The Bizarre Effort To Brand Cats And Dogs According To Political Ideology

In one of my favorite South Park episodes, Kyle’s father Gerald uproots his family and moves to San Francisco because, he explains, he can no longer stand the narrow minded, gas-guzzler-driving, gun owning people of South Park.

He throws a party in his San Fran townhouse, inviting his new neighbors who all have multi-hyphenate last names and a habit of speaking with their eyes closed, settling into deeply self-satisfied reverie as they literally savor the smell of their own farts.

“Can you believe those morons in Texas just executed another prisoner?” one of Gerald’s new neighbors says, tooting into an empty wine glass before raising it to his nose like an aromatic vintage and taking a deep, enthusiastic huff. “Things are just so much more progressive in San Francisco.”

While reading this article about the Portland metro area boasting the highest percentage of single cat-owning men in the country (more than twice the percentage here in New York, and almost three times more than Miami), I couldn’t help but picture some of the men in the story as crudely drawn South Park characters, inhaling air biscuits as they associate an animal with their politics.

“I think it makes sense because it’s a more progressive part of the country,” one of the men told the Seattle Times as he tried to explain Portland’s high percentage of single “cat daddies.” “I think there’s more freedom to not be ‘toxically masculine’ in this part of the country.”

Because we can’t help but ruin everything with politics in this country, the effort to drag cats and dogs into the left-right divide has been picking up steam in recent years, aided by click-seeking media.

Republicans Are Dog People, While Democrats Prefer Cats,” reads a Business Insider headline. “What our cats and dogs say about our politics,” reads another from the Washington Post. Time magazine quizzed 220,192 readers on their politics and pet preferences, concluding: “It’s True, Liberals Like Cats More Than Conservatives Do.”

The alleged political divide over companion animals has been the subject of research papers in psychology and veterinary journals, and pets are now routinely included in the ideologically-motivated invective that saturates social media. Conservatives are portrayed as poor, shotgun-toting rednecks driving beat-up pickups covered in Gadsden flags while their faithful but stupid dogs hang their heads out of the windows, trailing globs of drool.

Liberals, meanwhile, are portrayed as unmarried middle age women who spend their Saturday nights on their couches with pints of Ben & Jerry’s and their feminine, useless cats, bemoaning their lack of relationships.

The incels and pick-up game “artists” have even gotten in on it.

“Only a cat-owning bitch would complain to the police about a f—ing joke,” manosphere influencer Andrew Tate raged in a 2022 video after one of his intentionally inflammatory social media posts provoked a stronger response than he anticipated. “Who calls the police on a f—ing joke? Cat owners. Cat owners are liberals. Cat owners believe in hate speech. Cat owners are Democrats. Cat owners are dickheads!”

Tate, by the way, has been rotting in a Romanian prison since December after he was arrested and accused of running a human trafficking ring that exploited young women. Tate, his brother and their associates lured the victims with declarations of love and promises to get married. Once the young women arrived in Romania, the country’s authorities said, Tate and his crew would confiscate their passports, imprison them in Tate’s mansion near Bucharest, and force them to perform sex acts on live streams for the financial benefit of the defendants.

Tate was arrested after unsuccessfully trying to troll Greta Thunberg on Twitter by showing off his expensive, gas-guzzling hypercars and bragging that he likes to eat pizza without recycling the boxes. Romanian police, who were already looking at Tate in a wider human trafficking probe, noticed the pizza boxes seen in his videos were from a local chain and moved quickly to arrest him.

Tate has lost three appeals to toss the case, which is ongoing. But the alleged human trafficker still boasts a massive and loyal online following, and as far as his fans are concerned, his words are law. If Andrew Tate says cats are the preferred pets of “liberal bitches,” then it’s true in the eyes of his fans, many of whom pay hundreds of dollars a month for an online “school” where Tate purports to teach them the finer points of masculinity.

Aside from ruining yet another one of life’s joys by dragging politics into it, I’m worried that pets will pay the price for the misguided effort to associate them with ideology.

Cats in particular are already extremely vulnerable and tend to get the brunt of abuse by proxy. That is to say, studies show men who are abusive toward women often target cats belonging to women as proxies for their anger. They associate felines with the feminine. Women target cats to harm their exes and significant others as well, but there’s a lack of statistics since men don’t usually seek help in domestic violence situations.

Likewise, sitting on porches while drinking beer and shooting at critters who happen by is practically an official sport in some parts of the country. As someone who has Google News alerts set up for cat-related stories, I see the same depressing stories every day: cats who die a few feet from their front doors or who make it home with BB wounds, arrows sticking out of their chests or actual gunshot wounds.

Those stories are so common, it’s difficult not to despair for the poor cats and for whatever diseased way of thinking prompts people to hurt and kill innocent animals.

Do we really want to give people more incentive to kill cats?

Do we want gun owners regaling each other with stories about how many “liberal cats” they’ve shot?

