It interests me when people refer to themselves as either a dog person or a cat person because I love both species equally. According to Amplicate, a website that allows people to choose whether they love or hate something and then works out the percentages, 51% of people hate cats and 27% of people hate dogs. Why?
As for cats, people usually cite the fact that they aren’t as friendly as dogs and that they aren’t as interactive as a pet. They are considered sneaky and manipulative while dogs are joyful and loyal. Some people take issue with the fact that feral cats kill native animals, especially in Australia but realistically this issue was caused entirely by humans mistreating and dumping their pet cats.
As for dogs, people cite their hygiene and propensity to roll around in filth. Their constant desire for companionship while being a reason to love for most can be construed as weakness and neediness by particularly harsh critics. Some people have developed distaste due to dog attacks but much like the aforementioned feral cat issue, any dog that attacks someone is the fault of a poor owner.
Interestingly, reasons that are generally given are reasons that set the two creatures apart. People almost always love one or the other. You will almost never find someone who dislikes both species. For dogs their companionship and loyalty is considered a good thing to many and their neediness and insistence upon company a bad thing for others. For cats their independence and challenging emotional relationship is considered a good thing for some and their snobbery and aloof demeanour a bad thing for others.
I recently conducted an experiment with a housemate of mine who claimed to hate cats. I brought home a little kitten to foster for a while that had been dumped by someone. I brought it into our home without telling him. When he discovered it he was a bit apprehensive at first but he almost immediately fell in love with the kitten and ended up adopting it himself. I don’t know if this would be reflected throughout the general population but like many other behaviours demonstrated in people it seems that in my housemate the feeling of disliking cats was more a construct than a reality.
Almost all of the issues people claim to have with dogs and cats are developed by poor ownership. You can train cats as well as dogs and in fact you can actually train them quite a bit easier to be socially acceptable because hygiene and personal space are ideas that come naturally to cats. It’s the fact that cats can handle themselves somewhat well on their own without truly being a danger to humans that allows their owners to let them run riot and kill native wildlife. If they were nurtured more by owners, fed well and kept inside then that issue would never arise. Similarly dogs that invade personal space and get angry are the product of negative ownership. In fact some people train their dogs to be this way. Left to their own devices dogs will evolve into different personalities just like humans but violence is not a natural inclination that dogs have towards humans. Bad hygiene in dogs is also entirely the fault of the owner.