Help me explain why cats are awesome
July 19, 2018 11:45 AM   Subscribe

My friend and soon-to-be roommate is indifferent to cats. I have every plan to adopt a cat, and while he is fine with that and not objecting, it would be nice if I could get him at least kinda excited about having a cat. Help me open his mind (and heart) to the awesomeness of kitties!

It isn't anyone from this question.

To reiterate, he isn't objecting to my adopting a cat, and he's fine having one in our house. He just doesn't see the appeal and is kind of "Ehhn, cats are lame.". His main objection about cats seems to be that he doesn't think they are friendly. He sees them as more stand-off-ish and cold, not snuggly or affectionate.

And yes, it likely goes without saying that he is more of a dog guy.

It'll be a few weeks before he moves in, so I have a bit of time to (hopefully) get him to the point where he is looking forward to our new kitty friend. I appreciate that this may be a fool's errand, and that I may not be able to turn him into a cat person. This is mostly just something fun and (hopefully) funny for me to do in the meantime to amuse myself. I'm thinking of presenting this as a sort of daily submission campaign for the improvement of attitudes towards cats as pets.

SO! What sorts of things can I show him (pictures, videos, websites, etc) that could help him start thinking about cats more excitedly?
posted by PuppetMcSockerson to Grab Bag (27 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Going on record here to say Cats are the F*CKING BEST. I love cats so freaking much.

This is a fun little starting point

Also, do not fear. As soon as you adopt a cat, your roommate will get it.
posted by JenThePro at 11:50 AM on July 19, 2018 [13 favorites]

Cats of Instagram has a plethora of cat video and photos.

When I lost my beloved doggie of 14 years in February, I was lucky enough to find a CatDog named Oliver through the local county pet shelter. He is nothing but a 15 lb. sack of smushiness. He waits until someone is prone and then casually plops himself over you like a weighted blanket that seems to comfort people. The most affectionate and loving cat ever. I consider myself very lucky. He doesn't scratch my furniture. He doesn't meow to wake me up for food. He is very fond of his kitty litter box and has only thrown up one hair ball in the past three months since he decided I was his human.
posted by HeyAllie at 11:54 AM on July 19, 2018 [9 favorites]

My husband was very meh about cats (I didn't know him then) until his family was adopted by a little stray kitten. She was very, very social and loved being with her people. If you're fortunate to get a super social kitty (they vary! just like people!), your roommate will have no choice but to be won over!
posted by cooker girl at 11:58 AM on July 19, 2018 [4 favorites]

I know more than one person who has not gotten the appeal of cats, even actively dissed them, until they developed a relationship with an actual cat. So I have a good feeling about this.

You can tell him most cats actually prefer indifferent people (much to the chagrin of cat-lovers who can't help but lunge and squeal at every feline.) Want a cat's lifelong affection? Ignore it.

Does he know cats have very important jobs in shops all over the world? Bodega Cats!
posted by kapers at 12:00 PM on July 19, 2018 [9 favorites]

We were fortunate enough to adopt a dog-like cat, which worked great for me (a former dog-owner). Atticus is gregarious and affectionate and kinda noisy. Likes being around people a lot. We found him at a cage-free shelter, which may be worth looking for - if you can spend time in rooms with a handful of different cats at once, it should become pretty apparent which of them are excited to see and hang out with people and which ones are aloof.
posted by craven_morhead at 12:06 PM on July 19, 2018 [1 favorite]

Maybe play up their mouse and insect hunting abilities? Of course if your cat ends up not being a hunter then it'll be a let-down.
posted by any portmanteau in a storm at 12:07 PM on July 19, 2018

I know more than one person who has not gotten the appeal of cats, even actively dissed them, until they developed a relationship with an actual cat.