Do we want potential caretakers passing on adopting cats because they’re worried their choice of pet indicates they belong to a certain ideological tribe? After all, everything from the cars we drive and the stores we shop, to observing basic hygienic practices during a pandemic, allegedly says something about our political beliefs.

Buddy the Handsome Cat
Buddy the Cat: Not wimpy!

As for men who love cats, we already deal with absurd stereotypes. (We’re invariably described as gay, feminine and somehow not as manly as dog owners, even those of us who have hulking, muscular house tigers like Buddy!) We don’t need to encourage even more stereotypes, and in general I think we could all do with less box-checking. Life is not a Myers-Briggs test.

I know one thing for certain: cats are masters of living in the moment, and they have no patience for human nonsense like politics. They are innocent and pure. Sullying them with political associations is a disservice to these regal, wonderful animals.

24 thoughts on “The Bizarre Effort To Brand Cats And Dogs According To Political Ideology”

  1. I have three cats under my roof, a porch kitty and a carport kitty whom I feed and shelter. I have done multiple rescues, fosters, and TNRs. Also, every morning I awaken at 4AM to go out and feed and water two dozen community kitties. I also am a professor of Military History, I own firearms and know how to use them effectively, I love women in all their varied forms, and I am a rock-ribbed CONSERVATIVE.

    Liked by 3 people

      1. Yes. It’s so wrong to embrace ideas or practices that generate so much ill will, and can even lead to such senselessness as violence towards animals. I think cats are the embodiment of personal liberty. I love their independent spirit.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. Indeed. We can learn a lot from cats, who live in the moment, are unconcerned with the opinions of others, and do what they want. They are also fiercely loyal when we treat them right. Do you teach particular periods of military history, Cyril, or military history in general?

        Liked by 1 person

      3. I teach Military History from Sargon the Great to the Second Russo-Ukrainian War. My MA is in European History and my PhD is in American History. With teaching History for a generation+ now, I actually just teach it all: politics, diplomacy, economics, cultural, etc. It’s just that Military History gets the greatest focus, but even then, those studies draw in the other aspects, e.g. the current war in Ukraine is as much a cultural struggle as anything else. I’m lucky that I get to make a living do what I love. Now, if I can just dodge the faculty meetings!

        Liked by 2 people

      4. Horrible myth out there about black people and cat rescue/ tnr. There is documentary called Cat People. This rapper is obsessed with his cats. So cute to watch him talk about them.

        Liked by 2 people

      5. Yeah, the TrapKing. He’s in one of the recent documentaries about people who do TNR and rescue. Another good example of a guy fighting stereotypes about people who love cats.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Given the fact that my stated politics are “kill ’em all” I do however always vote as many people of my “class” ( yep it does exist in the UK) died for the right of me to put a cross on a piece of paper. It doesn’t matter who you vote for anyway as the enemy always gets in. My true “politics” are Peta, tabbys place and a multitude of animal rights organisations globally. Giving a voice to the voiceless is the only “politics” that matters. It should be noted that Larry at No 10 Downing Street has outlived multiple ministers so it’s pretty obvious that felines have the intelligence to associate with no political party or person. The attempt by “media’ to make a story out of this is simply a crass attempt to sell papers and make money by talking to its client class that’s all

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Long live Larry, the true head of state in the UK. The prime ministers are mere figureheads who serve Larry, seek his wisdom and enforce his will.

      I can’t claim to know much about UK politics, but it does seem like things are not as binary as they are here and as a whole it seems there’s less of an obsession with putting everyone and everything into boxes. (The bad kind with labels, not the good kind that cats like.)

      As for PETA, they get a bad rep and some of their campaigns have questionable value, but I will never forget how they were the only ones who helped me when I couldn’t get Youtube to remove several channels that featured and monetized animal abuse videos. A group of us had been reporting them for more than a year and trying to get Youtube to respond to us with no luck, but when I was able to get PETA involved, Youtube sprang into action immediately and banned the channels in question. Of course the people behind the channels soon opened up new ones and it’s a game of wack a mole, but PETA’s people really cared and walked the walk.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Andrew Tate isn’t worthy to be a turd in my cat’s litterbox. Such a fragile ego for someone who considers himself the pinnacle of masculinity. If he and his followers weren’t so toxic I’d laugh. Unfortunately he’s an influencer, even from behind bars. Not a shred of wit to be had from single minded remoras like Tate and
    his remoras. (Apologies to real remoras!)
    Re: PETA. I’m glad they backed you up, Big Buddy. Yes, PETA has problems but they do have influence. Years
    ago someone associated with the local animal control/animal shelter told me they were worried PETA would
    find out about their use of a gas chamber for euthanasia. The mere thought of PETA protesters terrified them.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I think the general rule is the more horrible the human being, the more followers they have on social media.

