As young women leave the family home and strike off on their own, it’s only natural that they seek out small domestic comforts. In college or else when they move to the big city to try out a career, there is a longing for companionship. Cat ownership is the gauze that often fills that void. Felines appear reliable and easy to maintain. They never leave the home and girls, so anxious for a relationship in which they are not readily cast aside, appreciate the unconditional devotion of a pet. But can a cat truly substitute for the rightful, loving bonds that a man provides? Are young people setting themselves up for a future of problematic human interactions by letting such a creature become the chief object of their domestic emotions?
As has been discussed many times before, cat ownership is a tricky proposition for Christians. Human beings have been entrusted with the stewardship of the lesser beasts on God’s earth. As Genesis 1:26 makes clear, “Then God said, Let us make man in our image, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth and over all the creatures that move along the ground.” In other words, we are meant to hold dominion over this world. Animals have been provided to help humans, to be of service or sustenance. It is a form of slavery for us to be beholden to their whims and fancies. Cats are notorious for demanding much from their owners and creating an atmosphere of “animal kingdom” dominance on the home front. Unlike dogs, they contribute almost nothing in terms of service. They willfully damage their surrounding environments, tearing papers to shreds and urinating everywhere. The only time a feline will show any affection or obedience towards a master is when it craves food.
In small apartments and shared rented houses across this nation, many women (and even some men) have given themselves over to cat ownership. As a recent article in the New York Times makes clear (see “Cat People Are People, Too”), these are often females of ambition, striving aggressively to push ahead in the work world. For them, their pet is a familiar face, a stabilizing force. The cat is the antithesis of the wild, competitive atmosphere they approach with attitude and demands outside of the home. When these women dare to bring a man back to their premises, however, the feline instantly feels threatened. It will embark on a series of schemes that seem almost intentionally planned to harass the man. At first the cat shuns the new visitor, as if he’s dangerous or diseased, and the woman will find it odd that her wise pet has taken such a severe disliking towards her nice male friend. Then it will leap onto the man’s lap at the most inappropriate of moments, declaring its dominance over any intimate situation. The cat is not afraid of using its sharp claws on silk ties or expensive cotton slacks. It will enjoy leaving deep scratches on a guest’s arms that itch for days. They will hiss and spray. And when the man is finally driven out by all that mischief, he takes with him a reminder of the little beast in the form of allergenic shedddings stuck to every fiber of his clothes. Women often seem surprised that men do not return for other visits, but little do they know of the true battle that was secretly waged in their very homes.
As a consequence of all of this unspoken hostility, many women find themselves spending more and more time away from their cats in their mid to late 20s. They have struggled through a series of relationships that failed to blossom, success may have cruelly alluded them yet ambition still ravages their brains. Alcohol and nights out with friends are an easy answer. With no foundation of family or church to care for their needs, bars and clubs becomes their principal houses of worship. No, there is no true Redeemer to pray to in these places. Instead, it’s fruity cocktails and shirtless men, harsh disco music and bathroom secrets. Their escape is the escape of loud shrieks and horrific laughter escaping from their lungs! The sweaty, skanky embrace of an unknown man against a back wall, a boozy tongue darting deeper and deeper, the clack of heels on a sidewalk shaking you awake to the fact that you’re now completely alone… The cat may not be the chief cause of these depressing scenarios, but it is certainly an aggravating factor. Overall, this sad fate is emblematic of the overly complicated and independent mentality of certain types of women, a mentality that drives them to a dangerous mix of cities, cats and promiscuity.
For men who seek comfort in pets, felines lay out an odd trap. The animal’s ambivalence and brooding confuses basic masculine instincts. It forces owners to spend more time at home pondering the queer dilemma of cat ownership. As this situation compounds over time, the man unwittingly adopts an elderly lifestyle. He becomes homebound and introverted, pursuing work as a freelancer, computer operator or graphic designer– anything that keeps him within his warm confines most hours of the day. It is no surprise to find this sort of fellow sleeping on a couch or wearing slippers at three in the afternoon. He has crafted his flannel wardrobe around a sheltered, cat-like existence, napping anywhere anytime, prowling the odd corners of his apartment, approaching his windows to simply stare out into nothingness for minutes on end (or else to smoke a cigarette, there is an odd correlation between males who own cats and males who smoke cigarettes). Like his cat, he will eat in small portions from little cans or containers (yoghurt, pâté, cheese). He may grow inordinately serpentine and lackadaisical, stretching out in small patches of sunlight, scratching his parts while deep in thought, avoiding shaving razors and hot showers. Unsurprisingly, male cat owners form the majority of their amorous connections on the internet. Even less shocking, very few of these men are heterosexual.
As cat-owning women grow out of their period of boisterous career pursuits, they begin to mimic their pet’s solitary lifestyle. As I have explored before, these coddled creatures become a halfhearted substitute for male companionship. Even worse, this corrupt codependency becomes an excuse to let oneself go physically. The woman realizes at some point that she does not need to clean herself, does not need new clothes or to groom properly, for what does her companion the kitty care? The creature may even enjoy the skanky musk of its owner. And from there, common decency and propriety are easily lost. I have seen many vile habits of cat owners in my day. Allowing these furry friends to prance across countertops and food preparation areas! Letting them lick pans on the stove or plates of butter! Some are even permitted to prowl around a dinner table after a hasty prayer. Do these people fail to comprehend that only minutes before this creature was wiping its paws across the foulest corners of their homes? In the greasy crevices beside refrigerators, the dusty spaces behind couches and radiators, through the foul damp of cellars? These whiskered wantons love nothing more than to follow the trails of diseased mice and rats! And then there are those women who sleep with their cats! Do they find some sort of fulfillment having these balls of fur seek out the warmest nooks in the bed, entrenching themselves in hollows of feminine perspiration? It’s simply wrong and foul.
For those who have had the misfortune to occupy a home with a cat, every day is a battle. If you do not have a fondness for these creatures, they sniff you out, monitor you from across the room with their cold, soulless eyes, waiting for just the right moment to taunt you. They will tear at your favorite sweater, shred the last roll of toilet paper, even urinate in unknown corners of your bedroom, terrorizing you with dried cat pee spots that will smell for weeks before you finally locate them. And what could possibly be worse than crawling into bed after a long day of work to find your feet suddenly in some chilly pool of wetness… Your sheets ruined, your mattress ruined, paranoid evermore than Chairman Meow will repeat his liquid symphony, you sleep on a hard wooden floor, your door tightly closed, a flashlight by your hand and the sound of pattering steps arousing you throughout the night! And where is the owner of that friskered little freak? Does she even care anymore? And you wonder why I left? Could it be any more obvious? How could you choose a cat over a man? Are you happy now? You cat owners are some of the most spiteful people on the planet, selfish souls who know nothing of human passion and devotion, people who deny the great responsibilities that our Lord demands of us, the beauty of love and the rewards of marriage forever beyond your comprehension.
“Hold not thy peace, O God of my praise; For the mouth of the wicked and the mouth of the deceitful are opened against me; they have spoken against me with a lying tongue. They compassed me about also with words of hatred; and fought against me without a cause. For my love they are my adversaries; but I give myself unto prayer. And they have rewarded me evil for good, and hatred for my love. Set thou a wicked man over him; and let SATAN stand at his right hand. When he shall be judged, let him be condemned; and let his prayer become sin.” –Psalms 109:1-7