Can Cat Lovers Get Along With Non-Cat Lovers? part 3
No one who doesn’t understand cat caregiving is going to understand us, but not all acquaintances require that depth. It can be enough for people to meet for lunch occasionally and talk about other things, but the relationship only goes so far. Accepting the limitations of said relationship means not taking it personally that this person does not get it.
Also it’s important to understand that people don’t always mean the same thing by “cat”. A former co-worker used to go around saying she hated cats. The neighborhood cats kept spraying her garage door and side of her house. Well, our cats don’t go loose outside, and they don’t spray anyone’s anything, so did she really hate cats or just the pee perpetrators? She’d never had her own, and hadn’t been close to anyone else’s cats, so in her experience, that’s what a cat was. Sometimes an attitude like that can soften up once the person meets cats that don’t fit their preformed animosity, but it might not. Whether or not it’s worth taking the chance and actually inviting such people into a kitty house depends on the relationship and how the cat parent will feel if their cats are among the hated.
Sometimes antisocial malcontents will throw out stupid remarks about cats in the workplace or social realm just to aggravate cat parents in their midst. Those screwballs are not to be gotten along with; we wouldn’t want to. Just ignore them and let them retreat to their miserable, catless lives without you. I wish I could say they’ll learn from being ignored, but they probably won’t. If they had that much sensitivity, they wouldn’t shoot their mouths off in the first place. Ignoring is to protect yourself from their malaise.
What about self-righteous idiots who get in your face and tell you you’re isolated and missing out on people’s company because your cats come first? Tough shit. That’s a manipulation technique. As with everything else mentioned, try substituting “kids” for cats. No one would expect you to put anything nor anybody ahead of your own children (if they do, RUN! they’re sociopaths or just don’t care about you at all), and that’s what your cats are. When you have kids, of course a certain percentage of people you used to associate with are not going to come around anymore. Either they don’t like kids, they don’t like YOUR kids, or you no longer share the commonalities you had before your kids entered the picture. I would no sooner hide my cat in some other room when visitors come over than I would hide my human kid.
Quite often, what people mean by claiming you’re missing out and isolating yourself is that they want a free pass to come over at their whim and be an asshole and disrespect you. (Note how respectful, decent, secure people won’t fault you for being selective.) ANY amount of selectivity of companions is going to isolate you to an extent. If you let just anyone in, God help you. We don’t have an open door policy at our house, and never will. We’d no sooner have sex with every random person who passes by than let them into our private space. And if we let you in, and you abuse the privilege, you’re out. To “love” everyone is to love no one. The only way to cultivate high-quality interactions is to not settle for anything less.
If you think of life as a theater production, with characters on stage at various times for various acts and then they’re done, you realize that in your daily existence people pass in and out of your life for various reasons that won’t always exist. That’s natural; there’s nothing wrong with it. For example, you’re around them because you’re working with them, or they’re currently married to your relative, or they’re your school chums who have grown distant.
However, your cat children are a constant. Even the ones that have crossed the Rainbow Bridge are always with you. You’re not missing anything by alienating those who have a problem with felines’ place in your life — it’s their problem. In that context, be grateful to your cats for showing you who your real friends are.
So get ready, set, alienate!