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Cat lovers - is the trait dying out?

post #1 of 25
Thread Starter 
Hi All,

I realize this is a very extreme kind of thing to suggest, but I've been studying some data and reading about pet ownership trends lately. And I've been observing the discussions about "character education" in my local community, which all seem to completely leave out HUMANE education. It's got me wondering, whether people who love and admire cats are maybe on our way out?

If most dog owners are families with children, and only SOME dog-owning families also own cats, those children may or may not grow up to like cats. If most cat owners are single women, their nieces and nephews might be somewhat influenced by their love of cats, but I think, maybe, not so much as the young people would be influenced by a mother or father that shows affection for the species.

So I'm posting this poll to see whether we here at TCS are successfully passing the love of cats along to future generations! (I've never done one of these polls before though, so I hope it will work the way I expect it to!!)
post #2 of 25
From about the age of 6 my parents always had cats and dogs in our house.

When i married i wanted a cat, but my husband pleaded with me not to as he was never brought up having animals around him. Being a fool i backed down.

If only he knew i have two of them now!!

Not wanting kids of my own(except the furry type), i have made friends at home and at work aware of how cute they are and how much love you get back off them
post #3 of 25
Just to make sure I voted right.... are we supposed to pick 2 items or just 1? I chose my parents owned a cat and I do too, but I don't have any kids. Should I have also checked the no, I don't have kids selection?
post #4 of 25
Originally Posted by squirtle
Just to make sure I voted right.... are we supposed to pick 2 items or just 1? I chose my parents owned a cat and I do too, but I don't have any kids. Should I have also checked the no, I don't have kids selection?
Although my mum and dad are no longer here i voted "i am a child of cat owners and own a cat"
post #5 of 25
Thread Starter 
Hi All,

I made it a one-choice only poll. (I figured I shouldn't try to get too fancy, being as it is the first poll I've done here on TCS!!) It sounds to me as if you both voted right. (I admit that I haven't put weeks and weeks of thought into the poll design, just kinda jotted it down there -- I promise, I won't try to publish the results, I hoped it would generate a bit of discussion among us.)

I am a stepmom, and I realize there isn't exactly a choice to cover that, either. And, another point is that here on TCS, we are hardly a representative cross-section of society!! So we're likely to get a better showing of cat-loving tendencies than another poll might reveal. Still, I think it's interesting to think about whether we are encouraging appreciation of cats. I talk to lots of people these days who are afraid of cats -- likely because they have never been around them as youngsters, I think. So sad!

post #6 of 25
Your right Linda!. This was my husbands problem. Whenever we visited my parents he used to watch the cat like a hawk in case she went near him. It used to get me annoyed, and i'd always say 'for goodness sake she wont claw your face to bits!!'.

But the cat got the last laugh. when he wasn't looking she'd jump on the back of his armchair which used to make him shoot out the chair in fright
post #7 of 25
I have Jeepers, My Dad has Axl (on loan ) and my Mum has Cobweb and Bandit. My Mother in Law has Jester.
post #8 of 25
My mom and dad had 2 cats during the time I was growing up. The first named Benson died of feline leukemia, and then we had Ashley for many years. I am not sure exactly what happened to her, she got sick though. Then my mom and dad transformed into dog people, they have 4 dogs. I have always loved animals and knew I wanted to have a cat. My boyfriend did not want a cat but after 4 years he gave in. His parents didn't have animals when he was growing up, and I think that's why he wasn't too fond of having a pet. His little boy who is 7 has a ton of animals at his moms so he loves Dori and is very good with her. (Except the tail pulling incident a few weeks ago )
post #9 of 25
My parents always had cats, growing up we had Tom, Herman (he didn't last very long, couldn't get along with Tom so my Dad gave him to my Uncle Donald) and Bubbles (The cat my parents still have.). I of course have Gandalf and Samwise and will probably pick up another in the next couple of years.

