I bought one of our local magazines this week, mainly because it trumpeted "first ever pets issue" on the cover. Since it seems that in Bakersfield treating pets well is only beginning to take hold in any meaningful way, I was excited to see that Bakersfield Magazine was devoting serious pages to pets in all their glory.
That is, until I actually read the magazine.
True to their word, there were several pages devoted to pets. I counted six different articles about people and their furry (and scaled) friends.
And not one word about cats. Except for a photo of a kitten checking out a goldfish bowl (as part of a story about fish) it was as though cats don't exist as pets at all.
Not one paragraph? According to the Humane Society of the United States, there are over 88 million owned cats in the United States, besting the number of dogs owned by over 13 million. Yet they didn't rate a mention in a "pet issue".
Why are cats increasingly being treated as second-class citizens in the world of pet ownership?
Animal Sheltering devoted the cover story of their latest issue to the question. The HSUS's magazine All Animals Spring 2008 issue has a cover story talking about cats having an image problem.
I don't begin to understand it. I've shared my home with cats for as long as I can remember. Back when I was a renter, I only rented homes that allowed cats. As a homeowner I've always had cats as part of my family. I'm enchanted by their beings. I respect those things that make them uniquely cats, from claws to purrs to the little chirpy noises they make when spying birds through the window.
Cats are as individual as the people they live with. That they'd choose to live with (and love) a species that's easily 15 to 20 times larger than they are, trusting us to care for them and to keep them safe is something that I find, quite simply, amazing.
Someone please enlighten me. How did a species once revered as gods fall so far from grace?