G.L.Piggy [at] gmail.com
Error: Twitter did not respond. Please wait a few minutes and refresh this page.
An article in Wired (not online) by Gideon Lewis-Kraus about the internet’s fixation on cats was quite interesting. I’m a cat-owner, though I don’t consider myself a cat-lover. There’s a difference. I love my cat, but I don’t love *cats*. Fuck cats. I’m still a dog guy at heart, but I live in an apartment so that limits my options.
I found Lewis-Kraus’ examination of the link between cat lovers, the internet, and depression to be quite interesting. He focuses mostly on the Youtube cat culture of Japan.
From the Wired piece:
Meanwhile, around the time of the depression study, someone in the cat group I’m in on Facebook – no explanation necessary – posted a write-up of a study conducted by some cat scientists at the University of Vienna on the relationship between cats and neurotics. The dryness of the study’s title (“Factors Influencing the Temporal Patterns of Dyadic Behaviours and Interactions Between Domestic Cats and Their Owners”) belied the most exiting ethology of cat ownership since D.C. Turner’s seminal 1991 paper…[which] found that “the higher the proportion of all successful intents to interact [with the cat] that were due to the cat, the longer was the duration of the interactions.”
In other words, your cat will like you best if you pretend that you don’t desperately want to play with it all the time. What the current group of researchers seemed to suggest was equally fascinating: The more neurotic the cat owner – the more desperate for fuzzy comfort and nuzzly security and unconditional affection – the briefer the interactions the damn cat would allow.
It’s a tension between needing love but not receiving love and then smothering the thing which could potentially exude love. I immediately thought of all of the feminist/progressive love oozing out of the Net, and avowed male feminists David Futrelle and John Scalzi came immediately to mind as did a male atheist I dealt with a few months ago who was an avowed cat lover. Nothing against cats; they’re cool and all and plenty of men get along with cats, but I get the distinct feeling that men who love, love, love cats hate, hate, hate their own more masculine traits. And given the link between cat-ownership and neuroticism, the case can be made that liberal/progressives, insofar as they tend to be cat-lovers, are more neurotic than everyone else. That’s a research question waiting to be answered.
As for Japan, it is a cramped nation with a very low birth rate. Dozens of “cat cafes” which have sprung up through the country allow customers to relax and play with meandering felines. There as well as the States, cats can serve for some singles or young professional couples as the placeholders of children. I can confirm this in my own domestic household. It is childless, but my girlfriend insists on calling our cat “the baby”. Yikes.