Fear of the "P" Word

Another decry about poor, disrespected cat people.  Does this really matter anymore? The argument that people hate cats because people devalue women is too simple an explanation and the promotion of the idea doesn't further any changing of perceptions.  I should just get Chinchillas or Rats and be done with it. Then people would fear me like Willard (GET 'EM BEN!)...From the NY Times:

What Are Your Thoughts on Cats?

People say there are “cat people” and “dog people,” but is that really true? What if you happen to like both equally? Does the fact that someone has a cat (or a dog) affect how people view him or her? Should it? In the Op-Ed essay “Stand Up for Your Cats,” Julia Baird writes:

The long-standing, irrational bias against cats stems from old views about women.

Their owners are more likely to be single women than single men — according to the American Pet Products Association, 11 percent of cats live with single women, but only 2 percent live with single men — and so they have become addendums to the spinster stereotype.

We seem unable to contemplate the thought of a woman enjoying the sweet company of a cat, without assuming it is a hallmark of a sad single existence. The words woman and cat don’t conjure up thoughts of a glamorous fast life, but pajamas, Chinese takeout, bowls of Ben & Jerry’s, couches and DVDs.

The words associated with cat lady on Urban Dictionary, for example, include: “lame,” “forever alone,” “spinster,” “ice cream” and “smelly.” Nice.

A man and his dog, on the other hand, are icons of independence, freedom, and adventure. Granted, this is partly because dogs tend to be happier accompanying you to places outside your own house. But Ms. Swift takes Meredith out in Manhattan, and the singer Kesha takes her cat on airplane flights. Must female cat owners constantly have their sanity questioned just because they like to coexist with purring furballs?

This is not a tired cat-versus-dog debate. Everyone loves dogs. Even if they do, say, eat the feces of other animals, howl at ambulances, delight in bottom-sniffing and even — like my old Labrador — eat jellyfish until their faces are numb. (Is there anything a Labrador won’t eat?)

It should be pointed out that many men also love cats. Ernest Hemingway was mad about polydactyl, or six-toed cats, and kittens played with Winston Churchill’s newspaper as he read, and sat alongside him during meals.

… Cat men and women, we have the numbers. There are now roughly 95.6 million cats in America, compared to 83.3 million dogs.

We also have science on our side. Studies have shown that cat owners are less likely than those who have never owned a cat to die of cardiovascular disease, and pet owners have a decreased risk of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

Researchers from Miami University and Saint Louis University found “pet owners had greater self-esteem, were more physically fit, tended to be less lonely, were more conscientious, were more extroverted, tended to be less fearful and tended to be less preoccupied than non-owners.” Less lonely, happier, fitter. Pets don’t indicate mental illness; they seem to aid in recovery from it.

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