My cousin still lives with her parents and they have four cats total. But she was always raised around them. She has a couple of nephews through her brother that adore the cats even though their parents only have dogs. Actually DD's pretty good about turning people onto cats, she has turned her boyfriend into a cat person. And has actually give three kittens to another friend of ours that didn't like cats prior (And man are those kitties spoiled now)

I think it might actually be a family thing, my Uncle Donald who Dad gave Herman to now has a feral colony that he takes care of. And I have another Uncle who has a couple of barn cats.
post #10 of 25
Even in a dog family, there is hope! I grew up with dogs, hubby with cats. He turned me on to cats, and obviously I'm a full on crazy cat lady now! My friends are also dog people, and their youngest daughter absolutely LOVES cats. No idea where she got it from, none of the family including extended family has cats. But Katie adores kitties.
post #11 of 25
I come from a dog and bird family. I'm the first in my immediate family to own a cat. My uncle does have 3 cats though. I never realized before I got Charlotte that cats were extremely social, playful, interactive, and a great alternative to having a dog. I've learned a lot about cats in general since last July!!
post #12 of 25
Linda...part of the problem as I see it is that we as a rescue community are starting to discourage kitten ownership for those with young children. How can that be helping our community?? The rescue I volunteer with will allow adoptions of kittens into families with young children..but I've heard from people who tried other organizations and were denied. When I was a child, myself and my 2 brothers each got a kitten...we grew up learning how to care and respect and frankly LOVE cats. Now, my parents have a cat, I have 2 and one of my brothers has 1 (the other travels too frequently but wants to get one at some later date). I think as a rescue community we need to understand the long term effects of the rules we are placing onto potential adoptors.

post #13 of 25
Katie, I agree wholeheartedly. I think having a pet really helps a child's development. Even if they don't have a dog or cat, having Crazy Crabs, or a hamster or a mouse teaches the child about being gentle, what it feels like not to be the smallest in the house, how to care for an animal and also being responsible. The best thing about pets is they come in all sorts of shapes and sizes. there's a pet out there for a child, even in the smallest apartment.

When my kittens are still young (about 3-4 weeks) I invite the neighbors kids over for a gentle petting and holding session for the kittens. I get them to wash their hands well and sit on the floor with the kittens. The delight on their faces is awesome. They don't feel ashamed about loking closely under the tail (for example) and asking question about what they see. They love hearing all about what each part of the kitten does (what's that?, what's that?) and love just sitting and watching how the kitten's move around or drink their bottle. They really enjoy not having to be told, "Don't touch." And, of course, it benefits the kitten's socialisation too.

Overall, I think having a pet is a really important part of childhood. It helps to make a well-rounded child.
post #14 of 25
Thread Starter 
Hi All,

Good to hear from everyone about relatives with cats, how you learned to love cats, and the importance of pets in the way children grow up! I agree, the rescue and welfare community could do a lot better about *encouraging* pet ownership.

