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Thread: Why do cats have such a bad reputation?

  1. #1
    practical experience, FTW newmod's Avatar
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    Why do cats have such a bad reputation?

    Out of curiosity, does anyone know how cats came by their negative reputation? "They´re treacherous, unfriendly, mercenary, show no affection, have no loyalty ..." and so on. I hear this frequently and always have to take arms against a sea of ignorance.

    Do you come across this much?

    I suppose the origin is because dogs are perceived as better "companions" and "friends". I like dogs (well the ones that aren´t dangerous ) but often find them intrusive and almost clingy. One of the things I like about cats is that they are independent. Also they tend to have better breath than dogs, at least in my experience

    Also, a second question, do you have a preferred animal/breed and why?

    Cheers,
    newmod

  2. #2
    I need espresso & chocolate! DeborahM's Avatar
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    I love the American Curl's. They are a cross between the siamese and tabby's. I've had two come across my path. They are loyal, loving, and both of them (males) came when I called them.

    I've had other breeds, mostly mixed, which have the independent streak and lack of affection.

    Lucky was neutered at a young age, which probably adds to his being so loving, but I noticed a perfune smell in his coat I just love to bury my face into.

    I used to raise welsh corgi's. Great breed! Considering one of each to be raised together in the future, if I lose Lucky. Of course the cat would have to be another American Curl.
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  3. #3
    practical experience, FTW newmod's Avatar
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    I think I may have just answered my own first question in a post I put in the catnip thread.

    As cats are more effective at hunting and killing this is probably another reason people dont like them. But my 2 now couldnt kill a anything, Im sure. Theyre hopless predators.

    In fact only one of the four cats Ive had was in any way a predator. Mmm, are cats the Great White of the (semi) domesticated animal world???

  4. #4
    Banned gromhard's Avatar
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    Well the history of cat/human relationships is interesting. In Egypt I'm sure you all know, cats were considered sacred, especially to the cat headed goddess Bast.
    In Europe, during the dark ages, cats were thought to be evil(I've never heard exactly HOW this superstition started though) so they killed all the cats and then had plague mice infest them.
    Currently I meet people all the time who hate cats. Generally they're people who lack compassion, in my experience. They can't abide that a cat has self respect. They like the shallowness, eager to please servitude of a dog. They like the slobbering tongue and the way a dog will do whatever is commanded of him.
    As they're that type of person usually the cats they've come in contact with have been mean to them. My two cats(dead now rest their souls) were very skittish, they were affraid of new people, so when I'd have someone over and they saw the cats scurry under a bed then they'd take it personally. As if the cats were putting on aires.
    They just didn't understand cats.

  5. #5
    Robert Toy
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    Everyone knows it’s a dog driven conspiracy, no truth to it at all.

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    here for a minute...catch me? P.H.Delarran's Avatar
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    i always figured that because they are more independent than canines, felines fail to feed some people's need to be superior, needed, some even worshipped. this ticks some people off.
    but i find them affectionate, smart, and just plain nice to pet...purrrrrr.

    dogs can be so annoying. pant pant scratch sniff lick drool. ewww.
    shhh. don't tell Stanley i said that (my dachshund).
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  7. #7
    Robert Toy
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    That’s okay, Dachshunds are really cats with a hormone problem.

  8. #8
    Salt water is the cure oarsman's Avatar
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    Here's a couple of things I think add to their bad reputation:

    1. Black cat - associated with bad luck
    2. Halloween / Haunted houses -- cats add to the image of mystery and fear.
    3. Myths such as "cats smother babies" -- this is not true
    4. Television -- cats are shown as the evil element in some cartoons: Sylvester, the Siamese cats in Lady & the Tramp, etc. Dogs are usually the heros.

    We have a friend that is afraid of cats. If our cats go near her, she will leave the room. Our cats sense her fear. When she is over our house, our cats walk into the room and stare at her. She tries to shoo the cats away, but they ignore her....that makes our friend even more afraid of them (By the way, she doesn't visit often). I think her fear comes from the independent nature of the cat. Cats don't react like dogs do. They quietly enter a room (normally), observe, and don't have the predictability of dogs. It makes some people assume that they're "up to something evil".

