Man With Cat

I was reading one of those celebrity gossip magazines someone had left behind in the hospital lobby (I did not buy it! I swear!) when I happened across a blurb about Jesse Eisenberg of Social Network fame. In it, he raved about how the more movies he does, “the more cats I feel the need to get.”

How cool is that? I love it when men love kitties!

Turns out, plenty of my friends agree that there’s something wonderful about a guy who adores cats. Although it’s true that most of my friends are either veterinarians or avid animal people, we think it’s extra nice when men, in particular, are drawn to felines.

I know that sounds kind of sexist. And it probably is. After all, our attraction to these men is founded on our stereotypical acceptance of men as knee-jerk cat haters who are hell bent on dissing kitties lest anyone impugn their masculinity or mistake their sexual orientation.

You know the type: He’s the kind who thinks that it’s funny to claim that he detests cats, and then hastens to compare them unfavorably with dogs. What’s more, should he keep dogs, he’s most likely to cultivate a macho man-dog bond reminiscent of a drinking buddy or a wingman than a soul mate. So it’s cool whenever we meet a guy who bucks the trend.

But there’s more to it than mere cultural rarity. Much more. But when it came to articulating it, I found it harder to do than I’d anticipated. So much harder that it took me a few days to finally pin down the rare and mysterious cat-addled male’s six finest points:

1. He's an Independent Thinker

He bucks trends not on principle, but based on his own personal take on the world. Not content to regurgitate cultural babble, he does what he loves — not what he's told to do.

2. He's a Serious Pet Lover

Most of these guys love all animals, not just cats. In fact, it’s been my observation that plenty would be happy with all kinds of pets, but they are simply trying to be responsible owners by keeping pets who make allowances for their hectic work and travel schedules.

3. He's Willing to Commit

This is kind of a corollary to #2. The cat men I know are serious about their careers, but they’re also serious about their pets. It’s a big plus when they’re willing to make a 15-year commitment to a friend.

4. He's Obviously Special

I think this goes for all cat lovers. It’s easy to love a pet who always acts like you’re the top of the food chain; it’s quite another to love a critter who thinks that the only good ideas are the ones that she came up with first.

5. He's Mature

Maybe it’s another way of articulating #1 and #3, but I think it’s something more than that. It takes maturity to be loved according to another creature’s terms.

6. He's Comfortable With His Masculinity

I hate that our culture thinks that cats are for she-men. So it stands to reason that men who are open about their fondness for cats — whether they keep them or not — tend to be pretty comfortable about themselves and, most obviously, with their own masculinity.

So next time I’m in L.A., Mr. Eisenberg, perhaps you’ll consider a date with a veterinarian who thinks crazy cat men are really sexy and definitely does house calls. If not, maybe you’ll at least consider adopting one of my two foster kittens.

Check out more of Dr. Patty Khuly's opinion pieces on Vetstreet.