The Daily Mail has an amusing photo gallery of cats looking annoyed as their human servants pull them in for hugs.
Some of the cats have unmistakably disgusted looks on their faces, some use their paws to push their people away, and a few even sink their teeth into their humans when the latter prove themselves oblivious to every other form of communication.
I’d like to think most of the people pictured aren’t experienced caretakers, because while every cat is different, as a general rule cats aren’t fond of hugs. That should be apparent almost immediately to anyone who bonds with a cat.
Why? Because cats don’t like feeling restricted, and to them, a hug is an animal 10 to 25 times their weight manhandling them and preventing them from leaving under their own power.
Cats aren’t comfortable with that for the same reason they don’t like being cornered and having their escapes blocked.
Of course we all understand the impulse to hug cats. They’re small, cute, fluffy little animals who behave a lot like furry toddlers and amuse us with their endearing quirks.
But as with petting, if you want your cat to enjoy hugs, your best bet is to allow kitty to come to you and seek affection on her own terms.
In short, treat them like the living beings they are and respect their feelings. They’re not pillows.
I try to limit my unsolicited petting to a quick chin-scratch or head rub in passing. If Bud wants more, he lets me know. By respecting his boundaries I’m also letting him know that approaching me when he does want affection will result in a stress-free experience: The little dude will climb onto my shoulder or pad up onto my chest, his entire body vibrating with his powerful purring, and nuzzle his cheek against me.
That’s his way of letting me know he’s in the mood to have his head and cheeks rubbed and his chin scratched. Often I’ll just hold out a hand at first, letting him guide my hand to the top of his head.
That builds trust so that when Bud is relaxed and lays down on my chest, I can hold him for a few minutes and rub his head as he purrs. He knows I’m not going to stifle him.
That’s how you hug a cat. Many dogs seem to enjoy getting scratches and pets any time, indefinitely. Cats don’t.
Again, cats are like humans — they each have their own personalities, likes and dislikes. Learning them shouldn’t be difficult, but one thing is universal in feline-human relationships: The more trust you build, the more your cat will seek you out and want to spend time by your side.
Four terrified cats learned humans are good for more than just opening tin cans, fluffing pillows and providing massages when they were rescued from a sinking, burning ship by a Thai navy officer.
The ship caught fire in the Andaman Sea — a popular area for fishing and commercial shipping bordering coastal Thailand and Myanmar — on Tuesday, and the human crew were rescued and taken to safety by a passing ship.
But four ginger cats remained aboard and their time was running out. When a Thai navy vessel was ordered to the site of the capsized vessel to check for a potential oil spill, First-Class Petty Officer Wichit Pukdeelon saw the domestic kitties huddled together on a small wooden beam. Most of the ship was below the water line at that point and the cats didn’t have anywhere else to go.
“I used my camera to zoom in to the boat, and I saw one or two cats popping their heads out,” Pukdeelon told Reuters.
One of the officers dived into the choppy waters and swam to the sinking ship, where he took the cats on his shoulders and brought them to the safety of the Thai Air and Coastal Defense vessel. All four cats survived.
The sailors took the cats back to their base on Koh Lipe, an idyllic island on the Andaman Sea known for its beaches and dive sites. The presumably grateful furballs will remain there in the care of the sailors for at least the foreseeable future.
(Note: It wasn’t clear why the original crew abandoned the cats. We’ll keep an eye out for updates and follow up if we learn anything.)
The companies that make yums have had facilities intermittently closed due to COVID breakouts, leading to shortages which have been compounded by the logistical problems as delivery systems are already overwhelmed.
There can be only one solution to this most serious of problems: Humans must share their food!
Effective immediately, I call on all humans to share their yums with us, and no skimping!
If you’re having filet mignon for dinner, Fluffy better get some too. I would also urge every one of you to increase your turkey consumption, setting aside generous portions for your feline overlords.
Not only is turkey delicious, but it increases the body’s immune response to viruses like COVID-19, according to the Buddy Center for Scientific Research. (This statement has not been evaluated by the FDA.)
Remember the study from this past summer that claimed single men with cats are perceived as “less masculine” and are less likely to score dates than their cat-less counterparts?
Now Match.com has some bad news for us as well, saying their internal data shows men who have cats are less attractive to women on the popular online dating platform. From the Wall Street Journal:
‘If you’re a heterosexual man looking for love this Valentine’s Day, here’s something you probably don’t want to do: include a cat in your online dating profile.
