In Defense of the Feminist Kitty Collective

by Cara on February 1, 2009

in feminism, fun, random

feministcat

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.

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!

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{ 36 comments }

1 mzbitca February 1, 2009 at 2:21 pm

I would have to argue with you about the declawing. As the owner of a pit bull she had her ears boxed in order to “look tough” her delicate non aggressive nature made her an embarassement and she was abandoned as she was not “pit bull” enough. While cats often times excpept food, admiraton and attention just for being who they are, dogs understand equality. They give as much attention as they get and they understand household rules and pull their weight by not destroying furniture and making messes on the carpet.

I am firmly in the feminist dog camp so be prepared to bring it :)

2 Cara February 1, 2009 at 2:24 pm

Dogs don’t make a mess on the carpet or ruin the house? Psh! They stink it up, chew on things, require house-breaking to not ruin everything with their bathroom needs, and my parent’s black lab pukes just about as much as any cat.

Cat just came up on my lap. Clearly, she’s on my side.

3 Renee February 1, 2009 at 2:31 pm

I see that you are determined to stand in the way of progress. The dog revolution will be realized. To add to mizbitca’s comment I would like to point out that cats are not forcefully shaved into ridiculous styles to please the weird tastes of their human owners. Dog are expected to perform their species much as women are expected to perform our gender. I further beg to differ with you on the mess factor at least dogs take it out of the house. In closing puppy breathe is too cute (that would be sticking my tongue out quite childishly)
P.S Thanks for the laughs, I almost dropped the laptop reading this ;)

4 Spot February 1, 2009 at 3:19 pm

o yea well U GUYZ SUK ur prolly just JELLUS and BITTER so SHUT UP and gimme a BONE (ha ha i said bone).

5 Lemur February 1, 2009 at 3:55 pm

Um, so where do the ferrets come in? There’s no love for the mustelids- they’re so misunderstood! I say ferrets should come down on the side of whoever likes them- be it the kitty collective or the dog lovers.

6 Cara February 1, 2009 at 4:00 pm

Ferrets aren’t rodents? Really? Huh. My bad. I totally thought that they were rodents; it was actually thinking of ferrets specifically that caused me to include the rodent class rather than just say “hamsters.” Oops.

. . . added them to the post!

7 Cara February 1, 2009 at 4:01 pm

P.S Thanks for the laughs, I almost dropped the laptop reading this ;)

Mission accomplished! :)

8 Kathleen February 1, 2009 at 4:07 pm

Okay, I have to say, as someone who owns a cat and a dog and birds, I’m a go with with all pets. Pets in general are sweeties.

9 DaisyDeadhead February 1, 2009 at 4:24 pm

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? Don’t they, too, deserve feminism’s attention?

Okay, I have to speak up here.

I don’t WANT to give them attention! This is going TOO FAR! I don’t think traditional cat and dog ownership is equivalent to owning these OTHER PETS! Are you serious? Oh please! First, we give the green light to parrots and guinea pigs, and THEN what? I suppose then we will be saying COCKROACH OWNERSHIP is equivalent to owning cats? I guess the GRASSHOPPER my brother kept IN A JAR is equivalent to cat or dog ownership? Where will it end? How far will it go? Excuse me gals, but the ownership of guinea pigs and parrots is NOT on the same level as cats or dogs, mentioned in various holy books throughout the world. I’m sorry, but my religious values do not PERMIT such compromises! First, they claim to want mere acceptance and then they want TOTAL APPROVAL.

I am really shocked that people don’t understand the slippery slope that will occur, if we grant ACCEPTANCE to the dogs. Oh yes, and now, my ANT FARM in my FLOWER GARDEN is also a pet! This is insane. Just how far do you intend to take this, anyway?

:D

10 Cara February 1, 2009 at 4:27 pm

Daisy for the win!

The best part of that comment is I can’t decide whether you’re parodying anti-gay religious right-wingers, or anti-intersectionalist feminists. Or both!

