cats cause schizophrenia; pregnant
women need to give up their cats
(for fear of toxoplasmosis); cats suck
the breath out of babies and suffocate them; cats are anti-social; cats
are inherently evil but tolerate people because we feed them.
As a species, dogs have no such
image issues. I suggest that’s because
we’ve genetically evolved side by
side with dogs and because we’ve
bred them to be naturally appealing
to us. We can’t help but be attracted
When it comes to cats, there’s little gray area. People either love them
or they don’t. And when they don’t,
they actually disdain them. I suggest
their dislike is based on ignorance.
The United States is supposed to
be a pretty smart place. But sometimes I wonder. Even today, people
actually believe these antiquated
notions — everything from black cats
are bad luck to cats are conniving to
end our way of life.
Sometimes, talking sense can
help. And many organizations, like
PetSmart Charities, are attempting
to effect change.
I think little by little we’re making
progress. I think that. Then I meet
this guy who goes on about how
cats are so unfriendly. As we’re
about to enter his home, he says,
“Wait here. Seriously, I have to put
my dog away, or he’ll bite you.”
I said, “That’s right — cats are
Steve Dale is a certified
animal behavior consultant.
He is a national newspaper
columnist (Tribune Content
Agency); heard on WGN
Radio, Chicago; host of the
nationally syndicated Steve Dale’s Pet
World; and author of the e-book Good
Cat, among others. He’s a founder of the
CATalyst Council and serves on the boards
of the Winn Feline Foundation and Tree
House Humane Society, Chicago. Check
out his blog at chicagonow.com/stevedale.
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Behaviorist Marilyn Krieger
gives tips to help cats who
aren’t socialized or who hide
because of previous trauma.
explains that sometimes reducing your
cat’s anxiety starts
long- and short-
term ways to
related to vet
visits for you and
Angie Bailey’s cats
probably feel sneaky in
their hideouts around
the house, but she
always finds them.
A CAT WHO