Stephen’s been working late these days, which means that when I get home from work, it’s just me and the cats in the garden, where I like to spend a few minutes reading without the aggravation and distraction of the subway/city. The cats love going outside: most days, they’re waiting for me at the door, although Zephyr usually needs to be carried out because he’s more skittish since he and Dante had a fight after seeing a stray. (This is a known thing with cats: they can suddenly turn on each other when confronted by a stranger.) Once they’re all out, though, they go through their rituals; Zephyr chews on greenery, Dante sniffs around, and Elektra will examine the pots. Then they all settle in to their spots, watching and listening in still, unblinking concentration. After twenty or thirty minutes, I call them and they follow me inside. Having grown up with dogs, I’m often pleasantly surprised by how similar cats can be to dogs in terms of social behavior; at least in my experience, they really do spend most of their days waiting for you (assuming they live indoors, which they should, for the sake of the birds and their own health, at least here in the city), and they listen and obey (or disobey) and like to rest their chins on your knee or get scratched behind their ears. They will sometimes “talk” back to you in endearing ways. Etc. Which I mention because in the past few months, I’ve noticed an increase of “cat hatred” crossing my dashboard, which to some extent I can understand given how the internet works (we’re all saturated with every kind of annoying/cloying picture, whether it’s of cats or dogs or violence or sex or people acting odd or serious). At the same time, this brand of cat hatred has left me a bit vexed, not just because I happen to feel very affectionate toward my cats, but also because this hatred is (to me, disturbingly) often being espoused by those who love their own non-feline pets and aren’t at all shy about putting it on display in the usual manner. (And I don’t trust anyone who claims to hate animals generally, so if that’s you, let’s agree to live in different countries and never talk again.) For those of you who do like animals, let’s also agree that there’s a special bond between ourselves and the animals we live with — call it love or whatever else — and if you experience that, why would you want to denigrate it in others? There’s enough hatred in the world, so why not respect the love, particularly if it’s not hurting you or anyone else? I guess what I’m saying is that if you make hatred of cats (or dogs) part of your personal platform, we’re going to have a hard time being friends.