Animal instincts

OK. I’m going to admit something. And a lot of you are not going to like it.

I don’t like pets.

No. I REALLY don’t like pets.

I’m not a dog person, I’m not a cat person. I am a, “Oh God, get that thing away from me!” person. The kind of person who crosses to the other side of the street if they see a dog walker approaching. The kind of person who leans away awkwardly when someone asks them to pat their cat. The kind of person who gets disproportionately annoyed when people post pictures of their pets on Facebook. I don’t like the way pets smell. I don’t like their fur. I don’t like the fact that they hang around all the time, but don’t talk. What’s the fun in that?

I blame my parents. Growing up, we never had a pet (apart from a brief dalliance with crazy crabs foisted on us as a birthday present. We didn’t feed them. They died). My Dad, when he was a kid, conducted experiments on his pet cat, in an attempt to disprove they theory that they always land on their feet (he grew up to be a doctor, not a serial killer, by the way). My brother was allergic to dogs. As a family, we didn’t look fondly on pets. And with three siblings to play with, I never saw the need for a four-legged friend.

It wasn’t until I reached adulthood, that I realised that not liking pets was something of a social faux pas. You are meant to tell people their dogs are cute, even if they’re slobbery, barking, dirty, pooing, well, DOGS. You are meant to pat them. And not rush to wash your hands immediately afterwards. You are meant to find a story of a cat bringing home a dead bird amusing, rather than HORRIFYING (the only thing worse, for me, than the thought of an animal, is the thought of an animal with another dead animal in its mouth).

And when you meet a potential partner, you should do the same. Act interested when they tell you about their pet. Pat said pet when introduced. Go along with talks about the future, which involve a house and a dog. Try not to recoil in horror at the thought of a house with dog hair all over it. A future where you have to get home early, to feed the cat. A future that involves shovelling dog poo.Β For some men, the pet question is more important than the baby question. A future, with a pet, is non-negotiable.

So, I’ve been pondering this point a lot lately. Wondering if I should tone down my pet hate. Seem a bit more flexible about my future, be more polite about other people’s animals. Bury the fear and disgust, and just chill out.

Because this new me should be able to do it, right? Think about all the brave things I’ve done this year, the acceptances I’ve made, the maturity I’ve shown! Being cool around animals is just another self-improvement I can make!

Well yesterday, the universe decided to test me.

I was sitting inside, working on a job application, when A CAT JUMPED THROUGH THE WINDOW. INTO MY HOUSE.

And what did the new, chilled out, pet-accepting Claire do?

Screamed. Shouted, “Go AWAY! Go AWAY! I don’t LIKE YOU!” Decided I could probably touch the cat with the bottom of my shoe, without getting cat rabies. Tried to push it tentatively towards a door. Shouted some more. “Go AWAY! Get out of MY HOUSE! I really don’t LIKE YOU!”

After five traumatic minutes, the amused cat decided to take pity on the crazed blogger and wandered outside. I collapsed on a couch, heart pounding, vowing to never open a window, EVER AGAIN.

Yep, cool as a cucumber.

59 thoughts on “Animal instincts

  1. Even the fact that you think someone would ask you to ‘pat their cat’ shows how much you really don’t get it.

    And no, I don’t think you should tone down the pet hate. Ever. Maybe I’m biased though?

  2. You are so funny and interesting. I have always been a dog lover, reptile lover and all that crap but I do not like cats. If you tone down your pet hate you might get anxiety attacks. That is a very hard thing to do. I hate quiet places. Whenever I am in a quiet place I feel like they could hear my tummy grumbling or my teeth grinding. It just makes me nuts.

  3. I laughed when I read this–sorry! :0 I can’t relate b/c I am a dog person, and after that a cat person. However, I understand that some people don’t like or are afraid of animals and that’s totally fine with me (I wouldn’t push my dogs / cats on them). But when it came to my husband (or any potential partner) they had to be OK with pets and having pets, b/c I definitely wanted to have one (or two) someday. I don’t think I could have been with someone who was against having a dog / cat b/c of how much I like them. ….We have a cat right now, but eventually plan to get a dog too. So I def. knew what you were talking about when you mentioned a cat carrying a dead mouse in its mouth—very typical for outdoor cats!

