Some people profess to dislike cats because they are "sneaky, conniving and cunning." However, given some time living with a cat, these same qualities will serve to endear the little beasts to the former "cat-hater." Unless someone has severe allergies or long-term phobias, it is difficult to resist a cunning little bit of fluff that has just sneaked into your lap and is purring up a storm. Distrust of motivations usually fly out the window at that point, and you'll find yourself hooked, as forum members will attest to:
" --my husband only had dogs and birds when he was a kid, and was initially resistant to the idea of cats. But when we finally did get first one cat, and then two, and now three, he was first charmed and now absolutely besotted with them. (In fact, he sometimes plots to swipe the younger daughter's two cats--only in jest, but it's pretty funny)."
"I hear what you're saying - people can change, and people can find out later in life that they love cats. Believe me, I know about that last one. I didn't grow up with cats, never really thought about having a cat until one was basically foisted upon me, and now I'm nuts about them."
Is it a Societal Thing?
On the other hand, this "Dogs are from Mars; Cats are from Venus" perception could be cultural in nature. Society seems to perceive cats as pets for women and dogs as male companions. Certainly, no domestic cat will ever reach the proportions of a Great Dane or St. Bernard. (Thank Heavens or we'd be in a great deal of trouble!) However, is size the issue? Certainly a guy wouldn't (or shouldn't) feel any more studly with a Chihuahua on a leash as opposed to--say, a nice Bengal cat. Here's the take of a couple of forum members:
"Yesterday, my husband and I went to Pet World to get some cat food and litter. As I was in line to check out, he came over to me and asked, "why is it, that they always show little boys with dogs, and little girls with cats?", and it occurred to me that, in our society there's an automatic assumption that cats are for women, and dogs are for men. Do you think I'm off base in that?"
"I believe some of men's dislike of and abuse of cats is a projection of their feelings toward women. And then there's the thing of associating cats with witches, who are independent women, and all the religious fervor against them. That's been passed down through our culture and is in the collective subconscious."
"I am very pleased when I meet or know of men who like cats. And some do surprise me, men who don't look like they would like cats, with a softer interior than they show on the outside."
What Kind of Man Is He?
What kind of guy, then, is this cat lover? He looks like any other man: tall, short, "buff," slender, pudgy, youthful or mature. You probably wouldn't be able to pick him out of a crowd. But if you talked to him for awhile, you'd find that he has an ingrained sense of self, without being arrogant, and that he has the ability to laugh at himself (absolutely necessary when owned by a cat). Although he may "own them," he doesn't need the typical entrapments of masculinity. He is his own person, and generally is looked up to by others. He may even be macho in appearance, but he retains a sensitivity that surfaces at unexpected times.
He isn't threatened by cats, feels no need to lord over them, and loves them for the very independence that some other men find intimidating. He may drive a long haul truck, design aircraft or rule over boardrooms during the day, but he comes home to cuddle and coo with his furball the minute he enters the house, and he's not embarrassed to admit it. He pretty much resembles the guy I married, our sons, or Gary, Dave, Carl, and any of the other men on the Cats forum, and he's "one up" on other men for that reason.