Friday, January 27, 2012

Pet-Owning Redux

Who's afraid of Stupidface? Aren't you just a big genius? Yes you aaaaaarrreeee.
Who's a stupid genius? It's YOU!
Just thought I'd muse a bit on something I've noticed:

A fear of cats among many Taiwanese people - more so than I've ever noticed back home. I grew up with cats, and rarely would people decline to visit my parents' home or act nervous or afraid around my parents' cats (who almost never came out to greet strangers anyway). A few guests just didn't like cats, but that's not the same thing as being scared of them. 

So far since we'ved moved we've had three potential houseguests - all Taiwanese - who are terrified of cats. One is coming over later today and is hoping the cat stays away from her. One is going to be invited over soon (and he knows it) and "really hates cats" (his words). Yet another was invited over with her children, who I teach privately,  but her husband came instead. It might have been work or schedule related, but she's made it clear that she doesn't like any animal but is especially afraid of cats. A friend's mother also fears them - something about their big, searching eyes.

That's four people I know who not only don't like cats, but are actively afraid of them. Four people in five years, as opposed to zero people in 26 years in the USA. Of course they exist, but they're rare enough that I have never met one knowingly.

I don't really know why this is. It's just a thing I thought I'd note. Comments with explanations or ideas are welcome.

In other news, this article is worth reading* for anyone interested in animal rights, pet ownership or animal rescue. One great thing about Taiwan is that rescue groups here aren't so difficult: if you go to an event where Animals Taiwan has a booth, or visit their facility, you can adopt a rescued pet with very little fuss. I mean they still talk to you a bit to make sure you're a decent person who can provide a good home but otherwise you can bring a cat or dog home that day. It's similarly easy to adopt from veterinarian offices - my vet (near Heping/Fuxing intersection, a bit west on Heping, next to the Dante Coffee) often has rescued cats and kittens up for adoption and they're pretty easy to adopt.

I have to say, though, that my brief experience in the USA with rescue agencies mirrors this article. I was playing with adoptable cats in a PetSmart one day - I didn't have a pet at the time but was in there with a friend who had a pet - and I said that if I hadn't been planning to live abroad I would totally take one home, and that I preferred cats because  they didn't mind so much when their owners went to work and didn't need to be  taken out or walked.         

"Oh, you work full time?"
"Are you married?"
"Well, we don't adopt out to homes where people aren't around during the day. You can't leave a cat alone all day" (me, thinking: "you can't? Huh?") "so we only adopt to people who are home in the daytime."
"So, only unemployed people, housewives or those who work at home, huh."
"Certainly not anyone who is unemployed."
"So basically under your guidelines almost nobody should be allowed to have a cat."

I walked away. Even if I'd been seriously about to apply to adopt one of them, that was just too ridiculous for words.  We rescued 招財 - or rather my sister did - directly off the streets of Taipei and he's been a wonderful and happy kitty who doesn't seem to mind that the owners he often ignores go out during the day.

*my one issue with it is that Yoffe didn't really attempt to talk to any rescue organizations to get their perspective. I am on the side of the adopters, but the rescuers deserve a say.

1 comment:

Cat Rocketship said...

To be honest, I have never heard of anyone being afraid of cats! I know that sounds dumb. My mom doesn't like cats, interesting!