It seems to me that there are two distinct classes of cats: plain cats and magical cats.
The magical cats are smart, know, understand and “herd” their humans into behavior they want. My last magical cat was a lockpick, would rip open a bag of cat food if her bowl was empty and it was there, was a terrific huntress, and taught me a lot, about myself, life and cats. The cat we’d had before her, my “old” cat, was also a magical cat.
We had a plain cat in the middle there, who ran away. Not too smart, annoying habits, and had little or no sense of where you were/were going. Sort of egotistical and completely preoccupied with food, where the magical cats certainly enjoy their feed, but it isn’t their job. The job of a magical cat is to educate and guide the stupid humans I think. The other cats only want the free ride, the shelter, food, and protection — and in return will hunt now and then, purr, etc. the baseline cat give backs.
Life is more interesting with a plain cat. But life with a magical cat is educational, interesting, and generates stories you tell and retell, whether the cat still graces your life or not.
That’s another difference, plain cats tolerate you. Magical cats enrich your life. And you can’t tell what a cat is or will become until you live with them. Some cats transform themselves into magical cats, others simply remain plain cats.
I think this is why some people don’t like cats and others of us love them.
Years ago, a lady came in the bookstore carrying a small dog, like a Yorkie. She had to leave very soon because she had a young pup in the car. She got the pup out and the pup and I had a great time on the grass. She tried to sell me the pup. First, I didn’t have $100+ for a pet I didn’t need (already had a dog); and second, she said, “You can carry them everywhere, like a baby — and they never grow up!” (big grin). And, if I hadn’t already decided no, I couldn’t have the dog, that would have done it. I would have loved to have a child, if it had been meant to be. But a kid that never grows up? No thank you!!!
I’ve had magical dogs and “just” dogs too, so I think this idea applies there as well.