    Congrats on being FP! πŸ™‚

  4. aaaah poor you and poor cat! I hope you like monkeys as we are far superior to cats and other animals you know. I wouldnt dare give you a fright for example as we are superior animals and love reading your blog.. Hope you’ve recovered and ps….hope you get the job!

    Love two very lovely monkeys xx

  5. This was hilarious! I think I actually snorted while reading it. It is fascinating for me to get a glimpse into the mind of a pet-hater as I am the total opposite. I L-O-V-E dogs…like in a kiss them on the nose, let them lick my face kind of way (cats are okay but dogs are the best). I will tell you that there is still relationship hope for you. My husband really doesn’t like pets either (his mom is basically just like you) and I married him anyway. Good luck in your mission to be one with the furry creatures!

    • Eeewwwww!!! Dog face licking is the WORST! My ex-boyfriend let his dog do that once. Then tried to kiss me. I actually ran away.

      That said, thanks for the comment! I am actually fine with other people having and loving pets. Just don’t make me touch them (or kiss you after it’s licked your face)!

  6. That cat so knew you were scared. They always do. As for dogs, it’s love me love my dog. Maybe not a popular point of view on this blog, sorry.

  7. Well, you really should never get pet friendly. It was nice from you, that you did not trow things on that cat. Many people would do worst things, just because they do not understand animals

  8. I had to laugh because your post also reminded me of people with little children and wanting everyone to think their kids are cute and adorable no matter what. I’m not a child or a pet hater but sometimes I don’t want to touch someone else’s pet and sometimes I don’t think some people’s kids are cute or adorable (especially when they are ruining my sit-down dinner at a really nice restaurant). Be yourself and if you don’t like pets? Who cares! We all are different, that’s the beauty of life. Congrats on Freshly Pressed.

  9. Interesting viewpoint. I feel similar things except for not pertaining to animals. I love animals. Sadly though, I am more repulsed by my own species. I don’t like babies. I feel your pain of being oppressed by society’s dogma that everybody is supposed to love animals, just as everyone is supposed to think infants are adorable. I cringe at the thought of a life filled with scattered remnants of food covered in baby saliva scattered across my table, just as you shy away from the thought of dog fur. I can definetly feel you on this. Thanks for your unique perspective!

    • This blog and then this comment, so sums it up for me. I love animals and I’m quite crazy about my dogs – actually I’m one of those that treat pets as their children. But I don’t like human babies. I like to talk with young children. I like playing with them and sharing their world, but I just don’t want to have one in my house, doing nappies, slogging after their homework, etc etc. And I totally understand how difficult it must be, in a world quick to pronounce judgements, to pretend to be something we’re not.

  10. Cats do often pick their owners, and it generally works out well for both parties IF you like pets. The only thing I know about strays is that they probably don’t have rabies unless they are drooling and eager to bite. Also, if another cat lets itself in, check for bald spots. They are a sign of fleas and ticks. (P.S., the next time somebody asks you to “pat” a cat, scratch it’s chin instead. It’s like magic purr button!)

  11. To this day I shy away from cats and I’m a grown, weightlifting man As a child I was sitting on the couch of a friend and their cat came in from out doors, sat in front of me amd commenced to throw-up a mouse…sorry.

  12. Owning a dog takes two people that like that dog. Really, in terms of dating, be up front about it. You’re not the only person out there who doesn’t like pets. If anyone wheedles you into getting a pet, it should be your children, not you SO. And go ahead and be annoyed about FB posts. In public, it may be best to grin and bear it and make up allergies.

    I love my dog, but I don’t expect other people to love my dog. He is slobbery. He’s snoring against my leg right now and he’s been farting all freaking night. I totally get why you might not want to pat him (even though I totally do).

