Recently, I heard a male television presenter - one I had hitherto respected - declare that he doesn't like cats. I experienced immediate disappointment and expressed to my family that on this basis, I didn't like him as much as I had.
My daughter immediately dismissed this as nonsense and a stupid way to determine a person's likability. Perhaps. But I maintain that the stating that 'I don't like cats' is indicative of some deeper issues - ones that smack of misogyny and a considerable distance to travel before becoming a socially and spiritually evolved individual.
Why? Well for starters, 'I don't like cats' (or worse, 'I hate cats') is a very different statement to 'I prefer dogs (or fish, or birds, or guinea pigs...or whatever)'. A lot of people I know prefer dogs, including lots of women. Totally fine by me. This statement indicates a general affinity for animals, but a preference for the characteristics of dogs (or whatever). 'I don't like cats' writes off the entire species, and makes no allowance for individual differences. Further, it indicates a dislike for the characteristics common to cats and for anything they might stand for.
And consciously or otherwise, they stand for the feminine. We've all heard the saying 'Cats were once worshiped as Gods and cats have never forgotten this'. In point of fact, Cats were primarily worshiped by the ancients (like the ancient Egyptians) as Goddesses, female Gods. Goddesses such as Bastet, an Egyptian Goddess were associated with the moon, considered feminine due to the similarity of its cycles with the cycles of menses. The link with cats was due to the moon-like qualities of cat's reflective eyes.
Cats are enigmatic - as Sir Walter Scott says, 'a mysterious kind of folk'. They can't be nailed down, they are visceral and other worldly. They are often moody and are fiercely independent. These are characteristics often associated with women. We call difficult, contentious women 'catty' or 'bitches' (the derogative term synonymous with that which refers to female dogs). There is something overwhelmingly feminine about cats, and as such, they don't appeal to some men.
Men who 'don't like cats' often talk about how the only good cat is a dead cat, and apparently fantasise about ways to eliminate them in the cruelest and most undignified ways. I don't have the best experience with horses - suffice to say horse-riding lessons were a disaster. But I still respect horses as beautiful, even magnificent wild creatures. I would never do anything to hurt them. Non-cat people, though, are often highly amused by inventing ways of torturing and maiming cats. I have no well-researched evidence, but I am willing to bet that the majority of cat-hating men, tend towards the chauvinistic. How many male perpetrators of domestic violence have 'I hate cats' on their CV? By contrast, many learned and creative men are self confessed 'cat people' : Christopher Walken, Leonardo Da Vinci, Jules Verne, T. S. Elliot, Sigmund Freud and even Chris Hemsworth among them.
Yes, real men, the ones worth knowing at least, don't hate cats.