Cats Get a Bad Rap

CatAndMirror

I love dogs. However, I do love cats, too! I don’t currently own a cat which is just weird for me. Cats have a bad reputation though, don’t they? Think of the phrases we use about cats:

1. Tom-cattin’ around.

Males (or even females) slinking around at night looking to get some-some. (Jus’ tellin’ it like it is, folks). Apparently the name of said feline is also Tom.

2. Caterwauling

This is usually a female cat screeching and yowling around while in heat. It is used to describe humans at great risk to the idiot males who determine it would be funny to do so.

3. Like herding cats

This is impossible. They don’t run in herds so aren’t we the stupid ones?

4. Let the Cat out of the Bag

This means to tell a secret. Frankly if my cat was ever in a bag it would not be a secret. The whole house would know. If you don’t understand, you’ve never owned a cat. They are either playing in it by choice, or stuck in it due to HUMAN error.

5. Cattin’ around

Similar to “tom-cattin’ around”. To wander aimlessly looking for entertainment – usually resulting in feline delinquent behavior.

6. Fat cat

Evidently this means loaded, or very rich. I do NOT use this phrase this way.  At the time I was talking to an overweight cat.

7. Curiosity killed the cat

Cuz evidently even though it 1) looked dangerous, 2) smelled dangerous, 3) sounded dangerous, they couldn’t help but investigate anyway. Which leads to #8

8. Cats have nine lives

They get killed a lot. Or, at least do really stupid things that almost result in their demise.

9. Cat got your tongue

Ewww. Just ewww. Yet, it means speechless. This happens to me a lot. *rolls eyes*

10. Cat walk

To walk with splendid balance and grace with a sexy little swing of the hips. Evidently models walk on this. Perhaps cat calls came from this practice.

Cats can be pretty special critters though, and even better fur-babies. They sure get a bad rap, however. People seem to either love ’em or hate ’em. I find few who are indifferent. I’ve met some pretty special cats that behaved very un-cat like at times. And frankly? I’ve had some cats climb up in my lap and allow me to pet them while they purred my cares away more than once. They can be extremely intuitive.

People with Disabilities Get a Bad Rap

I don’t like identifying as a person with a disability. It is the language used by the laws that protect my rights as a person with unique challenges, however, so I accept the “label”. Folks with disabilities get a bad rap though.

Here are just a few of the things I have heard:

1. We complain. A lot.

Evidently about anything and everything; but mostly about our disability. I mean… it’s as if we live with it 24/7 or something. Pretty lame, aren’t we?

2. We are lazy.

In the decades I have mentored and worked as an advocate for persons with disabilities, I believe one of the toughest diagnosis is that of CFS (Chronic Fatigue Syndrome). There are some other diagnoses that are closely related in which the primary symptom is extreme and debilitating fatigue and/or pain. It hurts to do anything. So sometimes, complaints just slip out of the mouths of these brave people. Maybe curse words too, but STUFF SLIPS OUT. It is very, very difficult to live with one of these diagnoses and I admire these folks. I do.

3. We are extremely dependent.

Most of the people I know who are differently abled – work very hard at learning to do things DIFFERENTLY so that they can remain as independent as possible. If you knew how hard it is to ask for help you’d never roll your eyes at a request from someone living with chronic illness or disability.

4. We will never contribute to society.

Geesh. This is so, SO wrong. Most of those I know living with a chronic illness or disability are super busy working in their community. They “give back” at times to the point of going to far and doing to much. Everyone has a desire to be needed – to matter. This includes people with disabilities.

5. We are drama queens/kings.

I’m a bit of a drama llama. I prefer this term because I am crown-less yet recognize I, at times, spit for attention. But seriously… most of us HATE attention. We are trying to just “be normal”. We haven’t created our own song and dance in expectation of applause.

6. We are hypochondriacs.

The thing about long-term disability or chronic conditions, is that you become an expert on your diagnosis. As a matter of fact, at times, you know more than your doctor does. You have researched and investigated everything about your diagnosis and in so doing have learned about similar diagnosis or co-morbid diagnosis. We seek to understand it because we are trying to survive.

7. It’s all about us.

There are selfish people with disabilities and selfish people without disability. Many of us (just like you) work hard at making a difference for others. We actually hate the attention and don’t want it to be about us. We love being able to do even small things to help someone else.

8. We will die young.

Many people with disabilities live an average life span. But folks? They do so never ditching the diagnosis. This makes them WARRIORS. This makes them courageous. This means we could take some lessons from these people.

There are also those whose diagnosis mean their life span will be cut short. These people are still warriors. They simply have less time to prove it to you. So make it a little easier for them and stop judging and embrace their uniqueness. None of us are promised tomorrow. Even those without serious and permanent diagnosis could be gone tomorrow. Shouldn’t we all work to make a difference TODAY instead of write people off as if they have no future?

9. We don’t care about our health.

Yes. Some diagnosis make it really difficult to move, to exercise, and to live a healthy lifestyle. Sometimes people who are differently abled gain weight. But added pounds does not mean they don’t care about their health. As a matter of fact, most of us have learned that dietary changes, moderate (doable) exercise, and holistic approaches can improve the quality of our life. Don’t preach at us to become “juicers” or vegan, or organic shoppers. Don’t tell us to just get out and MOVE. Folks who live with a long-term illness or disability are often avid health nuts. They may not look it, but they work to keep things such as blood sugar, cholesterol, and blood pressure in control. Please don’t judge.

10. We are disabled.

Being disabled does not mean not being able. We are very able. We likely just do things differently. We are still more LIKE you, than not like you. We feel. We love. We get pissed. We yearn to connect. We throw our dog’s ball and scratch our purring fur-balls. We are very able. If in doubt, get to know us and discover it for yourself.

Denise Portis

© 2015 Personal Hearing Loss Journal

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One thought on “Cats Get a Bad Rap

  1. I really enjoyed this piece, Denise! I don’t know if this is the place to ask, but I’m curious what made this be just the right time to send this message? Because it feels like it’s right on time for something. I feel very misunderstood at times, and the things you touched on are part of my story, too. Thank you.

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