4 Cat Stereotypes we need to reevaluate
In recent news, a Californian cat saved her young owner from a dog attack. Tara Triantafilo, the feline heroine, chased away a substantially larger neighborhood dog that set his predatory sights on Jeremy, her owner. The remarkable rescue was immediately popularized by media across the country. Tara’s swift intervention was awe-inspiring, not only because of the tragedy she prevented but also because she dispels so many stereotypes about her species.
Here are 4 myths about cats she shattered with her act of courage:
1. Cats are cowardly
The popular expression “scaredy cat” has made “cat” synonymous with “fearful”. Yet, Tara demonstrated just the opposite: cats can be tremendously courageous. In defending her owner against the large attacker, she showed that cats are indeed capable of much more than we give them credit for. Ironically, her heroic act pitted her against an alleged nemesis reputed for heroism and aversion to cats. Tara’s triumph over the neighborhood dog is impressive for having defied notions that would predict the opposite: fear in the presence of a dog.
2. Cats are lazy
Another strongly held conception we have of cats is that they are lazy. Famous images have helped establish the stereotype of the lethargic cat, stretched out on its owners’ furniture after a copious meal (think Garfield). But Tara also debunks this myth. The video footage shows her charging after the dog with speed and agility, weaning him off Jeremy. She even chases him down the street far from the victim’s home. What’s lazy about that?
2. Cats are aloof
Cats are also infamous for their antisocial qualities. This may stem from pervasive cat-dog dichotomies that establish dogs as friendly and fun, against cats which are subdued and solitary. But Tara had a clear strong bond with her Jeremy -- enough of a connection to sense that he was in danger and to want to risk her own security against a larger attacker capable of injuring her as well. The urgency she demonstrated in rescuing her owner was likely a manifestation of their bond.
4. Cats are ominous
Superstitions about black cats abound. In their association with witchcraft and maleficent energies, the animal is regarded as a carrier of bad luck. Some people actively avoid the animal, as crossing paths with it supposedly causes a slew of unfortunate events. Tara, reportedly dark in appearance, was quite the opposite. She prevented misfortune from setting onto the Triantafilo family. Conversely, she brought luck onto Jeremy and his concerned parents.
Tara demonstrated qualities that urge us to reevaluate our conceptions of her species. With her heroism, she dispelled stereotypes of cats as cowardly, lazy, aloof and unlucky pets. Her new found fame in fact lies in her perceived anomaly. But more importantly she unveils the truth cats’ overlooked gifts and capabilities.
Article written by Melissa Beaulieu.