  13. Lol you’re so funny. The way you feel about pets is the way that I feel about children…haha. I’m a little baffled about how a cat jumped through your window though!? I’ve had birds come in but never a cat….. Great post. πŸ™‚

    • Mei, this sort of thing would never happen in Australia, where we’re sensible and have fly screens. But here in London, any animal can jump through any old open window they like. I truly am too scared to open the windows now!

  14. Congratulations on FP! I like cats, and have adopted two, but my husband isn’t a fan. It stems from a particularly traumatic loss of a pet (a dog) when he was a child. So far, I’m happy to say that our differing views on pets hasn’t been too hard on our marriage!

  15. You got freshly pressed. Nice work. Sorry about your pet hate as pets add a lot to your life….though so do other things that I am not a fan of…..I am sure that rock climbing is fun, but not my thing….everybody has their thing and their “not-thing” I guess

  16. Grats on FP!

    I feel your ‘pain’. With difference since I’m an animal lover and grew up in a house full of animals. I think I’ve had more different sorts of pets than 90% of people do. Reptiles, birds, the usual cat or dog, various other small furry or prickly mammals. Even a few amphibians.

    My ‘social faux pas’ is in the beverage department. Drinks are so tangled into social situations, it is impossible to escape. I can’t drink tea or coffee and even if I could, I wouldn’t want to. My few experiences with either, I disliked the taste. Beer? Can’t even stand the smell. Same with wine and stronger spirits. So when people get together and drink begins to flow, I feel very much the social outsider. I’ve at least become accustomed to the strange looks when I visit someone and politely deflect offers of coffee to juice or even plain ole water.

    • Oh, I don’t like tea or coffee either! People think I’m SO strange. I totally agree that it’s a social thing you’re MEANT to do. I still ask people ‘out for a coffee’, then get a bit sheepish as I order a juice. Makes me look about five years old!

  17. I completely hate other people’s dogs. Completely. They’re unlovable – dirty, itchy fur, slobbery, licky, bitey, jumpy, they lean on you, bark, look me in the eye weird. Eugh! I also cross the street when somebody with a dog is coming.

    I have 2 pet cats though. I love my cats. But, I don’t like other people’s cats much, I never ask people to pat mine but will point it out if the cat is doing something ridiculous. That’s it.

    So, you’re not alone on hating other people’s, haha. Maybe one day you’ll calm down on the reactions to furry things jumping onto you, but who knows.
    Nice post πŸ™‚

  18. Hahaha, I have to say, I laughed pretty darn loud when I read the part that a cat jumped through your window πŸ™‚ I’m allergic to animals so that gives me a good excuse to not have to go near them. I’ve gotten better lately know and don’t mind being around them as much. The only thing I don’t like is when dogs stick their noses all up in my privates. I think you would flip πŸ˜›

      • There you go again, I can’t stop laughing! Hahaha. That makes for a very interesting story!! Haha. I can’t say anything that exciting has ever happened to me on a date πŸ˜›

  19. I think I am the polar opposite of you. I love pets…a lot. I’m talking to the point where, as a kid, I used to bring home lost/stray dogs that I found out wandering the streets who, with enough coaxing, let me get close enough to grab them. Why? The reason is twofold. 1) I think I’m Batman or something when I see strays or lost dogs wandering the streets all alone. And 2), I always secretly hoped my mother would let me keep them. Clearly that was dangerous, so I’ve had to hang up my bat suit now that I’m a “grown-up.” I still fight those “bat-urges,” though, every once in a while. But even though I’m the polar opposite of you, I understand where you’re coming from, and I think that people, such as myself, who have pets have to do our best to respect the people that come into our homes. Not everyone wants your bird on their shoulder or your cat on their lap.

  20. I have never had pets but still I am a ‘Awww, your Dog is so adorable” kind of a person. I hold and pet dogs but I maintain my distance from cats. I think cats are cute too but I hesitate to touch them. They have this particular “Don’t come near me or I’ll scratch you” look.