11 James February 1, 2009 at 4:28 pm

Is it just because I’m a boy, not a girl, that I would never dream of cutting my cat’s nails? :-)

12 SunlessNick February 1, 2009 at 5:03 pm

I suppose then we will be saying COCKROACH OWNERSHIP is equivalent to owning cats?

One of my best friends is a cockroach owner,* so none can possibly say there is a grain of bigotry in my agreement with Daisy, but yes, accepting mustelids and rodents as pets leads up onto an inevitable slippery slope until we’re all forced to say how cute the plague is.

* Ok, she wasn’t a best friend per se, and the cockroach is dead now, but apart from that it’s actually true. And she did think it was cute.

13 AL February 1, 2009 at 6:03 pm

who are all these catist people? sheesh.

14 whatsername February 1, 2009 at 8:24 pm

This is by far the best feminist blog war of all time… Post in support of the Feminist Kitty Collective incoming!

15 Al February 1, 2009 at 8:33 pm

“To add to mizbitca’s comment I would like to point out that cats are not forcefully shaved into ridiculous styles to please the weird tastes of their human owners.”

Two words: lion cut.

16 Kristen February 2, 2009 at 12:34 am

“dogs did not have the tips of their toes cut off to please the aesthetic pleasures of humans”

Ahem…no they just dock their tails and ears for aesthetic pleasures…which make it difficult for dogs to communicate with each other. It’s the human equivalent to having your tongue cut out. And do I even I have mention dog fighting?

17 Kristen February 2, 2009 at 12:35 am

Dog equivalent even…shouldn’t comment after midnight.

18 stompie February 2, 2009 at 12:59 am

let’s face it: women who call themselves “dog-loving feminists” are simply blind to their own internalization of the patriachy. bloody masculinists…{grumble grumble]…talk about not seeing the forest for the trees!

19 meerkat February 2, 2009 at 9:23 am

But is ear- and tail-docking as painful as declawing? I read that recovery from declawing is extremely painful. I expect there is pain associated with ear- and tail-docking as well, but declawing may be worse (and there’s the reduced ability to defend themselves or escape into trees).

And to keep on the depressing side of things (I get the idea this was supposed to be a light-hearted post, sorry!) IIRC we kill more homeless cats than dogs.

I’ll come down on the cat side if I am forced to choose, but I have long been an advocate of cats and dogs putting aside their differences and joining forces for their common benefit. Yes, and rabbits and ferrets, etc.

20 frau sally benz February 2, 2009 at 10:43 am

I must say that even though dogs are cute as heck, I do like kittens a bit more (sorry, Renee!). Too bad I’m deathly allergic and can’t be around one for more than a couple of hours without feeling like my head will explode…

21 Ashley February 2, 2009 at 1:33 pm

I don’t know what you’re talking about. As neither a cat nor a dog, I’m the most objective observer possible, and I don’t see any oppression at all! I deduce with my logic (and also lots of science and stuff) that it doesn’t exist.

Look how happy some dogs are to play fetch! If some dogs like it, how can it be bad? And cats go around brazenly scratching furniture all the time! Clearly they are asking to be declawed. I think dogs and cats are just playing the victim card because they want more kibble. More of MY kibble! And they can’t have it. It’s mine! MINE!

In conclusion, OMG boobs.

22 Cara February 2, 2009 at 1:39 pm

Hahaha, Ashley for 2nd place win, right behind Daisy :)

And on a side-note, WHY IS NO ONE TALKING ABOUT HOW CUTE MY KITTY IS??? Someone call my fucking cat cute NOW, dammit!

23 intransigentia February 2, 2009 at 1:43 pm

My cat plays fetch. She brings her toys to me and squeaks until I throw them. I object to your species binarism that invalidates my kitty’s happiness.

