May 4th, 2016
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Image: Nox the Cat
There’s something about cats that tends to inspire passionate emotions. Many times, folks who love cats really love cats. Those who don’t love them, though, often admit to downright despisement for the feline kind.
Cats are often misunderstood, but those who take the time to get to know cats are usually surprised by how wonderful cats really are (not to mention all the life lessons those feline friends can teach). In fact, sometimes the people who are now most passionate about their cats are the very people who swore they’d never share a home with one.
Connie Kwon of Los Angeles admits she once disliked cats immensely. “I used to fear cats, avoid them, run the other way on the street when I saw one and wouldn’t dare pet one,” she says. “I think I saw too many videos of cats attacking and scratching people,” she explains. Plus she adds, she couldn’t read cats’ expressions, “So I didn’t trust them.”
That’s why she was surprised when her boyfriend brought home a stray kitten one day. “I was livid at first,” she says. “We had a bit of a fight over it.” But, the little cat had nowhere to go, so Kwon relented and soon she fell in love with the kitten they named Nox.
Right away, she couldn’t believe how affectionate and social Nox was. “He completely demolished every bad stereotype I had about cats!” Now Kwon dotes on the cat, even taking him for walks on a leash (much to her boyfriend’s chagrin!). And, Nox has changed Kwon’s mind about all cats, not just her favorite feline. “Now I want more!” she says with a laugh.
Image: Izzy the Cat
Never Say Never
Eve Henson of Columbus, Ohio, says she never liked cats after a family friend’s cat hissed at her and tried to bite her. “I had a negative thing in my head about cats,” she confesses. “I used to say, ‘I love all animals, but I don’t really like cats.’”
Fast forward to years later, when Henson’s daughter begged her for a cat. “I said, ‘No, no, no.’ Then, I’m not sure why I caved, but I did.” Henson agreed to adopt a cat on two conditions: Her daughter would have to take care of the cat, and if the resident dogs didn’t like the new feline, the family would find another home for the cat.
It turned out that Izzy the cat didn’t warm up to Henson’s daughter’s affectionate ways. Izzy did, however, prefer Henson, the one person in the household who didn’t pay her much attention at all. Henson was shocked by how quickly she grew fond of the cat. Now, they’re inseparable.
“She’s my Izzy Kitty,” Henson says with a laugh, as she explains how Izzy loves to crawl into her lap and roll on her back for tummy rubs.
Her friends and family who knew how Henson felt about cats previously are amused by her new status as a cat person. But, Henson knows they, too, could be converted. “Cats get a bad rap, and people’s opinions might change if they’d open their minds,” she says.
Image: Yin-Yang and Artemis
Worth the Work
“I am a convert!” exclaims Gisela Hausmann of Greenville, S.C. Although she never hated cats per se, Hausmann was raised to believe dogs and cats were a lot of trouble and work.
She carried that belief into adulthood. After her husband died, her heartbroken kids begged for a pet. “I kept saying, ‘Not now.’” But, she says, her daughter in particular really wanted a pet. Then, Hausmann had a moment of truth. “By the time my daughter was 15, it occurred to me that if I did not adopt a cat right now, my daughter would be moving out before I’d show the guts to deal with the trouble.”
So, she adopted Dixie from a local shelter, and from that moment on, she was a bonafide cat lover. After the kids moved out, Dixie remained with Hausmann until the cat died. Then, Hausmann adopted a new cat, Artemis, and soon after, Yin-Yang as a playmate for Artemis.
Hausmann, an author, says when she’s writing a book, she reads the drafts to her cats. “Today, it is clear to me that Hemingway knew what he was doing,” she muses. “Cats help authors, who have to work alone sitting at a desk…, to be balanced.”
Image: Lily the Cat
You Had Me at Meow
Ann Pryor of Queens, New York admits she, too, used to hate cats. “I had been scratched by cats, had cats walk across me like I wasn’t there. I thought their litterboxes stank and that they were evil,” she explains.
That all changed when her mom decided to get a Siamese kitten named Lily to keep her company. “One afternoon Lily, still a baby, crawled into my lap and fell asleep. For the first time I experienced a strong love toward this tiny, helpless, sleeping creature!"
After that, Pryor says, she and Lily bonded. “We adore each other,” Pryor says.
What’s more, Pryor says she’s developed a love for all cats, frequenting the local cat cafe, Koneko Cat Cafe, and even regularly feeds the feral cats in her neighborhood.
Despite these cat lovers’ preconceived notions, their first cats won their hearts. So, the next time you hear someone say, “Oh, I don’t like cats,” ask them: “Have you ever really known one?” It’s likely they haven’t.
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