Same here. Sometimes you need to develop a relationship with an individual cat to have your eyes opened to the rest of the species; I would actually maybe table trying to sell him on "yay come join Team Cat!" and wait for "so yay, I got a cat, this is Bosco, he actually plays fetch and this is his favorite ball if you ever wanna have a game with him." Your roommate most likely will at first be indifferent, but as he hangs around in the same house with Bosco, gradually he'll start to notice things and get a kick out of them and start interacting with this beast he's sharing the house with and gradaully getting to know.

(This of course presumes that Bosco isn't a jerk of a cat, and is well-behaved; that would be upon you to take care of, of course, if it becomes an issue.)

Anecdotal data point - one of my friends was "not a cat person" when we first met and I still had Zach, and was in fact even scared of him. Fast-forward ten years to the day when I had to make that emergency run to the vet and make that last Final Call - I called him in tears before I brought him to the vet, and he dropped everything to haul ass clear across the city trying to make it on time to be there to say goodbye with me. He was already crying when he walked in. Moral: getting to know a specific cat could be all that he needs.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:13 PM on July 19, 2018 [14 favorites]

I've had many cats, some friendly, some not, and am still totally meh on cats, mostly because of the negative aspects (hairballs, litter, clawing everything, the smell, no fetching stuff) that are also sort of associated with dogs but on a different scale that I have no interest in dealing with.

I think what you should do instead of trying to get him excited is to make sure you handle all that (at first) and let the cat do the work of getting him to love it. If he's going to love having the cat, it's because the cat does something cool/funny so that he can deal with the negatives.
posted by The_Vegetables at 12:15 PM on July 19, 2018 [19 favorites]

My wife grew up with cats and I grew up desperately wanting a dog, and now I have a cat. Nthing that your roommate will probably have to figure it out for himself, but for me, realizing the inherent irony of cats really brings it together. My little guy so clearly thinks of herself as the apex predator and queen of the house, and is so flagrantly neither of those things, that it's hard not to sense in this little tragicomedy something of the essential condition of being alive. That and of course how astonishingly little she cares about whatever we humans think is important in comparison with the crucial and ongoing project of finding the best places to sit. You'd think she was putting a cat on the moon the way she concentrates on a new spot, and will randomly (to us) work on the same place for weeks before ignoring it forever. No idea really if these things are communicable, but they certainly became clear to me within a week of getting my cat.
posted by Stilling Still Dreaming at 12:25 PM on July 19, 2018 [25 favorites]

My ex-boyfriend grew up with dogs and thought he hated cats until a kitten showed up at our apartment. I think a friendly cat will convert your friend much better than videos, etc. This has no scientific basis, but a few tuxedo cats that I know (that belong to friends) seem to be unusually friendly. I am taking care of one right now who follows me around everywhere I go and wants to cuddle every time I sit down. He also sort of plays fetch.
posted by pinochiette at 12:25 PM on July 19, 2018 [4 favorites]

Maybe if you took roommate with you to get the cat, and even let him have a say in which one to adopt? Ideally you would want one that liked him/made him say "Aww!" This might also help you avoid accidentally getting a cat that hated his guts for obscure cat reasons, as they sometimes do.

Having said that, orange tabby and tuxedo cat males have always been the friendliest cats I've met, so you might consider those especially.
posted by emjaybee at 12:31 PM on July 19, 2018 [5 favorites]

Best answer: Honestly if he's actively disinterested in cats, but not objecting to you getting a cat, I'd cool your jets and let him develop a relationship with the cat when it comes. If you come to him with a ream of cat videos, memes and social media account, he's most likely to feel like you're getting in his face and become actively hostile toward them. I mean this is stressing me out just thinking about it and I *love* cats.
posted by ominous_paws at 12:38 PM on July 19, 2018 [51 favorites]

I am your future roommate and there is absolutely nothing you can do or say to "open [my] mind (and heart) to the awesomeness of kitties!" In fact, I find annoying your attempts to convince me that my subjective feelings about them are wrong.

He is open to living with a cat. If the cat is truly awesome, as you say he/she will be, your roommate may well become one of those people who say "but our kitty is not like other cats, he is cuddly and awesome!" which is more annoying than people who just admit they like cats to begin with.

