By ABBY ELLIN
IF you ask Adam Fulrath who is the love of his life, he will barely blink an eye before responding: Parappa. (Oh, cripes! This is going to be like shooting fish in a barrel.)
Mr. Fulrath, a 37-year-old design director at Time Out New York, keeps five photographs of Parappa, a shorthaired, bicolored, mixed-breed cat, on his desktop. (Okay. If a guy has five photos of his dog on his desk, he's creepy as well. Isn't that like in the Bible or something?...Wait...here it is...Matthew 8:14: "If a man lies down with cats, the wrath of his Holiness shall befall him." I knew I saw it somewhere.) He knows that it might be considered a little weird (a little?) that a grown man would be so enamored with his kitty, but Mr. Fulrath, who is into video games and comic books and calls himself a “straight, geeky guy,” doesn’t care.
“She’s my primary relationship,” he said. (That and masturbating to the CatWoman video game. He's interactive.)
Mr. Fulrath is one of a growing number of single — and yes, heterosexual — men who seem to be coming out of the cat closet and unabashedly embracing their feline side. (Okay. Let's monitor the true blue evidence cited by Abby to back this bullshit thesis up. Keep a close eye on the number of 'seems' used...And dippy anecdotes.) To that end, they are posting photographs and videos of their little buddies on YouTube and on Web sites like menandcats.com, and Twittering about them to anyone who will listen. (New ring of Hell. Spending the whole day reading Menandcats.com. Take a minute and go scan my new favorite website. It's cat-tastic!)
Indeed, it seems (#1) that man’s best friend is no longer a golden retriever, but a cuddly cat named Fluffy (Evidence, please! Not stupid stories about some neighbor in your brownstone.). This movement (Movement? What? A website?), such as it is, is in direct contrast to the most notable in the recent spate of reports about the relationship between a man and a cat, which were far darker; they focused on a young actor who was recently on trial in New York City for killing his girlfriend’s cat — he said it attacked him — only to have a jury decide after several days that it could not reach a verdict. (What the hell does this have to do with anything? We here at the SNC have put Abby on the Watch List.)
If it had been a little less violent, that case might have been more in line with what the world seems to expect of men and cats. (Please tell me about these 'expectations' you speak of, kind lady.)
The image of the crazy spinster cat lady persists, and plenty of people do wonder about a guy with a cat. As a writer on adventuresofacitygirl.blogspot.com put it: “Single men and cats are like a burger and broccoli. Separately they are okay, but together it just seems off.”
But those who see a growing link between men and cats see that attitude (not to mention the cat slaying) as old-fashioned. (Abby has four male friends who have cats and she was devoid of story ideas for the week. Boom! Article!)
Clea Simon, who wrote “The Feline Mystique: On the Mysterious Connection Between Women and Cats,” said: “I do think it has become more acceptable for men to own cats — partly for practical reasons, like the growing realization that they’re better city pets, and partly the whole acceptance of our cross-gender traits that men crave intimacy, too.” (So get a pet that's useless and selfish. That'll fill the intimacy void.)
Stacy Mantle, the founder of Petsweekly.com, a magazine for pet lovers, said that men are becoming more “cat literate” because they themselves are evolving. (Where's she going with this? First, men want cats because they crave intimacy like women and now men are evolving beyond the need for dogs. Me smells something offensive coming.)
“It’s the unevolved members of the species who tend toward abuse of cats — and oftentimes, women and children,” said Ms. Mantle, who owns 18 cats. (That last part doesn't buttress the argument. 18 cats? Talk about intimacy issues.)
Although there are no hard (or soft) (<-- Not mine.) statistics (it is rare to find an owner, man or woman, walking a cat in public) (<-- Not mine doppio.), it seems (#2) that single, heterosexual male cat owners are on the rise. (Well, shit! I'm sold. Et tu?) Over the last few years Sandra DeFeo, an executive director at the Humane Society of New York, said she had seen an increase in the number of single, straight men who are adopting cats. (Holy Mother of Shit! The Republican Party should hire Sandra DeFeo since she's apparently clairvoyant and can tell if a guy is gay or not. What's she working at the Humane Society for? Seems like she could be making oodles of money using her TRUE talent by bilking homophobic fucks.)
