Society’s View On Cat Lovers

How Cat Lovers Are Viewed:  The Change

Oliver Etherington

UNST 254G

Professor Bergland

 

A smelly, worn for year’s sweater, a crazy look and of course more cats than a local animal shelter.  This perception described above, and illustrated with this picture from the popular T.V. show The Simpsons http://blog.jgurian.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/03/60141523_f3856b91d7_o-300×225.png, provided by Jgurian’s blog, shows the perception of cat lovers as something much different than how we’re viewed today.  Cat lovers were once viewed as weird people, who should best be avoided, and prefer the company of our feline friends.  It is my intention however, to show my reader’s that the view of cat lovers has changed over the years to something entirely different.  I will explain in detail, why this change has occurred, and provide examples that prove that cat lovers around the world are no longer viewed as crazy, obsessive people.  Rather they are viewed as trendy, quirky and unique individuals.

In our dog-centric society, dog owners are usually seen as normal individuals, where as cat owners are seen as eccentric, and bizarre.  Case in point, this video (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sP4NMoJcFd4).  This video, which is viral and has over 28 million views, shows a single woman posting a video to her dating blog.  However she kind of loses her grip on reality, and the purpose of the video and starts divulging her love for cats.  Videos like this don’t exactly help the view that cat lovers are crazy individuals, if anything it enhances the opposition’s views.  However as crazy as this lady may seem, it also goes to show how unique, and quirky she is.  This opinion is shared by not only me, but by many viewers of this video.

People who commented on this video for the most part complimented her uniqueness and tenderness towards cats.  As a fellow cat lover I can relate to the creator of this video.  Although it is only a short glance into her life, she displays uniqueness, and has her very own quirky qualities that so many cat lovers share.  It makes you question, are all cat lovers insane, and obsessive about cats or is this just how people are, and they’ve chosen to display their affection in a way that seems strange to us?  I strongly believe that the perception of cat lovers has shifted, and that being someone who loves cats is now sort of the trendy, hip thing to do.  Through my research, and thinking about writing my paper I thought about why the perception has changed, and what caused this change.

While I was conducting my research into cats, and the people whom love them I noticed that the majority of my research was being done online.  I visited the library to try to look for things like comics, or maybe an article about cat lovers but unfortunately came up blank.  However, the Internet is teeming with cat memes, YouTube videos, GIFS and even whole websites dedicated to cats and their devoted followers.  Icanhas.cheezburger.com, for instance is an entire website that is devoted to comedy involving cats and the people who love them, and I’m proud to say it is probably one of my favorite websites.  It really appeals to me, and fellow cat lovers alike and the reason for that is its unique and quirky, much like us.  Cat lovers are everywhere and abundant.  Just do a quick Google search of “cat lovers” it will turn up articles, websites and YouTube videos trying to appeal to us cat lovers?  If you go to these cat loving websites like icanhas.cheezburger.com, or lovemeow.com you will notice advertisements all over the pages.  What you may also notice, like myself, is that the vast majority of these ads are related to, or targeting women.  This is no coincidence I assume, because think of a cat lover; go ahead I’ll wait.  All done?  Did you think of a quirky hipster type person, who happened to be a woman?  Chances are you did, and chances are you’re right.  Professionals who are targeting a specific audience carefully place these advertisements on these websites.  Professional ad agencies understand that the perception of cat lovers has changed from the image portrayed by TV shows like the Simpsons, into something much more complex and diverse.

Another one of my artifacts is a YouTube video titled, “12 reasons why cat people are crazy awesome.”  The video which was made by the popular comedy website buzzfeed.com, is about how cat owners are different from other pet owners.  The first thing I noticed about this video was a catchy melody, and lots of pictures of cats.  The video is defiantly pro cat owner, and lists reasons as to why cat owners are better than other pet owners.  It suggests that cat owners are healthier, and modest people, who are more likely to find love.  While there are no hard statistics to prove this data, I couldn’t find anything that discredited it either. Something that really caught my attention in this video was that cat owners are more likely to be romantically involved in other cat owners.  Maybe we just understand each other better.    Overall this video portrayed cat lovers as quirky, unique individuals who are a lot different from other pet owners.  Don’t take my word for it however; go check it out for yourself.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cDxAytF5Jsk.