Now get your cat off my lawn.

*looks around for a dog to cuddle with*
posted by headnsouth at 12:39 PM on July 19, 2018 [16 favorites]

My husband was not into cats (and actually did not like a previous experience with someone else’s cat). He came around to getting a cat when he saw a mouse in our Flat (while he was sitting on the toilet no less!)

Molly has been with us for almost 4 years now. She’s not very bright. She can get annoying. But she’s unintentionally funny, has a cute and distinct personality, likes human company, isn’t a cuddler but certainly loves a pet and a scritch.

My husband’s verdict is “she’s a good cat”. I don’t know if he loves cats generally now, but he certainly loves this one.

So my advice is: it depends on the cat. If you can get your roommate involved in picking one that would be great. Take your time. I knew Molly was “the one” because she wasn’t scared of us when we met her and she let me pick her up right away with no struggle. Like I said, she just likes being around humans, I think that’s important.

You can of course do your bit too as the cat owner - clean their litter regularly, clean out the litter box completely every few months, keep them brushed to keep on top of shedding, buy lint rollers and scatter them generously around the house, keep the cat healthy, address behavioural issues ASAP, etc.
posted by like_neon at 12:39 PM on July 19, 2018 [4 favorites]

I grew up in a strict dog household. I was raised to believe cats were the enemy, bird killing monsters who would rile up our dogs, pee in our gardens and eventually cause the downfall of civilization itself. (Only slightly exaggerating. My parents hated cats.) Childhood encounters didn't help- no relatives had cats, as we were a Dog Family, and the one childhood friend who had cats had a house that stunk deeply of litter and urine. I petsat in high-school, but the cats I visited mainly hid from strangers. Grew up, got my own dog, and never, ever, ever planned to get a cat. Why bother? They were icky. You had to scoop a box they used as a toilet.

Then my friend from high school moved back into town, bringing her three cats. She's on a cat rescue board and takes in fosters. Visiting her for weekly board game nights meant getting to know her three cats who were ridiculously loving. Her house never smelled. I got to get to know cats as individuals, like I knew dogs as individuals.

So when my dog found a mama cat and her kittens earlier this year, my friend took them in. I got to see them grow up and got to socialize them and play with them and like, did you guys know cats are AMAZING?

I think your roommate will love your future cat. Keep the nails trimmed and the litterbox clean. Play with the kitty and invite roommate to, too. Even dog people, raised as strict dog people with cat hate in their hearts, come around when faced with Actual Cats.

(Keen and Brutz come home next week. Reader, we adopted them both. Mama is finding a home soon, too.)
posted by Torosaurus at 1:05 PM on July 19, 2018 [12 favorites]

When I adopted a cat I used Petfinder and read those little bios obsessively. We went with the one the foster family had named "Fabio" because he was such a lover. He had previously been adopted by someone who had never had a cat before, who returned him, if you can believe it, because the affection freaked the guy out. Look for that kind of cat! And then let the cat do the work. And remember, roommates come and go.
posted by Lawn Beaver at 1:10 PM on July 19, 2018 [1 favorite]

One day I was sitting on the couch in the living room, and the roommate's cat saw me. Ignoring him, I continued reading my book while he pushed a box my way, climbed up and smacked me in the face three times. Whack-whack-whack! Then he ran.

When I'd chase him, his eyes would go oval, and he'd leap onto his hind legs and start stabbing in my direction with his paws. This meant he'd have to skip and bat like Puss 'n Boots — or a circus cat. When he'd chase me, sometimes he'd bluff a U-turn in the hallway to confuse me. Other times, he'd hide behind a curtain and jab through the fabric.

