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Huffington Post: Sorry, But Your Cat is a Jerk. It’s Science.

January 24, 2014

Why do people constantly feel like they need to put cats down? I simply don’t get it.

While that really isn’t anything new, I still get a little upset when people say certain things, like when the Huffington Post ran this post: Sorry, But Your Cat Is Actually A Total Jerk. It’s Just Science.

The post is full of intentionally inflammatory claims, which is probably why they decided to run it — because it would stir up controversy and conversation. Nonetheless, it’s frustrating to see these lies being validated by being posted online. Yes, I’m definitely taking this post too seriously, but maybe someone needs to. As we’ve talked about before, cats already have a bad rap — there’s no need for the Huffington Post to make things worse for them.

Anyway, here’s a quick look at some of their claims — and my immediate thoughts after reading them. What do you think? How have you reacted to some of these statements? Please share in the comments!

Claim: Your cat hears you, but she won’t do what you tell her to.

Not to play the obvious card, but no kidding. This claim goes on to pit dogs’ willingness to please you against cats, and I don’t think that’s fair. By and large, some pets are simply more responsive than others. A dog may be more responsive than a cat, but a cat may be more responsive than a hamster. I don’t think judging a pet’s responsiveness is a fair way to judge if he or she is a jerk. It just doesn’t make sense.

The author expands on this by explaining, “Cats have not evolved enough to become domesticated enough to obey human’s orders.” OK, well there you go. If they really believe cats aren’t domesticated enough to respond to us, then why are we even making this an issue? Following this train of logic, if they can’t respond to us, there’s no way they could do what we wanted them to do anyway.

That said, I absolutely believe that some cats can be tremendously responsive. They may not always come or sit on command, but I can’t tell you how greatly my cats are clued in to what I’m doing. You may say they are responsive because I fed them and give them affection. Exactly. Isn’t that why all creatures respond to us — because of some sort of benefit to them? Sorry guys, I don’t buy this claim.

Claim: Some cats actually hate the only thing they’re good for: cuddling.

And here’s another goofy claim. Yes, some cats do get stressed out from petting — it’s called overstimulation. It’s one reason why some cats don’t have great relationships with their owners (because the owner doesn’t understand it); it’s also another reason why some cats end up in shelters. It’s not the cat’s fault, it’s just life. Just like how some people like to crowded places, and others need their own space.

Anyway, I think it’s just silly to say that a cat is only good for cuddling. Cats are clever, creative, aware creatures that make great companions. The cuddling is just a major bonus.

Claim: Just because a cat rubs against you doesn’t mean it likes you.

This one really bugged me because of how they twisted the science to make it what they wanted it to be. We know that when a cat rubs up against you, it’s his way of marking you as his. This can certainly be interpreted and described in different ways. For cat people, it’s endearing. Obviously for the author who needed another claim for this post, it was an opportunity to flip the viewpoint.

Claim: Your antisocial cat may not even be the smartest pet in your house.

Here the author argues that dogs may be more intelligent than cats because they know how to make friends. Sure you could make the argument that dogs may be more social animals (for a variety of reasons), but that doesn’t mean that cats are *not* social.

Claim: One of your cat’s favorite ways to “kiss” is through a distant gaze you probably don’t even know she’s giving.

How does this make your cat a jerk? Just because people may not understand this language doesn’t mean that it’s the cat’s fault. Let’s say you somehow befriended a Frenchman who didn’t speak an iota of English, and you didn’t speak a bit of French. If he ever told you “Je t’aime” (I love you) would it make it any less real because you couldn’t understand it? No. He’s communicating his feelings the only way he can know how — it’s the same with cats. Yet another claim I filed under “phooey.”

Claim: If you die alone with your cat, it won’t hesitate to eat you.

OK, well they got me on this one. Apparently, if you died alone in your house, all it would take is a few days for a pet to resort to eating the owner’s body. This is called “postmortem predation,” and you know what? It totally makes sense. Now, if Ellie tried to eat me in my sleep, that would be another issue!

Oh well, thanks everyone for letting me share some of my thoughts again. I don’t mean to get anyone riled up, but I couldn’t help but respond after reading this post. I know not everyone will be a cat lover, and that’s OK. But the more we can do to get the truth out there, the more likely people will be able to make informed decisions — one step at a time!

How do you feel when a post like this comes your way? How do you respond to people who make similar comments like those in the Huffington Post piece? Please share in the comments!

