A lot of people hate cats. They poo in gardens and eat birds and make unearthly noises when they fuck. a good dog will come rushing up joyfully to meet you when you get home from work; it will sense when you’re upset and come and lay its head gently on your lap. a standard cat will refuse to sit on your lap all evening no matter how much you encourage it, preferring to wait until you’re (a) trying to read a book, (b) desperate for the toilet or (c) about to get up and go out.

Yet I love cats; prefer them to dogs by far. I love the arrogance and the lack of loyalty and the perversity. Any animal that will refuse to do something simply because you want it to is an animal after my own heart. A cat values its self-determination. I have had three cats, but I didn’t really feel like I owned them. There was none of that showing-them-who’s boss nonsense. No tying them up to things. It felt more like a mutually acceptable arrangement. The cat has its preferences; I have mine. Luckily our interests tend to coincide around the issue of sitting comfortably in warm places and stroking, which I like doing and which the cat likes me doing. And feeding the thing is basically a bribe. It only does what it does because it suits it to do so. Dogs have to be trained. Cats just learn.

They are not without empathy. They can adjust to your mood just as subtly as dogs; it’s just that they do so to their own ends. Where a dog will sympathise and join you in whatever emotional state you’re in, a cat will find some way of reminding you that its interests are still foremost in its mind that’s somehow not quite annoying enough to stop you actually feeding it. A dog would risk its life defending your house from an intruder. A cat would run away or, if particularly brave, go up to the intruder and see if they had any food. But that’s also fine. I might love my cat and it, in its way, love me, but it’s not a relationship of dependence. Cats can, and do, “cheat” on their owners. If my cat comes back to me, that means I’m treating it well. Whipped dogs cower and do as they’re told. Whipped cats run away.

See, I don’t really like being in charge of an animal. I prefer to serve it and receive its blessing in return for my devotion.

Plus it can take itself for walks and bury its own shit. That’s a big selling point.

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