Friday, 19 March 2010

Single woman + flat = cat?

Something very small and easy to brush off as bad journalism really irritated me on the ITV London news this morning. On one of their headline reports between GMTV segments, there was a short piece on how 'most women' enjoy having a cat as their companion. Infuriatingly, it was such a hit-and-run item that I can't even find it on their website. Perhaps they've realised how dazzlingly patronizing it was and removed it. The 'report' basically went like this:

Lots of women, as opposed to men, are cat owners. Some live alone and really enjoy the company. *Cue interview with a woman with two frighteningly muscley sphinx cats climbing menacingly over her armchair while she coos over them.* Short summary: lonely women like cats, they make good company.

Now, unable to find the clip, I feel like I hallucinated this around 8am. It was staggeringly badly researched and directed with no apparent factual anchor, and I felt quite offended. I am a real dog person. I've wanted a dog pretty much since the day my toddler mind grasped what a dog was, I often get more excited and sentimental over people's dogs than their babies and my absolute dream pet is a big, slobbery, loving, loyal canine. I just finished reading Marley and Me and embarrassingly wept no fewer than five times while reading it on packed trains and tubes (a great read - a story of man's realizations about family and life as well as some damn funny anecdotes about their behaviourally-challenged labrador.) I honestly think if I found Mr Perfect and he told me he wasn't a dog lover, it would be as wounding as finding out he was a BNP supporter or secretly waxed his chest. In other words, a deal breaker.

I feel I'm owed some sort of explanation from ITV about their surreal feline revelation - was it just to contribute to the film, TV and book myth that women unable to find a man end up shacking up with a cat just to have someone to talk to at the end of the day? I don't know many women who would describe themselves as a cat lover, and I myself think they are fickle and cruel animals with a cold, mercenary look in their eyes. Give me a giant, clumsy, boundy dog to curl up at my feet any day of the week. Dogs for men, cats for women? The strangest example of mass gender-based assumption I've seen for a while.

Ostensibly male Andrew Lloyd Webber told press in the build up to his new casting show Over the Rainbow that he'd rather cast a cat as Dorothy's Toto as he's not a dog person at all. You may be interested to know that other self-proclaimed cat lovers have included Freddie Mercury (who had several named Tom & Jerry, Delilah and Romeo), Andy Warhol and, ironically, Snoop Dogg. The Pope also has a cat called Chico - perhaps an homage to the latino X-Factor contestant?

Conversely, President Obama, Audrey Hepburn and Thandie Newton are all Team Canine. I feel I'm in good company here (we'll ignore Paris Hilton - her dogs barely qualify.) Let's just keep the divide to dog people and cat people and leave any mention of gender and sex (or lack thereof) out of it.

PS. Here are some of my dream dogs. In case anyone wants to gift me one...

Just playin'... pretty damn cute though!


  1. just because YOU dont like cats doesnt mean all women dont - your argument sounds as generalised as the one you moan about - ie "I don't know many women who would describe themselves as a cat lover, and I myself think they are fickle and cruel animals with a cold, mercenary look in their eyes" - so if u dont know them - they dont exist?

  2. If this is the same 'Anonymous' as before - who are you and what is your problem? Man up and put a name to your pedantic comments.

    This is my blog, so why would you bother reading if you have a predisposition to hate everything I say?! It's surely a huge waste of your time and mine.

    Read back: I didn't say no women like cats, I just disagree with the stereotype presented, and if it's going to pop up on the news it should be attached to a new statistic or news item. I KNOW women who love cats exist (there was one on the news this morning, as I mentioned) but in my experience it doesn't follow that most single women get a cat to live with. As this 'news' item suggested. That was my retaliation. Need any more reassurance?

  3. I am a dog lover too :-) I think choosing a cat can also be about lifestyle - the working woman (or man) finds it easier to keep a cat as they can be left at home for longer than a dog. It does sounds like a bizarre story though - would be good to know if any evidence to back this up!

  4. 'In other words a deal breaker'
    Have you been watching the wonderful Tina Fey on 30Rock?!

    Love your blogs Lucy, they always cheer me up. Very assuring to have someone articulating so beautifully the way us tewnty-somethings can sometimes feel!
    PS I do like cats though. Alas.

  5. To experience a greater level of emotion in response to events concerning/involving the dog of a friend rather than the baby of a friend surely raises a few questions about fundamental issues concerning love and affection? Is it because the dog will not ever consciously act in such a way to cause you to experience negative emotions? A baby, for example, will grow, and at some point, choose (perhaps inadvertently, perhaps not) to do something that will affect another human being in such a way as to evoke a negative emotion. A dog, as far as I know, has never consciously done something to upset a human being, they just don't operate on that level. A human being that allows the behaviour of a dog to negatively impact on their emotional state is allowing the dog to do so. For a human being to cause another human being to experience negative emotions, there is no need for 'allowance'. That may be why you can never compare the love between two people and the love between a human and a dog? What do you think?

  6. Wow. Deep philosophical arguments out of a post about dogs vs. cats? Alrighty then!
    I'm definitely a dog person - the first picture of the chocolate Labrador could have been my dog, Max. He was an amazing pet and I was devastated when he died. I definitely want to live my life in a house with a slobbery, affectionate, energetic dog.

  7. Lovely light-hearted post as always lovely Lucy!
    You've always been far too glamorous to be a cat lady...!

  8. Note to anonymous- women cat lovers do exist, as do full stops and capital letters.Why not give them a try sometime? How can you be that pedantic about statements in a blog and yet completely unaware of grammar?

    I am a female cat lover but I dont find this post offensive, I just agree with the point that its not about gender. And Tom, I thought it looked like Max! =) he was lovely, I miss him.

    And Mr Curious, I think thats a little overly analytical! I think the point was that like with cats and dogs, the fact that she's female doesn't necessarily mean she automatically goes all gooey when she sees a baby. Its more about the "aww, cute!" reaction rather than deep thoughts of what positive or negative emotion this person/animal may cause you in the future.

  9. Also I think you should get a pomeranian purely because of this quote- "I like how I look when I'm next to him, and he's not as cumbersome as a pomeranian". xxx

  10. Miss Write ;)

    I really like this article. Though your description of cats is huugely unfair and I feel like I should somehow defend them!

    I must say I'm a dog person too but, if this is your thing, I have also met 'giant, clumsy, boundy' cats which would also gladly curl up at your feet any day... so don't rule them out completely!

    Putting the subject matter of the article aside, I love the language and the fluency with which it was written! Keep on writing and people will keep on reading.

    All the best


  11. Mr Curious, I have definately seen a dog specifically look at me, cock its head to the side and then pee on the floor as an act of defiance when it usually knows not to, on the other hand I have seen children of reasonable age barely notice that they're wetting themselves. To some up, dogs are smart and we love them.