Renee of Womanist Musings decided to post a manifesto for feminist dog-lovers everywhere, breaking our well-known and established tradition of the feminist kitty collective. Now, I’m not the posting photos of my completely adorable cat type, but knowing that I ardently defend the kitty collective, she decided to call me out directly, anyway.
Bad move, Renee.
Renee argues that by upholding cats as the feminist pet of choice, we are in fact ignoring the oppression of dogs. And yet, she conveniently ignores the oppression of cats in her argument that canines are the truly oppressed household animal, through their treatment as servants by men, which parallels the regular treatment of women.
It’s true that a cat fetches for no one, but how is that a downside? Also, the last time I checked, dogs did not have the tips of their toes cut off to please the aesthetic pleasures of humans. Now, who are we reminded of? How much physical pain must women endure to please the beauty standards of the patriarchy? How can we just push the similar treatment of cats under the rug in a proclamation that they do not deserve to be centered in our feminist pet-related discussions? And in denying them, who is now creating a hierarchy of oppressions?
Though I argued to her in more private conversations that dogs are not in fact the perfect feminist ally, as they are widely known as “man’s best friend,” Renee again asserts that they are treated not by friends but as slaves. Valid though the point may be, however, it doesn’t mean that dogs can necessarily be trusted into our movement without a rigorous screening process.
Cats, with their non-shit taking attitude and general lack of humor are, on the other hand, natural feminist allies: grumpy, self-sufficient, permanently single and willing to smack any fool who gets in the way of their plans for world domination.
Below is my own cat, Jasmine — better known to those who love her as Minka.
Just look at the little cutie. No dog slobber, dog breath or mandatory walks. Only cuteness, and a willingness to kick the ass of whoever fucks with her.
Further, I present to you the case of the far more maligned household pets. If we are going to expand feminism to include a more intersectional pet approach, I can accept and even celebrate that. But shouldn’t that approach include all of the marginalized animals in our lives? What of the fish? The birds? Or the cute and furry, yet caged bunnies? What of the most hated and marginalized pets of all, the rodents and the reptiles? And ferrets! Don’t they, too, deserve feminism’s attention?
I brought this point up to Renee and she seemed to agree, and yet all of these lovable creatures are conveniently left out of her dog-loving manifesto. I think we all know what this tells us. Is Renee truly trying to create a more inclusive movement, or really just attempting to exchange the privileging of cats for the privileging of dogs? Her chant that cat-loving feminists have got to go says it all.
I present to you a manifesto that includes all of the marginalized animals in our lives, rather than merely the ones that are already so privileged by men. And barring that? Feminist cat-lovers must continue to unite!