6 Things You Can Stop Telling Cat Owners
When Google connected a neural network to YouTube, they gave the machines every reason they'd ever need to exterminate us. But the system learned about cats instead of nuclear launch codes. It doesn't matter if Cyberdyne creates cold, calculating killing machines wrapped in warm flesh to infiltrate human society: Cats are the exact same thing, and they've already infiltrated the machines. The instant Skynet moves against felinekind, it'll find its fans full of fur faster than it can overheat.
"Keep some humans around to feed me and I won't piss on you."
The Web-wide love of cats has driven some people to apply "Heh, I don't like that thing you like" to an entire species, explaining all the ways that cats are evil ... as if that made the person a good guy. When your victory condition is making people hate their own pets, the other Disney villains stop inviting you to Best Song in the Movie Karaoke Night.
I'm bipetsual: I love both cats and dogs, and I enjoyed the company of both while growing up. The current pet population is two cats, because when the beautiful Dr. X and I first moved in together, our place was a small second-floor apartment where we both worked long hours, and that wouldn't be fair to a dog. We have Neutrino, because he was a tiny chirp in a big box when we got him, and Striker, because we adopted him from another family who became allergic (you can give the cutest kitten in the world to an 8-year-old boy, but that's still an 8-year-old boy, and that cat is lucky he's not called Rambo McTankblaster).
They're very excited to be on the site.
On behalf of all cat owners, here are six things we already know.
They Pretend to Be Babies
People accuse cats of evil because their meow resembles the sound of crying human babies. That's meant to be a bad thing? That's salvation! If you're in a relationship and your partner is feeling broody, but you're not sure if you're ready? Throw a cat at them!
Do not do this with a real baby.
It satisfies the same nurturing feelings, lets you practice amateur-level shared responsibility, and tests how you both react to being woken at 3 a.m. before it becomes a felony to dump the offender on another family. You can pick up a cat, love it, rub it, and cuddle it, and as soon as World of Tanks finishes loading, you can throw it into a corner and you'll both be fine.
DO NOT do this with a real baby.
They are furry, grow their own clothes, even take care of their own asses after shitting. That's way better than babies. If they were marketed as pretend offspring, we'd have a new stage in every relationship instead of engagement rings.
Rubbing Against You to Declare Ownership
The anti-cat brigade points out that when Professor Fluffykins the Furth rubs against your legs, it's not because he loves you -- he's marking you as his property. Apparently we're meant to react like they're annexing an ankle-based Sudetenland.
When your stock photo database doesn't have a hitlercat, you caption with Hitler.
If everyone declared possession like that, capitalism would have created the '60s hippie utopia, instead of being its mortal enemy.
"Oh yeah, this merger feels niiiice. Slashing the pants budget was a good move."
They're declaring we're theirs? Isn't that the exact phrasing of half of all our romantic songs? If there's a warm purring cat lying on your lap as you read and you can't enjoy it unless you know they really mean it, your problems are far beyond the abilities of pets. That's where GPS stops working around you because your insecurity has loosened local space-time.
They Don't Do Useful Things, Like Dogs Do
Dogs are wonderful, hard-working, intelligent, obedient, double-wonderful, and triple-wonderful. Pure goodness exists in this world, but only in canine form. No one's in any doubt of that. No one should defend cats by attacking dogs, because if your master plan is "attacking dogs," I think Santa and unicorns start existing just to stab you and bury the body in the North Pole.
And dogs enjoy balls more than you enjoy anything, in several ways.
Dogs can be bred and trained for all kinds of useful applications, but even the most rabid anti-catter admits that cats got to stay because when we started agriculture, they turned up to eat rats. That is incredibly useful teamwork. Would people prefer if they killed animals they don't eat on command, like we trained dogs to? Because we're the assholes in this situation.
As conscious humans, we're the only ones capable of being assholes in any situation. Sometimes
we dress up specially to maximize that ability.
If your house is rat-free, they get to lie around all day. That's what happens when you finish your work. That was the deal. And they still work: I've seen dozens of farms and dry goods stores where cats are combination pest control and ornament. It's perfect cross-species teamwork, a small-furry-slaughtering Sesame Street. Also: Never, ever tell them the way to Sesame Street.
So we've got trainable dogs and symbiotic cats. Both are great. If you think someone changing their fundamental nature so you can train and command them is unequivocally better than teamwork, you're the problem in that situation. Possibly every situation. Either that, or you're saying you can't love anything unless they do useful work for you, and you're still somehow calling something else the asshole.