  9. #9
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    I guess I've never thought much about cats having a bad rep.

    What many people don't seem to grasp is that animals are "animals". Depending on their circumstances, you may never see the other side of them, but I promise you, it is there.

    Our cat is a loving pet. He is also a miniature killer/predator. When you think of a cat hunting mice, think of a lion and its prey. The only difference is the size. Ours can go from being a loving ball of fur cuddled up on the end of my daughter's bed, to a hunter in a New York second. Thats one reason I don't like the idea of people declawing a cat. If, for any reason, they are ever on their own for food, their death warrant has been signed if they have no claws.

    Dogs are the same as far as the pet/animal thing goes. If you have one, you have a pet. If you have two, you have a pack. The larger the dogs in the pack and the larger the pack, the more trouble they can get into.

    If I'm not mistaken, laws are different in many places as regards dogs and cats and liability, etc. People can usually be fined for their dogs getting out and being destructive, but its different for cats since they are considered predators and therefore it is their "nature" to be out and about hunting, making it harder to keep them "up".

    I love cats, but the one thing I detest about them is the rubbing around the ankles thing. I can't stand it. Some do it a lot, others not so much. We've been lucky in that ours rarely do that.

    Ever notice how many writers have cats?
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    Not harboring illegal parrot awatkins's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by oarsman
    3. Myths such as "cats smother babies" -- this is not true.
    I knew someone once who swore this was true. I had a beautiful Russian Blue named Smoky when my daughter was born and my friend nearly had a heart attack because I wouldn't get rid of the cat. "It'll smother that baby!" she said over and over. My daughter is now 28 years old, so somehow she managed to survive that 'murderous' cat. *sigh*

    Has anybody ever heard of a case where a cat smothered a baby? I never have!

    And, Fern, yes. It certainly seems that many writers have cats.

  11. #11
    Banned davids's Avatar
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    They are independant little creatures who use us only for their daily whims-it pisses most of us off that they don't really give a damn

    We have a Fox Terrier who chases rabbits and we believe he thinks they are sex toys

  12. #12
    Robert Toy
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    Quote Originally Posted by davids
    They are independant little creatures who use us only for their daily whims-it pisses most of us off that they don't really give a damn

    We have a Fox Terrier who chases rabbits and we believe he thinks they are sex toys
    Both sound a lot like humans, different sexes.

    Oh boy, thats going to get me in trouble.

  13. #13
    figuring it all out KatyaFleur's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by awatkins
    Has anybody ever heard of a case where a cat smothered a baby? I never have!
    Goodness, no. I always suspected that this story was an old wives' tale that was invented to explain the mystery of SIDS. I agree that this belief probably is one root of cats' undeserved reputation.

    Well, I've done my part. My husband admits that I (and my cat) have changed his mind about cats forever. (I expect my kitty's charm takes most of the credit.) Now, despite his allergy to cat dander, he wants to adopt more of them! No objections from me...

    Katya

  14. #14
    Salt water is the cure oarsman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by KatyaFleur
    Goodness, no. I always suspected that this story was an old wives' tale that was invented to explain the mystery of SIDS. I agree that this belief probably is one root of cats' undeserved reputation.
    You got my curiosity going (and I know that "curiosity killed the cat"). I did some quick research. I found that in 1791, a coroner's court in England delivered a verdict that "a baby had been killed by a cat sucking out its breath". The real cause was more likely SIDS, which wasn't recognized at that time. Some other SIDS cases were blamed on the cat after 1791. So, I guess that might be how the myth got started.

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    Not harboring illegal parrot awatkins's Avatar
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    Interesting. Thanks, Oarsman!

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    practical experience, FTW
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    Quote Originally Posted by P.H.Delarran
    i find them affectionate, smart, and just plain nice to pet
    dogs can be so annoying.
    I've had both as pets/companions and general wardrobe/furniture destroyers. I found the cats just as affectionate (and sometimes neurotically jealous) as the dogs.