      All those “manosphere” guys doth protest too much. Most recently there was the case of a “manosphere” influencer and DeSantis surrogate named Jack Murphy (real name John Goldman) who extolled the virtues of “hyper masculinity” and ran an “academy” similar to Tate’s, only for someone to out him as a star of “cuckold porn” with him being the cuckold, which is essentially a death sentence for anyone who builds his brand on being Mr. Alpha. Hilarious.

      The PETA stuff involved horrific videos of people torturing baby monkeys. I’ve tried to write about it in a post here a few times and just couldn’t get through it, that’s how disturbing it is. It’s still going on but I stopped trying to get it shut down for my own mental health after feeling a sense of deep despair that I couldn’t do shit for the poor animals. All that effort and I’m not sure I even made a dent. At some point I will write about it.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. For years i heard men who own cats are gay, etc. All lies. Not that i cared what people said. Most men i know who own cats are straight. Cops. Firefighters. All the gay men i know have dogs. Not that i care if a cat owner is gay or straight. Sick of this garbage.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I wish i could find that article from about 15 years ago where Ingrid Newkirk lied about people who do tnr. She does NOT believe in tnr and said we put sick cats out into colonies. We being tnr groups all over the country. We euthanize sick ferals and have the proof on paper. She also said feral colonies starve. Another blatant lie. In other words, she thinks HEALTHY FERALS SHOULD BE PUT DOWN. This took place at a meeting at ASPCA.We told her to shove it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. There’s definitely good and bad with PETA. They’ve got some materials claiming cats can be healthy on vegan diets, which I vehemently disagree with. It’s very clear what happens to cats when they are deprived of meat, and none of it is good.

      They’ve also got some questionable stuff about the morality of keeping pets. I’m not sure if that’s the official position of PETA or some of its employees, but when it comes to the ethics of domesticating cats, that ship has sailed so I don’t see what the point is in saying it shouldn’t have happened.


      1. A VEGAN DIET!??? A dog can maybe go vegan but a cat?! Not even hardcore vegans i know would do that!! All the rescuers i know are vegetarian or vegan and they all say HELL NO!! My brother has been vegan for over 20 years and his dog will not go vegan.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. I completely agree that it’s pointless to match politics (or anything else) with particular species of pets! There are always plenty of exceptions. I’m a liberal Democrat but I find many in the Cat Blogosphere who appear to be conservative and Republican. I don’t argue with them because online arguments often explode and anyway I’m here to celebrate cats and the beauties and joys and knowledge gained by living with them. Better overall, I think, to stay friends. On another note, while I do acknowledge that Peta has done some good things for animals, they have also killed many healthy animals. Peta workers have traveled around in vans collecting animals and killing them in the vans, while promising people they would find them homes. A vet in NC testified that is what they told him, so he gave them a mom cat and two kittens to rehome. Their bodies, along with those of many other animals, were later found in a fast food place’s dumpster.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. There’s a really good first person account from a veterinarian who put her cat on a vegetarian diet in the 1970s, before it was common knowledge that doing so would harm them. She described in detail exactly what happened to her cat. (The cat wasn’t permanently harmed, once the vet realized what was going on, she put the kitty back on meat.)

      I will try to find it, because it’s a really good read directly from someone who saw the effects firsthand.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. The most cat-obsessed person I ever met was a a very macho Army veteran who had spent his tour doing ordnance disposal – one of the most dangerous military jobs there is. He had nine cats. He was VERY well-known among Philadelphia’s animal welfare people. It was not unheard for him to get a call about a cat issue when he was at work, and then leave for the day to go help out with the cat. Sadly, a Tinder date ended up with him getting murdered. It then took months to rehome those cats, but none ended up in a shelter.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Those EOD guys have enormous balls. Not only are they tasked with removing IEDs and other traps, but they run the risk of being ambushed by the same people who plant those devices, knowing that EOD will be deployed to remove them from patrol routes.

      That’s insane that your friend was murdered on a Tinder date. Did they catch the murderer?


      1. Yes. He had allowed her to tie him up. but instead of getting their freak on, she stabbed him to death. It was later found out that she was only 14 years old. He had cameras everywhere in his house, to keep watch on the cats. Otherwise, she probably wouldn’t have been found.

        Liked by 1 person

  8. I am the most conservative of conservatives. I “rah rah America” every chance I get, wearing the Stars and Stripes six days a week. My dad is a gun collector, it runs in the family.
    I also am chief cook and claw clipper to six furry little tyrants. I saved them from a high kill as babies. They are the bosses of me.
    Politicizing pet stewardship is ridiculous. Just as it is for those claiming conservatives don’t support animal welfare.
    Right is still right, wrong is still wrong. No matter what side of the aisle you come from. Things like that transcend politics.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Exactly, love of cats transcends politics. Of course as former president of the Americats, Buddy does have his own political career, but I’m pretty sure his platform begins and ends with turkey, napping rights and snack frequency.


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