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Is the Hatred of Cats Rooted in Misogyny?

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.

Arguably, hating cats is deeply rooted in misogyny. I know this claim may sound like a stretch, but the association of cats with women and the generalized negative personality traits people believe cats to have both stems from the hatred of women. 

There are gender associations between cats and dogs; cats are often linked to women and dogs to men. Almost anything correlated with women is seen as lesser than things correlated with men. This is why people are fine hearing the phrase “I hate cats” without a supporting argument.

There is a positive view of single men who own dogs as dogs are considered a “man’s best friend.” However, there are negative connotations behind the phrase “crazy cat lady,” attacking single, childless women who own cats. Calling someone a “pussy” is meant to be demeaning, and the term relates to both women and cats. Women are also called “catty,” while there is no equivalent term for men. 

I find both cats and dogs to be great pets, which is the case for many cat-lovers. But, the way people hate cats and the way people hate women are very similar. 

Cats are known for their need for boundaries, independence and consent. They have a mind of their own and require trust and respect. They like people who respect their boundaries and who let them have their space. 

Many cats are clear in expressing when they want attention and when they do not, but people who hate cats do not usually understand this. People try to pet them or pick them up and then have a bad experience with a cat that justifies their hatred towards the whole species when they maybe should have given the cat the space it needed. 

The parallel between cats and women is pretty obvious here, with people not liking things they can’t control. Women, like cats and most humans, need boundaries, consent, respect and independence. When these are taken away, they obviously won’t act genially. 

In our society, misogyny is still ingrained in almost everything. Hating women is common and unfortunately, we are often targets of unnecessary violence. Is it a coincidence that cats are abused at a higher rate than other domestic animals and like women, are victims of hatred in the form of violence? 

This is all very generalized, we live in a patriarchal society, and most things can be tied into that. I am aware that people may dislike animals in general, have had bad experiences with cats or are allergic and that is where their dislike for cats comes from. 

However, hating cats and preferring dogs are two different things. Many of my friends agree that it is a red flag if someone doesn’t have a reason for why they hate cats. You can not like an animal, but the way many people negatively discuss cats is rooted in misogyny. I am not saying hating cats is misogynistic; just that the hate directed towards cats is arguably rooted in misogyny with the parallels, it has to the hatred of women.

Maddie Quigley is a political science major with a minor in media studies. She is a vegetarian, plant-lover, avid reader and she enjoys talking politics.
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