    I have not yet had a cat that attempted to shag my leg in company, however..

  17. #17
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    Regarding the cat smothering the baby thing, I've also heard it all my life. It was more a "stealing the breath" kind of smothering, rather than lying over the baby or anything of that sort. What my Dad used to say was - think about it. . .babie have milk breath so the cat is probably up there in their face smelling their breath and parents, seeing the cat right in the baby's face, freak out, imagining whatever.

    That said, it really isn't a good idea to leave any cat or dog in the room alone with a baby, especially a newborn.
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    practical experience, FTW newmod's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by oarsman
    1. Black cat - associated with bad luck
    But in Britain and Japan a black cat is good luck. Throughout most (all?) of continental Europe bad luck.

    Superstitions are funny things. In Britain/North America Friday the 13th is bad, in Spain Tuesday 13th.

  19. #19
    practical experience, FTW newmod's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by oarsman
    You got my curiosity going (and I know that "curiosity killed the cat").
    Ah, but remember "satisfaction brought him back". Interpret that as you wish.

  20. #20
    Seanachie johnnysannie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fern
    Regarding the cat smothering the baby thing, I've also heard it all my life. It was more a "stealing the breath" kind of smothering, rather than lying over the baby or anything of that sort. What my Dad used to say was - think about it. . .babie have milk breath so the cat is probably up there in their face smelling their breath and parents, seeing the cat right in the baby's face, freak out, imagining whatever.

    That said, it really isn't a good idea to leave any cat or dog in the room alone with a baby, especially a newborn.
    I've always heard that "cats will suck babies' breath" and although I know very well that it is not true, we had no house cats until my kids were past the baby stage!
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  21. #21
    figuring it all out KatyaFleur's Avatar
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    Good research, Oarsman! That's interesting.

    I did hear one very interesting story about a cat saving a baby--can't remember where I saw this, but I remember one family being interviewed because they discovered their baby had stopped breathing in time to get help and save the baby's life. They discovered it in time because the family cat, who liked to hang out in the nursery, got freaked out and started yowling like all-get-out. (I'm with Fern, though--I wouldn't leave any pet alone with a newborn. But it sure made a good story.)

    Katya

  22. #22
    Midnight Reading MidnightMuse's Avatar
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    Fern's right. We heard that SO often in the Veterinary clinics - that cats smother babies.

    It's not true.

    But it IS true that the myth started going around because Babies have breath that smells like warm milk, so it's not unheard of to find a cat sleeping next to a baby's head, or even leaning over to have a wiff. Even licking baby food off Jr.'s face.

    But they don't smother anyone. Except one I had as a kid who enjoyed sleeping across my throat when I'd nap on the couch -- but he was just trying to cut off the blood flow to my head

    I love all animals, and would adore having dogs, but since I work and spend 8 hours a day gone from the house, I prefer to keep cats because of their independence. But they still snuggle on the couch, love to see me come home, talk a lot, play and believe life exists to have a good time and sleep.

  23. #23
    Not harboring illegal parrot awatkins's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MidnightMuse

    ...but he was just trying to cut off the blood flow to my head
    Oh. Well that's different.

  24. #24
    Salt water is the cure oarsman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by newmod
    But in Britain and Japan a black cat is good luck. Throughout most (all?) of continental Europe bad luck.

    Superstitions are funny things. In Britain/North America Friday the 13th is bad, in Spain Tuesday 13th.
    I've had more bad Tuesdays than Fridays. Even the 13th is not bad on a Friday.

    El gato negro-
    If you name your black cat with a British or Japanese name, then you must get good luck! Right?

    I've always heard the tale that cats have nine-lives...it is different in Spain, right? Don't they have less lives in Spain?

  25. #25
    practical experience, FTW newmod's Avatar
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    You have reason (as it goes in Spanish) here cats only have seven lives

    Well, in reality I suspect they have one, just like everywhere else. But I could be wrong ..
    Last edited by newmod; 08-10-2006 at 07:29 AM.

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