“Chicks don’t want a guy with a cat,” said Rachel DeAlto, chief dating expert for Match, an online service that promises to connect compatible romantic partners.’
The Match.com data mirrors the data from the earlier Colorado State University study, which showed women photos of men with and without cats. When the authors asked women whether they’d consider dating those men, the female participants said they were less likely to date the cat servants by a margin of about five percent. Match.com’s data says men with cats are five percent less likely to receive “likes” than men without cats.
“Men holding cats were viewed as less masculine; more neurotic, agreeable, and open; and less dateable,” said study authors Lori Kogan and Shelly Vosche, who titled their paper “Not the Cat’s Meow? The Impact of Posing With Cats on Female Perceptions of Male Dateability.”
That study was limited: The authors worked with about 700 female participants who were all between the ages of 18 and 24. At the time, we speculated that the anti-cat bias would probably be negligible among women in older age brackets, but there were worrying signs, including the idea that men who care for cats aren’t as manly as men who haven’t discovered the joys of hanging with a miniature tiger.
“Women prefer men with ‘good genes,’ often defined as more masculine traits,” they wrote. “Clearly, the presence of a cat diminishes that perception.”
The results, they said, indicate “women are more likely to seek masculinity first, then consider other components of the potential mate.”
The findings were “influenced by” whether the women self-identified “as a dog or a cat person,” although it wasn’t clear just how much that impacted their responses.
Vosche and Kogan speculate “that American culture has distinguished ‘cat men’ as less masculine, perhaps creating a cultural preference for ‘dog men’ among most heterosexual women in the studied age group.”
It’s worth pointing out the difference is in perception. There’s nothing to indicate men who care for cats don’t have “good genes” any more than there’s evidence that men without cats have supposedly superior genes. Rather, as the study authors note, the perception is reinforced by cultural biases, at least here in the US.
Likewise, both the Colorado State University study and the Match.com data are looking at first impressions based on photographs, which means women are evaluating the men in question based only on limited visual information, to the exclusion of everything else that factors into whether one person views another as attractive.
We don’t know if the same biases hold true in other situations. For example, how would women respond to men who are out and about walking their cats on harnesses? How would they respond to a man who casually mentions he’s got a cat back home?
The Match data also cuts both ways, to the detriment of women. While straight men with cats receive five percent fewer “likes” than other men, straight women with cats suffer an even larger perception penalty, receiving seven percent fewer “likes,” probably due to the “crazy cat lady” stereotype.
Some people think that makes perfect sense:
“[T]his goes for both men and women – having a cat often means you’re addicted to caffeine, on SSRI’s [sic], love to binge-watch netflix, zero libido, cry a lot, late night ben and jerry’s pint, etc.,” Mahbod Moghadam wrote in a Feb. 12 Facebook post in response to the WSJ story.
Mahbod Moghadam. I know that name. Where do I know that name from?
Oh, right. He’s the Rap Genius (Genius.com lyric site) co-founder who was thoroughlyclowned by Sacha Baron Cohen on his Showtime series, Who Is America?
I say “clowned.” Esquire says “humiliated.” In reality, neither word captures Moghadam’s so-cringeworthy-it’s-hard-to-watch appearance on the show. Believing he’s there to be photographed and interviewed by an Italian fashion photographer named Gio Monaldo (Baron-Cohen in disguise), Moghadam is legendarily awful in the segment:
In the middle of the photoshoot, Gio compliments Moghadam repeatedly, calling him cool. He then asks he to “do something like a black guy.” Seemingly without missing a beat, Moghadam makes the Blood sign and mimes shooting a gun at the camera while saying “pop, pop.” Of course a lot of editing goes into Who Is America?‘s segments, but there’s really no excuse for that.
Much like with the Olympios interview, Cohen then persuaded Moghadam to pose with a green screen so he can photoshop the founder feeding starving children. In the middle of the shoot, Gio stops, convincing his muse that he needs to make his penis look bigger. Naturally the only solution to this is to stuff the arm of a babydoll down his pants. Moghadam never seems to protest any of this, not even when an intentionally racist Gio swaps out the white babydoll arm for an African-American one.
I’d link the footage, because there’s no way I can do justice to how awful it is, but miraculously it looks like it’s disappeared. Indeed, Moghadam comes off looking so bad in the segment that it looks like he’s gone to incredible lengths to get every clip of it removed from sites like Youtube and DailyMotion. If that guy is the kind of person who thinks men with cats are less masculine, then we’ve got nothing to worry about.
Feline humor, news and stories about the ongoing adventures of Buddy the Cat.