On cat newsgroups you will find a mix of owners, breeders, rescuers and health/welfare workers. Among the sane and sensible individuals discussing their pets' foibles and seeking advice on tackling feline ailments and problem owners, you will find a variety of less-sane individuals whose grasp of cat-keeping reality is sometimes rather tenuous. As well as the run-of-the-mill flamers and clueless newbies are a few sub-species found only on cat newsgroups (there are equivalent sub-species on other pets newsgroups).

The Anti-Neuterer

S/He doesn't believe in neutering his own cats - it's up to other owners to neuter theirs. S/He doesn't believe in keeping his/her cats indoors either. His/her cats are an extension of his/her sex-drive and to neuter them would be tantamount to castrating their owner. In addition, s/he has a shaky grasp of statistics and believes that a carefully planned pedigree litter produced once every 2 years to exacting specification by diligent breeders is a greater contribution to the feline population than their own 3 litters per year, per cat, every year.

Style: "There is no cat overpopulation problem - the SPCA only put 2 cats to sleep last year and that was because they were injured." "I don't see why *I* should keep my tomcats in - it's not them that have the kittens." "I always find good homes for my kittens." "If it wasn't for breeders producing too many kittens, there wouldn't be any need for cat rescue shelters."

The Parochial Poster

This person has no concept of a world beyond their own national boundaries. Thus a person 10 miles away from the nearest road, neighbours or other cats in rural Wales who lets their cat outdoors is condemned as wrong based entirely on the Parochial Poster's view that every locality is as dangerous as Manhattan. The fact that the cat in Wales is more likely to be hit by a meteorite than meet a car or another cat is not considered. The Parochial Poster will deny the existence of any breed of cat not recognised by their own country's registry. If they grudgingly accept that it does exist, they will give several reasons why it has no right to exist. Parochial posters do not have passports - they don't need them since the world outside of their own country has no right to exist.

Style: "According to the breeds listed by <organisation> there's no such thing as a Russian Black." "Your opinion differs from mine therefore you are wrong."

The Ickle-Wickle Fluffy-Wuffikins

These people do not have cats, they have fur-babies. Fur-babies are expected to act like children. If fur-baby misses its litter tray then fur-baby must have caught some awful disease and fur-baby's mommy will be on the verge of panic looking for signs that her Precious is about to drop dead. The fact that underneath fur-baby's carefully coiffed fur there is a fearsome hunter railing against the indignity of a chocolate-box bow is neither here nor there. Despite the fact that cats have evolved over thousands of years to slaughter small animals, Precious's mommy denies that Precious would hurt a mouse. Some take anthropomorphism to extremes by writing emails from their cats.

Style: "Booful Precious icked up a hairball today - it was soooo cute!" "I'm Precious and this is my website; click here to see a picture of my owner, Soozie."

The Advanced Anthropomorphist

This is the Ickle-Wickle Fluffy-Wuffikins but without the cuteness. While realising that their cat is not a human, Advanced Anthropomorphists still persist in imposing their own belief system on their cats. If the owner is vegetarian, the cat must become vegetarian even though cats are obligate carnivores and cannot remain healthy or happy on a veggie diet. If the vegetarian's cat kills a mouse, the owner simply cannot understand why the cat has given in to its baser instincts. In general, the Advanced Anthropomorphist is well-meaning, but is clueless about the true nature of the little furry carnivore they share their home with. When it comes to finding a creature which suits their belief system, many would be better off owning a house-rabbit.

Style: "My cat is an Orthodox <religion> like myself, he joins me in my evening meditation." "My cat understands that it is wrong to kill."

The Cat-Hating Troll & The Furry Flame-Baiter

These people post to the newsgroup only to provoke or stoke arguments. The Cat-Hating troll casts his bait and sits back to watch; the Furry Flame-Baiter occasionally stokes an existing argument when the entertainment value wanes. They may or may not believe what they post: that Chinese restaurants in London serve kidnapped kitties on the menu or that all cats (even indoors only cats) should be defanged and declawed for the safety of wildlife. They may even claim to have perpetrated all manner of acts themselves. Most turn out to be attention-seeking 15 year olds and will go away if ignored for long enough. Unfortunately, there are too many people willing to rise to the bait and give them attention. Some trolls don't actually hate cats, they just love the idea of a guaranteed irate a response from cat-lovers.

Style: "Got any good cat recipes? My neighbour's cat is bugging me and I'm going to cook it." "Cats should have a litter of kittens before they are neutered." "Drowning *is* humane."

The Amateur Veterinarian

Having failed to get into med school or vet school, this person is nevertheless an expert on all known ailments, surgeries and medications. Feel free to describe your cat's problem in the haziest terms and they will give you a detailed diagnosis to three decimal places. Not to be confused with posters whose own cats have had similar symptoms and who suggest it "might be such-and-such, but get your cat checked out by a vet." Closely related are the Amateur Behaviourist and the Amateur Geneticist who have each "read a book" or "been to a lecture given by so-and-so". These amateur experts are dangerous. Meanwhile, cat owners who have practical experience of behavioural quirks are always willing to admit that cats don't read the books or go to lectures!

Style: "According to Dr Whatsit ...." "Get your vet to prescribe XYZ drug, you may have to tell him since a lot of vets don't know about this."