With the Internet abuzz about the world’s cutest kitten this week (I’m more impressed with the photography), I thought it might be apropos to post a kind of rebuttal to the notion that all people like animals.
Let’s not tip-toe around the subject. People who dislike animals are considered evil, prejudiced against. The same way people who don’t like kids are prejudiced against. I think the idea is – how can you dislike something so innocent and pure?
Well, 1) OCD. Goodness knows I can’t stand me getting dirty in certain ways. The handful of times I have adopted a cat I have always felt the need to clean his or her bottom with a sanitizing, flush-safe wipe as they can’t seem to clean up after themselves entirely. (Translation: I wipe cat’s bums.) 2) Where you’re at emotionally? I have spent most of my life just trying to keep myself together – I don’t have time to figure you out cat. A cat’s (or dog’s) neediness competes with my own.
I just know when I look at a dog or cat, I feel badly about myself. And the more needy it is, the more noise it makes and the more space it takes up, the more I can’t stand it.
One of my best friends recently crossed over to the dark side. She hadn’t really liked pets before THE ONE, and I’m sure she felt the same way I still do when she would come over to my house and get bombarded by my old cat. The last time we visited was the first time I saw her interact with her doggie. We took walks, not something we would necessarily have done in the past. I felt jealous and even a little abandoned as we trudged through the dog park, our conversation briefly suspended at times so she could innocently check up on him.
Pets become like children to people. Best friends. Blog entries. Status updates. Tweets. More often than not, iPhone wallpaper. They give people purpose where there may not have been purpose before. There is no more sacred gift than receiving something in good faith (by a person, God, Allah, Yahweh, etc) to take care of so that it not just survives but flourishes.
I haven’t had that kind of a relationship with a pet, but I hope to someday. In the meantime, because I dislike animals, I will make sure to kick at least ten puppies a day and muzzle another 20 stray cats. Because that’s what people who don’t like animals do. They actually destroy them.
And again, until I get to that pet-happy place, it will still be hard for me to relate to your pet stories and triumphs. And even though my facial expression is pained when your dog jumps on or licks me (luckily, it’s that expression you can contort to look a little like you’re actually ecstatically happy), I’m not disregarding your sacred relationship with a furry friend nor do I think you are obsessed. Well, a little. But also human.
Just like me. The animal hater.