Do you experience ailurophilia, a.k.a an extreme liking or love for cats? And if so, have you ever walked into a fellow cat lover’s house and tried to make friends with their fur baby, only to have the cat hater in your squad get all the attention from Fluffer-Doodles?
Or even worse, does your prospective feline friend go straight for the irrational, weirdo who has ailurophobia, a.k.a an abnormal fear of cats? Like come on dude, what do you think this white, fluffy, Persian-Himalayan mix wearing a sparkly collar with bell is going to do to you in your friend’s one-bedroom apartment? I mean, really?
But anyway, if this plot sounds familiar, we’re sure you thought to yourself, at the minimum, just how unfair this is.
Or, like a normal person, you start to question all of your past interactions and relationships with cats. The embarrassment, you feel. You simply can’t believe it. That jerk loathes cats, you think to yourself. He is 100% team dog. You love cats. Cats love you. You have Instagram accounts for all four of your rescue cats. You watch cat videos on YouTube before you go to bed. I mean, come on.
Well, don’t beat yourself up. There’s actually a reasonable explanation for all of this. And, this scenario happens quite frequently to us cat people. To understand the method behind this utter madness, let’s further examine what typically happens when the crazy cat lady walks into the room vs. the quintessential cat hater.
Crazy cat lady: In all of your excitement, you let out a shrilling squeak at first glance of Fluffer-Doodles. I mean, he is much cuter than you ever imagined.
You point. You stare. Maybe you bounce up and down a bit. You start making a head on approach, holding out your arms out for the grab. Come to momma, you whisper to yourself…
Fluffer-Doodles: Makes a B-line for the nearest exit.
Crazy cat lady: Why? Why? Just why, you ask? You had so much love to give.
Now let’s look at your arch nemesis.
Cat hater: Walks in, awkward as f*ck. No eye contact is made with the feline subject.
The cat hater tries to be as invisible as possible to prevent the cat from coming over. This person may sit extremely still (or at least more still than your bouncing-off-the-wall ass). This person will also most likely will be quieter than you, so not to rally any unwanted attention from the cat.
Fluffer-Doodles: Returns to the room. And you guess it, he rubs all over that cat-hating f*ck’s legs. Even attempts a lap sit.
Cat hater: Is totally disgusted and freaked out. Shuts down the cat’s advances, and moves as far away from Fluffer-Doodles as possible.
Crazy cat lady: Unbelievable, you think. Does that cat even know what he’s doing, you ask? There must be some mistake.
No, no mistake. When you think about this situation from the feline perspective, the cat’s behavior makes perfect sense. In the cat world, your [crazy cat lady] behavior would honestly be terrifying.
Your staring, rapid motions, loudness, and advances to make uninvited contact with the cat could easily be mistaken as signs of aggression, especially if you’re someone a cat is not familiar with.
The cat finds the cat hater’s [obviously rude] behavior as far less threatening than your uninhibited acts of affection. It’s totally reasonable that a cat in this situation would choose to move towards the cat hater to further explore a “safe” new comer and even initiate contact– all of which allows the cat to be in total control of the situation.
Cat’s are excellent readers of body language. They, almost instantaneously, assess whether a person or situation might be threatening to them.
And eye contact is key. If you want to make a new cat bestie, try to not stare at him right off the bat. You may think this is sketch behavior on your part, but the way you think you are looking at a cat, is probably the opposite of how the cat interprets it. For example, when a cat glares at you, he’s not shooting you the stink eye. That’s cat speak for love and affection.
So my crazy cat peeps, next time you find yourselves in this situation, play hard to get.