My third artifact is a spoof video.  It pokes fun at those prescription drug commercials.  The video’s purpose is to “sell” a drug named Fellinopril.  Fellinopril is for people who are addicted to cats, and want to get their “addiction” under control.  I watched this video over and over again; it made me laugh uncontrollably throughout.  Like the other videos, and cat lovers alike this video was very quirky, my favorite part was when one of the side effects listed was “the subconscious urge to purr, and burry your waste in sand.”  Thankfully cat lovers don’t tend to have those problems, I hope, but it further illustrates my point that cat lovers are unique and quirky individuals.  Check out the video for some great laughs, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HYuBTEo7egk.

You may have started to sense a pattern to my paper, the pattern being that cat lovers are quirky, and are thus viewed as being quirky in today’s society.  I think that the view shifted from the crazy cat lady portrayed by the Simpsons to the quirky individual because of websites, and memes alike.  I think that ultimately who changed the way society views cat people today, were cat people themselves.  I believe they were tired of the negative stereotypes being portrayed, and they took it upon themselves to change it.

I realize that cat people’s opinions on cat lovers are varied from person to person.  Some people still view cat lovers as crazy, and obsessive people, rather than quirky.  According to mentalfloss.com, it was recently discovered that cat lovers are most likely more introverted, and reserved compared to owners of other animals.  Cat lovers are on the rise, and the negative stereotype associated with owning a cat is on the decline.  According to http://www.humanesociety.org/issues/pet_overpopulation/facts/pet_ownership_statistics.html, cat ownership exceeds dog ownership 95 million, to 83 million.  Chances are you could think of someone you know who owns a cat, and who is in fact not crazy.

In summary the negative view of cats, and the people who own them is on the decline.  Above I have given examples of both sides of the coin.  I have shown you examples of the “crazy” cat lovers, for instance the famous crazy cat lady from the Simpsons.  I have also shown you the quirkiness of cat lovers, which is often mistaken for being crazy.  I have shown you YouTube videos, and websites that show the quirkiness I speak of as well.  You can also look at certain websites like the humanesociety.org, which shows that cat ownership is becoming a serious trend. 95 million people in the United States own at least one cat, more than any other animal ownership.  These 95 million are unique in their own ways, and can confidently say they aren’t crazy cat lovers; cat lovers all around the world are continuing to change the view of cat lovers from something negative, and scary into something positive and quirky.  Just like cats.

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3 thoughts on “Society’s View On Cat Lovers

  1. Oliver,
    Wonderful essay! As a cat-owner, or as some people call me, Crazy Cat Lady, myself, I was able to relate to your essay tremendously. I really liked the point you made about how dog owners are considered the normal people in society while we are considered the insane ones for preferring cats. I had never really thought about it this way, but you’re totally right! Very well-written. Good job Oliver! Now excuse me while I go cuddle with my cat 😉
    Best,
    Sophia

  2. Oliver,
    This was an enjoyable read! I myself have becoming the cat crazy person in the past few years. My first obsession is pugs, which I feel the internet has the same kind of ridiculous infinity for. So, I can relate the same feeling you have for cats.
    I didn’t become so cat obsessed until I met my boyfriend. I had never been introduced to a cat before, and honestly I was rather apprehensive to cats. I just didn’t get it. After nearly two years of living with one now I absolutely understand why people love cats.
    Before meeting my boyfriend’s cat, I was the dog person who saw cat people as bizarre and weird. That has changed and I think everyone should give cats a try. Even if their claws hurt sometimes.

  3. Hey Oliver,
    I enjoyed your paper. I think its weird how much the viewpoint of cats has changed. In my opinion I still look at people that have cats as a little weird. But this is coming from a bias party being that I’m a dog person. I really like how you put in the youtube sites when you were explaining moments in watching the video and noticing that there is always a melody in a cat video.I also thought it was interesting to find out about there is more cat owners 95 million to 83 million dog owners. When I think of cat video and really start think where the cat video started I think of the video of the cat playing the piano and playing that weird jingle. I think its funny how big of a growing trend it is how its all people vine videos. Overall you had a very well written paper.Good job Oliver.

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