Carole Wilbourn, a cat therapist (yes, really) (<-- Not mine tripel.) in Manhattan, said that the number of her single, straight male clients has risen about 25 percent over the last five years.
When the Web site PetPlace.com asked its readers, “Do Real Men Own Cats?” almost 84 percent of respondents said “yes.” “Only intelligent, aware, caring men love cats,” one reader said. (That guy's gay. BAAAAAA!) And in a 2005 survey by Cats Protection, an animal welfare agency in the United Kingdom, the majority of the 790 people who responded said it was cool for a guy to own cats. (Another poll from Cats Protection: a majority of respondents said it's cool to weep uncontrollably after sex.)
This line of thinking does not surprise cat lovers, many of whom believe that only pillars of virility and masculinity would dare to own one. (WWWWHHHHOOOOOOOAAAAAAAA!!!!!!!! HOLY MOTHER OF CAT SHIT!!!!!!! Are you kidding me?! I knew it! I knew she'd say something like this! I knew it was going to have to be said in order to back up that dipshit title! Here's the difference between dog and cat owners. Dog owners find absolutely no need to discuss their ownership of a dog as a competition with cats. Cat owners don't shut the fuck up about it. You draw the conclusion. And when they get pissed off that you're not falling for the bait, they say shit like that.) They are quick to point out other well-known macho cat owners: Ernest Hemingway, Mark Twain, Victor Hugo and Marlon Brando, who reportedly found a stray cat on the set of “The Godfather” and incorporated it into a scene.
John Scalzi, 39, an author in Bradford, Ohio, has been a cat guy his entire life. In September 2006, he posted a picture of a piece of bacon taped to his cat, Ghlaghghee (pronounced Fluffy — an ode to George Bernard Shaw), on his Web site www.scalzi.com/whatever. Thousands of viewers apparently found this hilarious. (Jebus H. Cripes! Am I supposed to believe that because there are websites out there dedicated to male cat owners that there is some huge trend? That's, what, the fourth website cited? I bet I can find four websites dedicated to the wonders of eating your own crap. Does that mean it's a growing trend as well?)
Mr. Scalzi, who is now married and has a daughter, blames Hollywood for the continual bad rap that has befallen the male cat owner. Originally, he said, only strong men like Don Corleone, or the villains in a James Bond film, had cats. (Fuckin' Hollywood! I'm going to use Abby's circular logic. Hollywood hates cats. Hollywood likes Democratic candidates. Male cat owners hate Hollywood. McCain will carry the male cat owner vote this November.)
“But then in the Seventies, Eighties and Nineties, Hollywood decided that we need to have the token gay man as the witty sidekick friend of the main female protagonist,” he said. “ ‘What kind of signature thing can we give him to convey that he is not an entirely masculine being? I know! We’ll give him a big fluffy cat!’ ”
In fact, Mr. Scalzi thinks that dogs are for the weaker of spirit, since the dog is, in effect, “your wingman.” (Whaaaa?)
“If you’re feeling insecure about your space in the world, you get a dog because he will always back you up,” he said. “He’s the insecure man’s best friend.” (Wai.....BLLLLLEEEEEGGGGGHHH....Crap...I just threw up on my computer. Abby. You owe me a new one. I blame you. And Hollywood.)
A man with a cat, on the other hand, “is secure with himself,” he said. “He’s sharing his space with a predator.” (I really can't stop laughing. Somebody slap me. I'm giggly. Mr. Scalzi, I see a man who desperately needs to see every compulsion and decision he's made in his life as the morally, emotionally and psychologically right one. I bet he thinks people who like Thai food over Mandarin Chinese/Japanese fusion are fascists.)
