Cats are, perhaps, some of the most misunderstood domesticated animals we currently have. From the stereotype of the Crazy Cat Lady to jokes about cat people being lonely to the tragic deaths of black cats at the hands of Pope Gregory IX, cats are, for the most part, seen as inferior to dogs at best and evil at worst. There seems to be this misconception that, in order to love dogs more, one must love cats less.
Perhaps it is this history of the mainstream society rejecting or, at the very least, making fun of cats that makes them the perfect companion for your average introvert. Call it the crazy cat lady in me, but I can’t help but feel that, if a dog is a man’s best friend, cats are an introvert’s best roommate (she said as her kitten tried to steal her tater tots).
It’s not just that cats have a history of being misunderstood–cats are, on the whole, less energetic than dogs. Even a good ol’ zoom around the house at the wee hours of the morning can’t compare to a dog’s boundless energy. For a lot of people, this energy is refreshing. For people like me, it’s too much. I don’t have much energy to begin with, so dealing with another living creature constantly needing me is a no-go. It’s why I love to pet and play with other people’s dogs, but could never own one myself. Getting up and out to walk them, take them to the bathroom, and play fetch is more than I can take, and if I can’t do that, it’s not fair for the dog to be owned by me. A dog deserves someone who can do those things. For a lot of us, that just isn’t something that’s going to happen.
A cat, however, is much less daily work.
Whoever invented the laser pointer surely owned a cat. Without ever getting out of bed, a cat can be entertained for as long as their energy will allow (though, it would be cruel to have them hunt something they’ll never catch, so make sure to have treats on hand for when they do “catch” the light). This, a feather toy, and a good ol’ box or two can entertain a cat. They don’t ask for much (but you should feel free to give them the world anyway!)
In addition to being easy to exercise, cats understand an introvert’s most basic need: alone time. even if you have a cuddle-bug (or two, in my case), a cat is content to be alone for most of the day. A cat feels no need to involve its human roommate in every aspect of its life, and I appreciate that about them. What a cat does when nobody is watching is none of my business…unless I hear a crash.
But I think that the aspect of cats that makes me feel the way I do about them the most is that they, unlike a lot of humans, understand the value of companionable silence. A cat is content to simply exist near you and call it friendship. As I type this, one of my boys is laying at the foot of my bed napping away. He understands that a creature can be in their own little world, and that being in that world isn’t shutting others out. I don’t know if he chooses to sleep there out of comfort or because I’m nearby, and I, frankly, don’t care. For an introvert, just being near someone, doing nothing, simply being, is enough. That’s why cats are an introvert’s best friend.