  21. This reminds me very much of my mother – a self proclaimed anti pet person. Who, by the way secretly loves my dog and pets her when no one’s looking. I certainly respect your feelings 100% but I wonder how much is fear and how much is dislike? If a potential romance is at risk because of your feelings about pets then it’s not the romance for you. They should respect your feelings.
    For me, well I’ve spent my whole 33+ year career working with animals. A lot of them rescues, abuse cases, neglect cases ( by a human of course ) along with many other happy situations. My life would not be complete without an animal to share it with. I am glad that you at least recognize how you feel and don’t even try to accept a pet into your life. Sadly, that pet will know your true feelings and every pet should be loved.

  22. Great post! I’m a dog lover, and a reef lover, but I can still relate. People equate being a dog lover with being an animal lover. No. I don’t want to pet the pony, ride the ostrich, or milk the cow. I definitely don’t think the deer leaving behind lyme disease ridden ticks are cute. :p BTW, definitely be up front with any potential SO about how you feel.

  23. HAHAHA this is hilarious! Although I have a cat of my own and don’t mind her at all – I can totally sympathize with you due to having a friend EXACTLY like you! Some people are just not pet people – and that’s perfectly okay!! Hopefully you don’t have anymore frightening things come through your window πŸ™‚

  24. It is a funny story and if it’s really true, I empathize with these fears because they create worry in so many places where other people would be totally comfortable. And people react with anger when faced with seemingly baseless fear and rejection of something they like/love. I work with dogs who are afraid of people because they smell funny, move funny, yell at weird things, have odd rules and rituals that these dogs just don’t understand. Unluckily for them they do have to learn to accept people or else.
    Luckily for you, you don’t have to like pets or have any. And mostly not liking cats won’t get you in trouble because they don’t care very much how you act as you proved in your story (although that cat was a very confident one-it could have decided to hide in your place because you were acting so oddly), but not understanding dogs…well many of them care a lot how you act/react and when you flail your hands, stare, move oddly, and smell fearful/disgusted (ah yes they can smell a thousand times better than we can – oh ya they know all sorts of things ‘cuz they can smell them) you create excitement of the upsetting kind. And dogs are almost everywhere. So even though you don’t drink coffee, I don’t think you’re afraid of it – maybe I’m wrong – so you can calmly ask for juice, won’t freak if a coffee cup is put in front of you and nobody cares that much or plans on biting you because of it.
    You said you wanted to improve the situation – do it, find out how to understand dogs (they do have clear body language – note; cartoons of doggy postures are ineffective teaching tools) and to know how you actually should react. Then other than random brief uneventful contact that is incredibly unlikely to spread disease but possibly will spread fur, you will be able to skip drawing their unwanted attention.
    FYI no rabies in England so you can cross that off your risk list. And how do you know your Dr. dad isn’t a serial killer – iatrogenic (doctor interventions, hospital based infections, medicine errors/interactions) is the third leading cause of death in the U.S.–ah but probably better in Europe. All the best to you, great writing, good topic. Eek my gravatar includes a HORSE.

  25. Ok so i guess im a crazy animal lover. . . I have 6 dogs, 2 horses,3 fish, over 40 birds, over 20 chickens, a goat, and a kittyβ™₯. I have also owned a bunny and im willing to take in any pet even if my parents won’t let me. But in a crazy/EMBARASSING way I feel like i can relate. I have the greatest fear of “rolly-pollies”, butterflies, lovebugs, and ladybugs!!!! I will litterally cry if one landed on me. It’s not a happy feeling at all but I have a feeling I know where the phobea came from. I think it all began as a child and I was watching SpondgeBob and they did a close up of a real ladybug attacking Patrick and Sopndgebob. It’s crazy that even as you grow up you never forget and I even feel like the fear might be getting worse as I get older.
    I love your story. Hopefully one day you do get a pet even though they don’t talk, you soon begin to feel so connected to them in someway. Is there anything you would even concider taking in as your own?

  26. I don’t hate pets. But I don’t love them either. And I also agree how social norms nowadays require complimenting other people’s pets. Just like how I feel about not so cute babies (I know, sounds mean) I don’t have anything against your child, but I can’t lie saying it’s cute when I don’t think it is. Same applies with dogs and cats.

    Congrats on being freshly pressed. This blog is realy funny.

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