post #15 of 25
I grew up with cats and dogs as well as horses. I love horses and cats the most, but I also love dogs.
post #16 of 25
We had a cat while I was growing up, but that is because I'm the major cat lover in my family. I have no children, but I find that working with a shelter helps me to pass along my love for cats. Also, one day I took Jordan outside (on a harness of coarse) to see how he liked it & some of the kids in the neighborhood came over & were petting him & he was being a good boy, so I look at that as an opportunity to show kids how sweet a cat can be. Also, I know that a couple of our volenteers went to a local kindergarten class & taught them about cats. I've always found that there are people who don't like cats, but I tend to feel sorry for those people because they will never know the true joy that comes from sharing your life with a cat.
post #17 of 25
I grew up in a family that had just about every kind of pet imaginable, and married somebody who had never had pets. Since then, we've had several dogs and cats. My husband enjoys the furbabies. We don't have kids, but "his" niece and nephew have developed a love of animals just by being around them here. Ditto the kids next door - their parents had never had pets, but after interacting with our pets, the kids wanted, and got, their own, and all three (now adults) are animal lovers. "My" nieces and nephews have a zoo at home, and couldn't picture life without pets. All of our nieces and nephews have been around animals since they were born, and I wholeheartedly agree that a pet helps a child's development.
Just a note here. Jamie (5) has always been very jealous of children, and only accepted our nephew (currently 16) after his voice broke (now they're pals). Our niece is 11, and therefore still qualifies as a child, but the relationship between Jamie and Dani has changed remarkably over the past few months. She's dyslexic, and is having a great deal of trouble in school, despite remedial help. She comes here and spends time with Jamie, and tells him about her problems (yes, I've eavesdropped; she has a tendency to stammer, and I was interested in knowing whether she did it when talking to him - she doesn't). He has become so affectionate towards her that we can hardly believe our eyes. Unfortunately, the only pets her parents will allow are parakeets - we suggested something furry and cuddly, but the parakeets are better than no pet at all, despite the fact that they are so occupied with each other that Dani only plays a supporting role in their life. At the very least, she's learning responsibility (and asked for a "DustBuster" for her birthday, in order to clean up after the birds!)
The other observation I can make is that I know very few people who grew up with pets who chose to live without pets as an adult, or who denied their children the pleasure of having pets, and those who did did so because of their jobs (long hours, travel, care of a sick relative, etc.). On the other hand, I know a great many people who grew up without pets and married/lived with pet lovers, and became true converts.
post #18 of 25
My family had two cats and a dog when I was growing up, but didn't have them all at the same time. I have always like both kinds of pets. My son also enjoys both cats and dogs, but doesn't get attached to the cats the same way I do. In fact, my son thinks I get way too attached because I talk baby talk to the cats, keep buying cat toys and etc. My son doesn't do these things.
post #19 of 25
My nana and grandad breed cats! my mum always had farm cats, and of course my dad grew up with cats. If I ever have children(Hope not) then they would be cat lovers as well!
post #20 of 25
I ahve two cats and my sister had a cat. My mom likes cats and my husband likes cats..so our children will most likely be cat lovers too
post #21 of 25
I grew up with cats. So much so, one kitty we had was born before I was and passed away my senior year of high school My parents also had a siamese when I was born, but he died in our home when I was 6. We've always had at least 2 cats in the house and usually around a dozen ferals that we TNR (my brother and I LOVED playing with the outside kitties). My older sister has a cat too.....must be our upbringing We also grew up with dogs, but only had 1 or 2 at most.

My boyfriend didn't grow up with any pets, but 2 of his aunts had one cat each and he enjoyed the kitty's company when he was over there. His first cousin is the only one with dogs (they raise dalmations). Both my boyfriend and his brother LOVE cats but think dogs are loud....go figure! Oh well....he told me I can get as many kitties as I want to in the future (that is when we get a bigger place).

post #22 of 25
I always had dogs growing up. My mom prefered dogs, she really didn't like cats, never had them either growing up. Then my dad brought home a cat when I was 18, after our dog Charm passed away. My mom and dad now are on there 4th cat. I would love to see my boyfriend's mom adopt a cat, but I don't think it's gonna happen. I don't think she's an animal person. My boyfriend never grew up with pets, now he just loves Sash and all cats.

Lisa & Sash
post #23 of 25
My option isn't up there.......I was raised that cats were just nasty creatures! that Dogs were the best animals to own. It wasn't until almost 3 years ago when I was introduced to the joy of owning a cat.........I had other family members who owned cats but they were frowned upon for doing so. Now that I own 2 WONDERFUL kitties I know just what I missed out on growing up.
post #24 of 25
Originally Posted by WillowsMom
My option isn't up there.......I was raised that cats were just nasty creatures! that Dogs were the best animals to own. It wasn't until almost 3 years ago when I was introduced to the joy of owning a cat.........I had other family members who owned cats but they were frowned upon for doing so. Now that I own 2 WONDERFUL kitties I know just what I missed out on growing up.
Aha! Another convert! IMO, why not enjoy both species?
post #25 of 25
I couldn't respond to the poll because there wasn't a selection that fit me. I am the child of parents who both HAD cats in their childhood homes. My dad was always a dog man. My mother liked her cats but grew more and more distant from loving them as her allergies to animals increased and several of her dogs/cats got run over, shot by neighbors, etc.

So, after my parents got married, they went the dog route until I was about 8 years-old. My neighbor had a friendly cat and so I begged and begged till my parents caved. I got my first cat at 8 and have owned them ever since. My father is now a total cat convert. He likes them much better than dogs. He completely babies two of my three cats. My mother also likes cats but (partly due to her allergies) doesn't care one way or another if they were a part of her life. She also can't stand litterboxes in HER spaces and cat hair all over! Too bad they had me as their child.
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