For thousands of years, cats have maintained unique relationships with humans. In this time they have been “domesticated”, they have been worshipped and they have featured as an intrinsic part of modern suburbia. Despite this, the emotional and complex depth of these animals is rarely acknowledged and as a result they can be viewed as merely sullen and morose, especially compared to dogs. Behold, an article written by a cat lover, promoting their virtues.
There are many things that define cats. They’ll chase anything, sleep all day and if you’re lucky, deliver freshly caught rodents or birds and either eat them or decide they’d look lovely as a household feature. Cats saturate the internet, superimposed against a millennial culture that reveres memes as an opiate of sorts. In turn, they have been embraced as the unofficial mascot of the internet.
To really understand what these fantastic felines are all about, it is worth noting man’s best friend; the happy go lucky quadrupedal behemoth heartthrob of the nuclear family – yes, the dog. Dogs are mostly sociable, obedient, and affectionate and so are usually thought to be more intelligent and likeable. However, this assumption is based upon incorrect assumptions of a dog’s personality and endeavours with a conjectured leap. Dogs tend to be affectionate towards most people they come into contact with, but this is not because they are intrinsically loveable, it is because they are fickle. But cats are calculated when it comes to showing their affection and it must be earned through a rigorous process after which the cat may deem you worthy of its time. So when a cat allows you into its clique, it’s pretty damn special.
Dogs, as pack animals, do not have the independence and foresight that cats exude tremendously. Cats do not need us and they sure as anything will not linger only to be neglected. The depth of the feline personality is often perceived as prude and snobby with an unwelcoming demeanour. But often it is the blunt and honest behavior, which warms the heart of many. Cats may be seen as a representation of people but instead not clad with all the social and personal requisites that complicate our lives. They know what they want, they know how to get it and they seem to just enjoy the fleeting nature of life as they sleep and eat through all the drama. That friend you have who is direct and abrupt was probably a cat in their former life, just saying.
This intrinsic difference between cats and dogs has been noted before. Ernest Hemmingway’s observations and personal accounts of the Lost Generation in Paris were poignant and introspective, and it appears Hemingway mustered something similar for the feline kind too, as he wrote:
“A cat has absolute emotional honesty: human beings, for one reason or another, may hide their feelings, but a cat does not.”– Ernest Hemingway
“If animals could speak, the dog would be a blundering outspoken fellow; but the cat would have the rare grace of never saying a word too much.”– Mark Twain
The question of whether cats are domesticated is uncertain but the most recent offering dependent on archaeological research is that our feline friends are actually semi-domesticated, this became apparent in 2014 when a team of researches made some startling discoveries about the domestication of these wonderful creatures. With this considered it becomes more apparent that cats are an evocative species who have allowed themselves to enjoy the merits of a supposed domesticated lifestyle, without ever having been fully domesticated.
I’m not suggesting that the feline kind boast an intelligence on par with Coricopat or Macavity, but merely to highlight the rarely acknowledged depth of a species who have revelled in the popular sphere of culture, solidifying themselves as the enigmatic heartthrob of modern life. Their personalities can range from sullen and morose to eccentric and downright annoying and yet it is this exact trait that makes cats so special and unique. They are similar to us in many ways and yet vastly different. Maybe next time you’re in the company of a cat take a moment to perhaps consider them as more than just the family novelty, I’m sure they already have a million judgements about you.