absolutely understand how angry you must be.

    1. Thanks, Jo. Still out of my mind with grief and worry.
      I may have to call in forces to help me move the entire colony to a safer place.
      Debating, because The Colonel wandered outside the group a lot. And, where I found him wasn’t really close to the colony. Just have to decide if the risk of not moving will pay off.
      This is a pic of The Colonel’s last day, right after finding him. I could, seriously, hurt someone over this.

  5. Oh cats are family. They are warm and loving and caring. They , for the most part, keep my blood pressure low. There are times when they elevate it too. They are perceptive. We scheduled an appointment with the builders for our house and I had butterflies just thinking about it. The cats appeared in the doorway and proceeded to purr and rub around my legs and trill. They felt the stress. There is nothing like holding a cat and feeling that beautiful purr. It can ease you illnesses and send you to dreamland. They are great bed warmers too. The winter was bitter here and the cats cuddled under the covers with us and kept us toasty warm. Yup, cats are wonderful. I fel sorry for cat haters.
    PS: I married a cat hater. Of course my cat, Murphy, won him over. Now he is a devoted cat lover. >^.,.^<

  6. Let’s ignore for a moment the plethora of studies that indicate that pet owners live longer, happier lives than non pet owners. Let’s also ignore the research that I indicates that pet owners have better quality of life with lower blood pressure and less stress overall. As a nurse, these things are important because my profession is evidence-based and the evidence indicates that pet owners tend to lead happier, healthier, more productive lives.
    But let’s ignore all of that.
    What are cats good for? I’ll tell you what cats are good for! My cats are my buddies; my housemates; my companions. When I’m sad, they give me cuddles and do funny things to make me laugh. They don’t mind that I work nights and always are happy to see me get home. They keep my husband company when I have to work and leave him home alone. They are funny individuals who bring joy to my life as my little furry friends. Being a cat owner gives me something in common with other people and it can open conversations with strangers, which has allowed me to make human connections that I might otherwise not have. Cats taught me important lessons from childhood; how to be gentle (pet kitty nicely,) responsibility (you have to take care of him, he’s YOUR cat,) the facts of life (if kittens come from their mama cats, do babies come from mommies??) the miracle of life, what it is to grow up, and the heartbreak of death. My cats taught me that communication isn’t about just about words; it’s body language, emotion, actions.
    In a nutshell, my cats make me a better and more rounded person.

    1. Loved your comment Jennifer. I think you are right. It’s about companionship and all that brings. There is a lot. The extras are the health benefits.

    2. Understand, Jo and I am sorry.
      I seem to be lashing out, because I’m mad, devastated, and have murder in my heart for whoever poisoned my Colonel Slate. I had to put him to sleep on Tuesday and have been running amuck since.
      He had been missing for a week. I searched and searched, finally finding him curled up in brush lethargic, glassy eyed, and with a huge belly. My consolation is that, for the first time, I was able to hold him and plant kisses.

      Sorry to say that I have a pic, but I keep getting an error page when I try to post, no matter what browser I use.

  7. Dee,

    If I weren’t so self conscious about my appearance right now I would have tons of photos embracing these kitties, which I am constantly doing. Dr Hush Puppy likes to sit on my shoulder also- and when he was younger and feeling more energetic he would jump from the floor onto my shoulder for a little ride. Now he prefers to ride on my powerchair with me.

    My husband always wants to take photos of us hanging out together- but I am not really very photogenic so I take tons of photos of the boys – but not when I am holding them. Maybe sometime when I am feeling better I will let him take a few

  8. It makes no difference to me that cats are clean or beautiful. It matters to me how they make me feel. If anyone recalls my Dusty with my daughter, Sarah, (ofcourse, they won’t since self absorption is supreme)
    they would realize that cats can be very demonstrative with their love for their humans if the humans treat them something other than “just a cat”.

    I don’t think that I have ever seen any of the two pictured cats embracing their caretaker, their caretaker embracing them, or any other pics that may demonstrate the love between caretaker and cat(s).

  9. Oh, where do I start? Cats are the cleanest of all animals, and they are self-cleaning and fastidious given their druthers. Cats are agile and strong — if a human could leap like a cat, (s)he’d be Superhuman. Cats are usually quiet, especially when humans care enough to get them spayed/neutered. Felines are sweet, gentle, loving and loyal when treated well. They make excellent companions in any size home and in any size family. They are happy, and safest, indoors, where their environment can quite easily be tailored to their needs and wants. They can live a fairly long time, which is what people who love them want! And they are the perfect size and conformation to be picked up and held, cuddled, and on the lap or chair or bed, where they are the most perfect of companions. They are intelligent, intuitive, and empathetic — in short, they’re the perfect family members!

  10. These days I find that my cat brings me a lot of comfort through friendship. He also brings me calm if I am doing things too fast because he slows me down and makes me live my life at a more human pace. The other day I thought I had lost him to a fox but, no, he came back in my bedroom at about six in the morning having been outside from about 4 am. When he came in I felt relief and my emotions told me that I love him dearly and that he meant the world to me.

  11. Elizabeth Ann Scarborough

    I probably would have said something like to me they were good for a lot more than she was so hiss off.

  12. Ruth Hagenbaugh

    My cats are good for a good belly laugh every day. Laughter is good for you so they make me laugh right out loud every day. I have 2 brothers and their sister here and they just turned 1 two months ago so they are still like kittens. Playing, getting into mischief and cuddling with us every day. Cats make my life complete. Of course I also have 4 greyhounds that make my life complete too. But my life without cats in it? I can’t see that ever happening. They keep me happy and healthy.

  13. Sandra Murphey, No. CA, USA

    They are good for our health, by lowering blood pressure,reducing tension, and lowering our risk of heart attacks. They increase our self esteem through unconditional love. They help us feel needed. They talk to us even if no one else will. They look forward to seeing us. They increase our endorphins when we pet them, or they cuddle with us. They may be our only companion in our senior years, and our reason for living. They can prevent suicide in extremely depressed people, because the person doesn’t want to leave them. I know someone who would have committed suicide if not for his two cats. He cried when he told me that he wouldn’t want them to find his body, and be confused.

    1. I agree with everything you said, Sandra. Once when I was going through a really bad spell in my life years ago my male cat Rocky must have realized what I was going to do. He walked up to me as I was making exit preparations and bit me quite hard on the ankle. He drew blood. I chased him through the apartment. I was angry. When I caught him he didn’t struggle, he just stared at me like he was thinking “How could you do such a thing?” What I was about to do scared me so much the next day I asked for help. A permanent solution to a temporary problem.

      I usually turn the question back around on the asker: “Why do you hate cats?” “Well, they’re sneaky.” “You could say humans are too.” “They’re germy.” “Kids are germy. So are dogs. Birds. Just about everything in life, including plants, could be considered germy or negative if you are determined to view them in that way.”

      I can deal with a person who had a bad experience with a cat. Maybe they saw a cat attack a loved one. Or they themselves were attacked. Funny thing, I always get the feeling that there’s more to the story because then they become quite vague and evasive. That tells me the cat was probably provoked by the person. Someone who’s allergic to cats? Okay, fine. I’m allergic too. I shouldn’t even have cats, but I do, and I deal with my allergies. Medications do help a lot.

      Blind, unreasoning hatred? Jo, you handled that woman just right. I must admit I wouldn’t have had as much patience with her as you did. Thank you for posting that beautiful photo of your boys. I hope you’re all doing well.

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