But I’m Not a Cat Person!
With a show of hands, how many of you consider yourself “cat people”? What enables you to know you are a person who closely identifies with cats? Are you totally sure you prefer cats over dogs or any other pets?
Seems to me the answer to these questions would all have to be yes in order to proudly proclaim, " Ich bin eine Katze Person"
I cannot recall one instance in my life that I felt anything but an unnatural fear of cats. One of the definitions of ailurophobe (fear of cats) includes cringing at the mere presence of a cat. Intense anxiety is also associated with ailurophobes . Everyone who is close to me knows I’m afraid of cats, or at least they think I don’t like cats.
My best friend shares my dislike and or fear of cats, though I think between the two of us, she is much braver about facing her fear head-on. Still when we find ourselves surrounded by a cat, we both feel better knowing we share the same uncomfortable feelings.
My definition of an Adorable Kitty
No Way Anyone Dislikes Kittens
Even I cannot dislike a kitten. They are very cute to me and I often times think, ‘if they would just stay kittens, I could learn to like them.’ Of course there is no way to prevent a cute kitten from turning into a big ole scary cat, so I’m back to my original statement; I’m not a cat person.
Yes You Are!
Apparently my fear of cats stops me from seeing something that everyone else around me sees or identifies in me. Those of my friends who have owned cats or who just like cats will argue me down that I am a cat person and I just don’t know it. Seems the more I assert opposition to their belief, the more pronounced their opinions become.
“You’re a cat person”, they tell me.
“No I’m not” I respond.
“YES you are! They declare
What is it about me that make them all so confident? What type of personality is drawn to cats and vice versa?
Believe it or not I could google my question and come up with some acceptable answers. I included one example taken from a popular news provider
- How are dog people and cat people different? - CNN.com
Do you rejoice at the sound of barking but cower at a meow? Or do you look at a cat and feel an instant sibling-style connection?
How About You?
Are you afraid of cats?
My Fear – Product of Bad Experiences
This writing would not be complete if I did not share my bad experiences with felines; experiences which greatly contribute to my fear of cats.
My earliest experience centers on dear old dad. (He passed away when I was 14 years old) We were living in Philly at the time. One day I remember being called into the dining room and seeing a small box containing a kitten. Having never been around any type of animal for any length of time, we 3 girls were all nervous of this active animal. While my father seemed to enjoy the antics of his kitten, it made us uncomfortable. Had my father allowed us to adjust to the kitten at our own speed and in our own way, perhaps our apprehension would have only taken moments to vanish. However that was not the case. Just as in most experiences involving change and adaptation, my father adopted his “do it my way and do it NOW” stance. We were told to pet the kitten. We resisted, so we were ordered to do so. When we timidly stuck out our hands to touch the kitten quickly so that we could pull back our hands, my father grabbed our hands and forced us to touch the kitten for as long as he deemed appropriate. He even made us physically stroke and pet the cat.
By the time he was finished “introducing” us to the kitten, we were all scared of it. Watching it running all around our dining room, climbing the curtains, and showing its claws, did nothing but deepen the fear we felt. I was now officially scared of cats. I was tense and stressed whenever we were forced to be around it. I was happy when it was put outside to stay in our small backyard, so that I could feel safe again in my home.
The best day of my life, up to that point, was finding out the kitten was gone. Looking back on it, I wonder why someone would take all the fun out of an experience that was supposed to bring happiness. Many children look back on their first pets with fondness. Not me, I look back on our first pet as a terrifying experience.
Being an active kitten got the best of our “pet” in the end. It somehow managed to get out of our backyard and wandered into the alley. I remember looking at its remains as it looked as though it had been eaten or at least stomped by a stray dog. At least that is what we were told, that a dog probably killed it. I was not upset in the least. I felt happy that the intruder was gone.
Since none of us responded well to having the kitten, my father never again tried to force one on us. Not that he didn’t babysit a cat once or twice, just that he made sure to keep it in the basement where we didn’t have to encounter it.
My father had a cat most of his life at home with his parents. He recalled fond memories of his cat, although he also recalled an instance when his cat was hurled down the steps by my grandfather. Evidently it had the misfortune to release gas while the family was eating. My grandfather responded with anger and violence. My father said the cat did not die however. I remember concluding from that horrible experience that cats must be stronger than they look.
Growing Older and More Afraid
I never seemed to outgrow my fear of cats. It seemed to me whenever I was around a cat, I attracted their interest. To this very day, I am well aware that a cat will go out of its way to come near me, if I am in any way close to it. The rubbing itself against my legs is what I hate the most, so that is of course what they all seem to want to do when I am near.
I finally began describing to my family and friends what it would do to me if a cat ever jumped on my lap. People who just don’t like cats would usher the cat away from them even if it meant picking up the cat and placing it on the floor.
If a cat jumped on my lap, I would sit there almost hysterical, screaming for someone to get it off me, so that I wouldn’t have to touch it. I think that falls into the abnormal fear category.
My sister and I have actually been chased by a cat as young kids. In retrospect I wonder if it thought we were playing a game with it. We took off running from the cat and the cat in turn took off chasing us. We ran screaming to our family car and jumped in just before the cat reached our car and dove underneath it. We sat petrified, as if the cat would somehow be smart enough to open the car door and shout, "BOO" at us. It ended up being just another reason for me to be afraid of cats.
The Cat That Helped Me Out
The closest I came to developing a warm feeling for any cat, was the cat that I ended up feeding while I lived in rural southeast Illinois. This place we called home for nearly 3 years was a town basically built on corn fields. With corn fields come plenty of mice. The only thing that scares me more than cats of course, are mice. Since mice only need an opening the size of a quarter to gain entrance into a home, we had plenty of mice wherever we lived.
I was told cats keep mice away, so to encourage one to hang around we started preparing a tray of milk and water for her. It worked, in fact she brought a friend and in no time our field mouse problem disappeared.
I never touched the cat, but I did regularly feed it, and even said hello to it on a regularly basis, as my appreciation for her mouse hunting skills increased.
She became my security blanket, knowing she was outside keeping the scary mice away made me feel much safer and comfortable. I actually appreciated the cat, something I never thought I would feel about such animals.
Will I Ever Become a Cat Person?
Given my propensity to overreact when a cat comes near me, I wonder if I will ever see what others see in their feline friends. I refer to that undiscovered part of myself as the cat lover in hiding. The child who probably would have grown to love cats had she been given a chance to appreciate them without any type of force.
My husband, to this day says I would love a cat, that it would fit my personality perfectly. One day I would love to discover my inner cat. For now though, I still am not a cat person.