Cats Think You Suck
If cats can kill things, they'll bring them to you. Self-appointed foes of felinity are quick to explain that this isn't a gift -- probably because "I will murder for you without you even asking" is a sign of affection far beyond their ability to offer -- but a training exercise. They cat has noticed that you rarely eviscerate anything and thinks you suck. It's trying to teach, as if you're a rather slow kitten.
And you're way behind in "Wedging Yourself into Stupidly Small Spaces" class.
That's adorable! It doesn't think its people, it thinks we're cats, and it's trying to teach us how to cat better. We won at hunting so hard that we now stalk our prey through refrigerated aisles, but the cats we feed are trying to teach us Murder 101. How insecure do you have to be for a cat thinking it's better than you at hunting to piss you off? Unless you're Teddy Roosevelt, it probably is better at hunting than you. It's also better at licking its own ass, and it's not trying to teach you how to do that.
Note: If you let your cat outside and are wondering if it kills things, it absolutely kills lots of things. Yes, even Princess Unikitty. Fit them with a bell. It's flattering that even our pets are now an invasive species that pointlessly slaughters everything around them, even when their needs are already met, but it's no good for the local wildlife, or for friends and neighbors with non-feline pets.
They Don't Love You
This is where people quote studies where cats were wired up with sensors and then, astonishingly, were not very happy. The studies are fine, but the problem is the overinterpretation of data. When they hear their owners, cats will often sit there, while dogs rush and bark and wag tails and jump like joy itself has returned to the world because those are all things dogs do. If we're applying cross-species standards, you should be hurt that your beloved doesn't plunge their nose into your asshole every time they see you.
Even when you asked nicely on Valentine's Day.
Obviously cats don't love you if you're going by dog standards. Romeo and Juliet didn't care about each other if you're going by dog standards. A dog loves you more than any four mythological saviors you care to mention.
In dog we trust. Other advantages: responding when you call, getting things when you ask for them, visibly existing.
If you need people to constantly confirm and advertise their love for you every single second to stabilize your feelings, well, I understand that. Hi! I'm a comedy writer! But it still says more about you than it does about the pet.
The perfect pet for a comedy writer: something kept alive by people who do real work and massively boosted by the Internet.
A common aside to this complaint is explaining how cats lick themselves to remove our human stink, as if that was some great offense. I don't know what kind of commune you live in, but even when I get my dearest love's stink all over me, I shower.
You can't tell a cat owner that cats are evil, in the same way you can't tell mermaids that water is wet: They already know. They're constantly surrounded by evidence that contains far more urine than anybody is comfortable admitting.
"I don't even know how we go and it still stings my eyes."
One of my cats is called Neutrino, but has also been known as "bastard," "Goering," and "It's four in the morning, you imminently two-dimensional son of an anti-bitch." I've threatened to hire a vet to reattach his balls for a day just so he knows what he's lost when I cut them off again.
He was not impressed.
But here's the thing: Bad guys are cooler. Would you rather hang out with Darth Vader or Luke Skywalker? Original movie only, of course. You've got the badass strutting villain, and you've got the desperately-eager-to-please good boy who does literally whatever anyone tells him. He follows his master away from his home and into the most dangerous location in that galaxy. Cats are totally Sith. They even have shitty little micro-organisms that can affect your willpower to make your serve them. Except that that's bullshit. Or rather catshit. A University of Oxford study of over half a million cat owners found that you're more likely to be infected by eating undercooked meat than by owning a cat. Which means manly Raresteak McShirtless is more likely to be enslaved by the cat parasite than Old Mrs. O'Cattery.
Agent Smith or Neo? Colonel Quaritch or whining Jake Sully? CM Punk or John Cena? Bad guys are always fun. This doesn't mean cats are better than dogs, because that's a meaningless comparison, but we know that cats are evil. That's why we like them.
Besides, our only hope is to keep the cats sweet. If Skynet ever thinks to wrap a fur coat around a metal endoskeleton, a purring bass speaker, and laser eyes, the human resistance is screwed.
Attack the worst cat people with Avatar: 10 Reasons Everyone on Pandora Is Dead, or play Minecraft for real by designing a real Australian city on a server.
Continue your cat education with 6 Adorable Cat Behaviors With Shockingly Evil Explanations and 5 Reasons the War Between Dog and Cat People Needs to Stop.