There was nothing so sweet as when he curled up beside me. It was a great respite just to play. Above all, I found it fascinating to watch him think. When I moved, I realized I loved that cat almost as much as my mother.
posted by Violet Blue at 1:24 PM on July 19, 2018 [8 favorites]

As a non-cat-person who has had roommates with cats in the past, if you came on to me this strong about cats I would think you were going to try to get me to take part-ownership of the cat. Cats have some charming qualities, and I enjoy a good cat video as much as the next person. But I think trying to recruit your roommate into cat-person-hood is unlikely to be any more attractive or successful than trying to recruit them into eating vegan, joining a CrossFit gym, or becoming a Mormon.
posted by mskyle at 1:47 PM on July 19, 2018 [7 favorites]

Agree that you should just wait for the cat. And, as is the rules with cats, they love the person who likes them the least, so your roommate will likely have lots of chances to bond if he gets the urge.
posted by I'm Not Even Supposed To Be Here Today! at 2:02 PM on July 19, 2018 [1 favorite]

Every cat is different, but here's a data point: how I sleep now.
posted by capricorn at 2:08 PM on July 19, 2018 [5 favorites]

And, as is the rules with cats, they love the person who likes them the least

My understanding is there's a reason for this - cats don't like direct eye contact, and people who hate cats don't look them in the eyes and bare their teeth threateningly smile and laugh at the adorable kitty!
posted by capricorn at 2:10 PM on July 19, 2018 [1 favorite]

I'd play it cool, "Oh you're not into cats, okay, no worries, I'm the only one who has to like the cat" but make a point of getting a cat who fits your desired parameters and also is as friendly and affectionate as works with your parameters.

Then when he comes around to "holy crap this cat is so great!" you can be all "Mwahahaaa, my evil plan worked!"
posted by bunderful at 3:09 PM on July 19, 2018 [4 favorites]

Don't push cats at your roommate, but do offer to have him pick out the cat if he's at all interested.

Make sure YOU do all the work involved in caring for the cat. Keep your litter box spotless, make sure Cat has a scratching post and doesn't tear things up, clean up the cat hair daily, if need be, and for Bast' sake, DON'T let the cat on the kitchen table or counters! Allow your roommate to have his private space (bedroom and/or study) that the cat doesn't enter. Have toys and treats available if your roommate would like to interact with the cat, but don't push it on him.

Find a quiet, friendly, well-behaved kitteh, and the cat will do the job of converting him.
posted by BlueHorse at 3:20 PM on July 19, 2018 [3 favorites]

You don’t want him to like cats, you want him to like this specific cat, which you can’t do until you actually get it. Also, I think room mate has made a massive concession in actually allowing you to get an animal they’re actively disinterested in. If it were me, to then try to convince them not only only do that but display the right kind of emotion for your benefit would annoy me.

Sorry if it sounds harsh, I get you’re excited and I’m an animal lover too but I think you’re wanting too much. Don’t jam the animal down their throat or you may risk turning them off altogether, go gently and let them adjust to the cat in their own time. It’ll be best for both of them. And congrats on the new kitty!
posted by Jubey at 5:56 PM on July 19, 2018 [4 favorites]

I'd agree that trying to convert him may backfire. Instead, wait for the cat to win him over (or not, if that turns out to be the case; there really is no way to guarantee it). My dad was entirely meh on cats until he lived with mine for several years. When she passed away, I was going to wait a while before adopting again, but Dad was like, "We need to get a new cat right away."
posted by velvet_n_purrs at 6:18 PM on July 19, 2018 [1 favorite]

Dogs are bro's. You gotta get to know the Pussy Cat. The rewards are much more pleasant. It's a skill to know and love and be loved by a cat, other animals are trivial. Make it a challenge.

You win if the cat decides to have kittens in your bed.
posted by zengargoyle at 10:22 PM on July 19, 2018 [1 favorite]

Adopt an older cat so you can get a better sense of their temperament-- cats aren't all shy or aloof but it's hard to pick for those tendencies based on "breed" or markings. Older cats are the greatest too!
posted by travertina at 6:39 AM on July 20, 2018 [1 favorite]

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