7 Comments leave one →
  1. January 25, 2014 3:30 pm

    Just another one of those stupid cats vs. dogs articles. If you wanted to, you could write an equally stupid one about dogs. This person is a dog lover, and in fact has no science to back up stupid claims. Each animal and each person is different, and yes, there are differences between species, and that’s just the way of the world. I have a friend with a pet cow and another with a pet goat, and they love their animals, too, but DON’T expect the cow and the goat to act like dogs!!!!!

  2. Lizzie permalink
    January 26, 2014 8:09 am

    I live with 15 cats, five of which are brain damaged and three of those are blind. Every single one of my cats will respond to their names, eagerly. Some will just lift their heads, kinda like “what mom”. Some will come running, or wobbling over as in Ziggys case : ) They all know come here, they all know the NO word, and it’s not OUR no word, it’s theirs and they all know it. I go into clients homes, their cats all respond to their names, and are mostly all loving and want attention, ok some take a while to warm up to me, but they all come around. They all know their names and will respond to them. That’s all good and fine, now look into a cats eyes and tell me she isn’t communicating with you.

  3. Brian permalink
    January 26, 2014 2:09 pm

    All my cats come when I call them, one of them, Moogles will call back so I dont shut the door in a very specific tone all the while while running to me. The article in question is simply another hipster trying to get notoriety from attacking something popular on the internet.

  4. January 27, 2014 6:38 pm

    I totally understand your frustration, especially when this article is taken in the anti-cat context of our society, but I know when I first read this article, I took it tongue-in-cheek, and it made me laugh! Some of the ‘claims’ are more absurd than others, but all of them are being interpreted in a way to suggest that cats are jerks. Sometimes I say my cat is a jerk, but that doesn’t change how much I love her; I understand why she’s behaving a certain way, and that she’s not a ‘jerk’ in the way that we think of rude or unkind people as jerks. I guess what I want to say is, take heart! People who love cats aren’t going to be swayed by this article, though they may giggle a little when one of those points hits close to home!

  5. Roz permalink
    January 28, 2014 1:54 am

    Here in New Zealand there is a man by the name of Gareth Morgan who is extremely vocal with his (low) opinion of cats – to the point of saying all cat parents (yes I say parent too!) should not replace their cats when they die, therefore the population of
    cats in the country will eventually disappear. How sad that the Huffington Post article does nothing to diminish the sadly stereotypical presumptions of those who are missing the enjoyment that comes with understanding your family members better! So you cat doesn’t do what you “tell” her? Does your spouse, or teenager? Didn’t think so!

  6. Carolina permalink
    January 28, 2014 3:23 am

    I think the main issue with this article is the ‘scientific’ claim as I see no evidence of science. The problem with comparing cats behaviour to that of dogs is that the evolutionary reasons for each of the animals developing a bond with humans is completely different. Dogs became valuable partners for hunting and then farming. They provided a degree of safety and warmth at night and in return humans fed and sheltered them. As time went on, people began to selectively breed for the characteristics they desired, such as natural instinct and obedience. Obviously, they went the other way too and bred just for looks and cuteness! Cats on the other hand, took care of the rodents and again, as a reward, humans would provide them with food and shelter. Cats also underwent selective breeding for looks, and temperament but to my knowledge no cat has ever been bred for obedience. This is probably because cats are good at doing what they do without needing instruction from us! When assessing the intelligence of any animal we have to look at what they were bred for or what niche they fill. Essentially, trying to compare dogs and cats is like comparing apples and oranges. Cats are incredible animals, just because they don’t tend to obey commands (although I do have a cat, Miley, who will sit and ‘beg’ when asked) doesn’t mean they aren’t intelligent or not domesticated enough. It’s a ridiculous claim as are most of the other claims in this article. I could go on as this sort of thing, evolution and domestication of animals, is a real passion of mine! This article has obviously been written by someone who has actually done no research at all so how they can claim its science I don’t know! While I’m no expert I have a science degree, majoring in genetics and minoring in evolution and zoology, my passion for ALL animals then saw me make the change to vet nursing. I find it frustrating that people will claim a scientific basis to something when there is none. I would be less annoyed if they did this in fun than claiming it’s science.

  7. Shoshanna Crumpler permalink
    February 7, 2014 10:00 am

    ” Of all God’s creatures, there is only one who cannot be made the slave of the lash. That one is the cat. If man could be crossed with the cat it would improve man, but deteriorate the cat. ”
    ~ Mark Twain 1894

    Elvis read the Huffington article and had no comment because he was laughing hysterically.

    If the writer wants a companion who provides unconditional approval and affection, a Labrador, and possibly a blow-up doll, will do the job.

    If not meant as satire, the writer is incredibly speciest.

    If you don’t like cats, don’t live with one. You won’t be missing anything, and neither will kitty.


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