GINGER’S GUIDE TO: Being a cat person

Amanda’s cat Annie, demonstrating that she can, in fact, communicate with humans as she converses with Amanda.

I recently came across a post on social media about how cats apparently have ‘empty minds,’ are selfish and cannot communicate with humans. I don’t know though, because I sure do hear my cat talk. A lot. We have full on conversations sometimes, especially when she’s hungry.

Anyway, this one negative comment was found on an article about scientists attempting to learn if cats know and can respond to their own names. (Which is a silly thing to study in the first place, because of course they do. My cat, Annie, responds to her name and all her various nicknames.) I think the thing that bothered me most about this comment is that I see it all the time; maybe not this exact, ill-informed rant, but I see so many that are similar. They’re found on almost any video/post/picture that demonstrates something positive about cats, like when they’re showing their owners love and affection.

This comment that basically claimed cats can’t show emotion or communicate with people really stood out to me. It honestly hurt. I read it when my cat was cuddled up comfortably next to me. She was purring so loud and deep because she was with me, and if I could purr, I’d be doing the same thing because I was with her. Though that comment didn’t specifically say it, I knew its author probably thinks cats just don’t feel emotions. Just read one quote from it:

“(Cats) have retched, selfish little hearts. Useful for deception, their chief operation.”

I’m sorry, but my cat has only ever deceived me into loving her, and it worked big time. Seriously, other than that how are they deceiving? Because they cry to get our attention to feed them? Yes, so do dogs. And babies. Sometimes I might too. But apparently only cats are evil and uncaring toward their owners, right?

I don’t want to say I’m not a dog person, and I definitely don’t want to discourage anyone who might be. I’ve just chosen cats, and they choose me right back. I love and appreciate dogs, but I get along better with cats. They fit my personality. Cats are actually a lot like humans. Have you ever noticed that? Cats like their alone time; they need their personal space from time to time. So do I, and so does everyone else on the planet. Dogs, on the other hand, have no problem with constantly begging for attention and belly rubs and being close to you all the time. And yes, dogs are faithful and unconditionally loving creatures, but to the extent where it’s unrealistic for us to be the same way. Sure, humans can learn a lot from dogs, and we can strive to be more loving and accepting of one another, but that’s not always easy. We feel anger, we get hurt and we can’t always apologize as easily as a dog who might lick you when they’ve done something bad.

Cats can teach us a lot too. Being curious is a great way to live. We learn that it’s okay if we’re not always feeling our best. We’re allowed to have time apart, and sometimes it’s best to just silently comfort one another with our mere presence. We also respect that cats are their own independent creatures, with unique personalities just like humans. You can’t lump cats together in one category, and you certainly can’t do that for humans, either, because we’re all different.

Dogs are our companions, but cats are our supporters. They’re probably not afraid to dish out some tough love every once in a while. Cats understand us, sometimes better than we understand ourselves. We should all, especially the writer of that nasty comment, take some time to understand them a little better, too.

Amanda Larch can be contacted at [email protected].