Many (kind of like 'seem') women agree that guys with cats are extra special.
“They make the best boyfriends because they’re totally cool with staying home and watching a movie,” said Elizabeth Daza, 28, a video producer in Manhattan, who dated a cat-owning man for eight years. “Straight men with cats seem to be really secure and stable. They don’t need to be running around the park and proving their masculinity like the dog guys.” (I'm sold. I don't know about you but when I walk my dog, the only thing I'm doing is trying to get the freakball to poop. Does that make me an insecure pussy?)
On a practical level, cats are easier, male owners say — especially if they (the men) travel a lot. They can leave the cat alone for days on end, and the cat will survive. (Boom goes the dynamite! That's why cats are good pets for certain people. There's absolutely no work involved. End of story. Fine. Like cats. But don't tell me they're some monument to masculinity and virility for the sake of cripe!)
“I would feel guilty if I had a dog and was out of the country for three weeks,” said Mark Fletcher, 38, an entrepreneur in Redwood City, Calif. who has two cats, Einstein and Babe (as in Ruth). (See. He named it after Babe Ruth. Babe Ruth was a man's man. Ergo, cats are the only true pet for real men. Get that?)
What’s more, cats are relatively low maintenance. (Not 'what's more'. You just mentioned that.)
“A dog is a lot of work,” said Nader Ali-Hassan, 29, an account executive with a digital marketing firm in Cleveland. (Again. Abby logic. A pet that's a lot of work is a pet for pussies.)
Although he is married, he has had cats his entire life, and even has a picture of Ringo, a longtime feline companion, in his office.
“Maybe it’s not the most masculine thing in the world, but I’m comfortable enough in my own manhood,” he said. “The cat’s nice. I come home after a long day of work, it sits in my lap, I pet it, and then it goes about its business.” (Then get a stuffed animal. Here's a bonus. They don't shit and piss in the house.)
SOME (#345...ish.) guys are even using their cats as vehicles to celebrity, like Paul Klusman, 39, a Wichita, Kan., engineer who catapulted to Internet fame after posting “An Engineer’s Guide to Cats” on YouTube in April. (Isn't there some YouTube video of a Japanese woman shooting ping-pong balls out of her hoo-hoo? Internet fame is all relative, really. Not much in terms of qualifications.)
The film, which features his three cats, Oscar, Ginger and Zoey, garnered about 3 million views. (Bet ping-pong hoo-hoo had more hits. Just guessing, really.) Mr. Klusman said he received about 300 marriage proposals from “lonely cat ladies from all over the world,” in addition to more risqué propositions. (Eeeeewwwwwww!)
“Any single, straight man who has the slightest bit of insecurity about his own sexuality will probably find it difficult to admit to owning or even appreciating cats” he said, echoing Mr. Scalzi’s sentiments. (Abby should set these two up. Seems like they're both talking an awfully lot about the sexuality of others. Something weirdly insecure about that.)
Of course, it can become tricky, like when the cat gets in the way of a relationship.
The Cats Protection study found that single male cat owners were more likely than their female counterparts to have made, or consider making, a sacrifice for their cat — including giving up a holiday or going into debt for their cat if necessary. (What?)
Single men were also almost as likely as single women to break a friendship (Please tell me the situation where this arises so much that a study was commissioned.) rather than lose their cat, and would consider choosing their cat over their partner.
This happened to Mr. Fulrath, who dated a woman who was allergic to cats.
“I thought, ‘This is never going to work,’ ” he recalled. “My cat takes priority over the new relationship. Realistically, unless there’s something absolutely amazing about her, he wins.” (Sorry cat. She gives good head. Go find a dumpster to eat out of.)
And where was this article posted, you ask? CNN.com? Nope. The New York Times.
Head on over to Slate.com where Jack Shafer awards this one as his Bogus Trend of the Week.