24 AM1 February 2, 2009 at 1:54 pm

My husband’s cat was (okay, let’s be honest, *is*) the love of his life. She predates me in his life by four years, and you better believe she never lets me forget it. We’ve moved past the point where she was regularly trying to smother me in my sleep, thank goodness, but there is still a constant rivalry and bitterness between us. Is this a good example for a “feminist” pet to set? My dog, it is worth noting, is perfectly happy to share the alpha-male with me in a disciplined and orderly way, respecting the sister-bond and my alpha-female bond with my mate. The cat? Not so much. She participates in patriarchal competition for the male resource wholeheartedly. And I suspect that eventually she’ll win. :)

25 AshKW February 2, 2009 at 7:27 pm

I can’t believe no one has said how cute Cara’s cat is! You bunch of slackers!! Psst, your kitty’s adorable…but mine are cuter.

And I also am disgusted to learn no one has endorsed the best of all possible pets: the magnificent, noble horse. Horse lovers, unite! ;)

26 Cara February 2, 2009 at 7:33 pm

I know, AshKW!!! I picked a picture where she’s sleeping and sunbathing and everything! That’s extra cute!!!

27 Brinstar February 2, 2009 at 7:56 pm

Proof that feminists do have a sense of humour. :-)

28 Kristen February 2, 2009 at 8:35 pm

A comment from Kristen’s SO:

The symbol of canine oppression that is most like sexism – the Westminster dog show.

Bred, groomed and mutilated to meet societal notions of what a “dog” should be.

Down with the AKC!!!

29 Ishtar February 3, 2009 at 5:35 am

I join your Feminist Kitty Collective. Cats rule! Dogs are nice, really cute and all. But cats? Come on now. We’re talking the pinnacle of evolutionary achievement. Grace, elegance, strength and beauty, all rolled into one neat clawed and fanged package. Who could possibly ask for more?

What cat lover hasn’t experienced the humbling honour of being ignored by a cat? Not to mention the benevolent gifts of kitteh vomit…strategically deposited in various hard-to-reach places. Oh oh oh…and what about the kneading of the flesh…by razor-sharp claws?

I say unto thee dog people. Stand humbled before the might and majesty of the kitteh. For your cute but slobbering hounds cannot compare. The age of the kitteh has come and it shall be so for eternity.

Amen

30 GallingGalla February 3, 2009 at 3:45 pm

I further beg to differ with you on the mess factor at least dogs take it out of the house.

Renee, I’m reading this as I’m using vinegar to clean up yet another pee patch from a poodle who thinks the carpet is grass. And he gets walked four times a day. So there.

(hee.)

Oh, and Cara, your fucking kitteh IS fucking cutez (just continuing the four-letter theme here…)

Second oh and, I’ve not been reading these posts ’til now cos I thought peeps were being SERIOUS…

31 Cara February 3, 2009 at 6:08 pm

THANK YOU, GallingGalla.

And yeah, if we were being serious there would probably be something really wrong with us. LOL.

32 Amanda Marcotte February 3, 2009 at 6:41 pm

My two cats are not permanently single, I must say. They carry on a torrid love affair, though it is a same-sex relationship, so it does offend conservative sensibilities.

33 SunlessNick February 3, 2009 at 7:21 pm

And yeah, if we were being serious there would probably be something really wrong with us. LOL.

Well, over on Shakesville I did describe it as terrible flame war.

34 Renee February 4, 2009 at 12:44 am

A flame war in which the dog lover gain new ground each day. In the words of Stewie from Family Guy you shall rue the day. Victory is mine!

35 SunlessNick February 4, 2009 at 3:03 pm

Well I say where’s the recognition for people who love both cats and dogs?

36 GallingGalla February 4, 2009 at 6:04 pm

Well I say where’s the recognition for people who love both cats and dogs?

Right. It’s like the B on the CDB (cat / dog / bispecies-affectionate) acronym is just tacked on for political correctness.

And what about the transspecies-affectionates? y’no, for peeps who are transitioning from kitty-love to puppy-love or vice versa. Are they not part of this movement too?

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