Of Cats And Men
Happy Birthday to my sweet human partner today! As a tribute to the guy who has taught me so much about how to care for cats, let’s talk about men and cats! According to Abby Ellin of the New York Times, cats and men are having love relationships in increasing numbers:
If you ask Adam Fulrath who is the love of his life, he will barely blink an eye before responding: Parappa.
Mr. Fulrath, a 37-year-old design director at Time Out New York, keeps five photographs of Parappa, a shorthaired, bicolored, mixed-breed cat, on his desktop. He knows that it might be considered a little weird that a grown man would be so enamored with his kitty, but Mr. Fulrath, who is into video games and comic books and calls himself a “straight, geeky guy,” doesn’t care.
“She’s my primary relationship,” he said.
Mr. Fulrath is one of a growing number of single — and yes, heterosexual — men who seem to be coming out of the cat closet and unabashedly embracing their feline side. To that end, they are posting photographs and videos of their little buddies on YouTube and on Web sites like menandcats.com, and Twittering about them to anyone who will listen.
…Clea Simon, who wrote “The Feline Mystique: On the Mysterious Connection Between Women and Cats,” said: “I do think it has become more acceptable for men to own cats — partly for practical reasons, like the growing realization that they’re better city pets, and partly the whole acceptance of our cross-gender traits that men crave intimacy, too.”
Stacy Mantle, the founder of Petsweekly.com, a magazine for pet lovers, said that men are becoming more “cat literate” because they themselves are evolving.
“It’s the unevolved members of the species who tend toward abuse of cats — and oftentimes, women and children,” said Ms. Mantle, who owns 18 cats.
Although there are no hard (or soft) statistics (it is rare to find an owner, man or woman, walking a cat in public), it seems that single, heterosexual male cat owners are on the rise. Over the last few years Sandra DeFeo, an executive director at the Humane Society of New York, said she had seen an increase in the number of single, straight men who are adopting cats.
Carole Wilbourn, a cat therapist (yes, really) in Manhattan, said that the number of her single, straight male clients has risen about 25 percent over the last five years.
When the Web site PetPlace.com asked its readers, “Do Real Men Own Cats?” almost 84 percent of respondents said “yes.” “Only intelligent, aware, caring men love cats,” one reader said. And in a 2005 survey by Cats Protection, an animal welfare agency in the United Kingdom, the majority of the 790 people who responded said it was cool for a guy to own cats.
This line of thinking does not surprise cat lovers, many of whom believe that only pillars of virility and masculinity would dare to own one. They are quick to point out other well-known macho cat owners: Ernest Hemingway, Mark Twain, Victor Hugo and Marlon Brando, who reportedly found a stray cat on the set of “The Godfather” and incorporated it into a scene.
John Scalzi, 39, an author in Bradford, Ohio, has been a cat guy his entire life. Mr. Scalzi, who is married and has a daughter, blames Hollywood for the continual bad rap that has befallen the male cat owner. Originally, he said, only strong men like Don Corleone, or the villains in a James Bond film, had cats.
“But then in the Seventies, Eighties and Nineties, Hollywood decided that we need to have the token gay man as the witty sidekick friend of the main female protagonist,” he said. “ ‘What kind of signature thing can we give him to convey that he is not an entirely masculine being? I know! We’ll give him a big fluffy cat!’ ”
In fact, Mr. Scalzi thinks that dogs are for the weaker of spirit, since the dog is, in effect, “your wingman.”
“If you’re feeling insecure about your space in the world, you get a dog because he will always back you up,” he said. “He’s the insecure man’s best friend.”
A man with a cat, on the other hand, “is secure with himself,” he said. “He’s sharing his space with a predator.”
Many women agree that guys with cats are extra special.
Call me sheltered, but I haven’t known many people who admit to considering it effeminate to have cats. I don’t know where these losers are, but thankfully they haven’t crossed my path in large numbers. It’s My sweetheart grew up with both cats and dogs and would never allow disdain nor harm to any; if anyone has a problem with that, they are not welcome.
I also don’t think the circumstance of having cats makes anyone — regardless of gender — “extra special” by itself; there are plenty of unwholesome, sexist, racist creeps who love their cats. It doesn’t necessarily extend to how they treat people, although we might like to think it does. Having a love relationship within your own walls differs from social graces that are applied in the outer world. I learned that the hard way when dating after my divorce and making (incorrect) assumptions about guys simply because they loved their pets. Cat love may correspond to a really sweet guy, but it also may not.
Thank goodness I got the best combination in my birthday cutie: intense love of cats; dogs, and most animals in fact, INCLUDING me. When I met him, his bond with his boys was impressively tight. I was extremely honored to be inducted into that inner circle. Happy birthday to him and everyone else having a birthday today and every day!
Stay tuned for more purr-ious information!