Why Women are More Likely to like Cats

We know that women are more likely to like cats. This is common knowledge. Statistics support it. Thus women are more likely to love cats. Compared with men, women tend to show slightly more concern for both people and animals. There is accumulating evidence to support this.

There are differences between men and women that are well known. There are differences between male and female social, emotional and cognitive functioning. There are numerous studies to support this.

One difference that has been found clearly to exist between men and women is the degree to which they tend to be orientated towards and interested in “things” or “persons”. People who are interested in people could be called “person specialists”. People who are interested in things could be called “thing specialists”.

Personal specialists are more often female. Females tend to be more interested in people than in objects or things. Females tend to construe both people and things with reference to desires and moods etc.. Conversely, males are more often thing specialists. Generally, males are more interested in things or objects. Males tend to view both people and things using more objective and physical criteria such as size and colour etc..

Happy female pensioner with her cat

Happy female pensioner with her cat. Photo: iStockphoto

Sadly, animals occupy a sort of middle ground between things and persons in the eyes of humankind. Even today, to many people, animals possess facets of both persons and things. This middle ground position allows people to view animals as either things or people depending on the point of view of the person.

If a person views an animal as a person they will naturally be more willing to relate to him or her socially and view the animal as having emotions and intentions. In an Australian study of 101 adults it was found that person specialists were more orientated towards and interested in animals and more likely to perceive them “personalistically” than were people who could be called thing specialists.

It is argued that females tend to experience the emotional need to nurture more readily than males. This difference has a parallel influence on men’s and women’s association with and affection for both people and animals.

It has been argued that people’s behaviours towards and feelings for pets appear to share many of the characteristics of parents’ relations with children and that females appear to be more responsive to the desire to nurture both children and pets.

It has also been found that when the family has a child the family’s orientation towards their pet diminishes. This is presumably one reason why families get rid of their cat when they have a child.

There would seem to be an overlap between the natural nurture response in relation to children and in relation to pets.

Many studies have shown that women have a stronger emotional empathy towards humans than men. Women also tend to be more empathetic towards animals. The drive to nurture is tied up with one’s emotional response towards animals and people.

The bottom line is that women tend to have a greater emotional response towards people and animals and therefore are more able to empathise with the feelings of animals and therefore the domestic cat. Because of this they are able to make a greater connection with the cat, are more likely to understand the cat and as a consequence have a better relationship which in turn makes the relationship more productive.

Note: in a previous article on UK pet owning statistics I mentioned that I believed that females are less likely to have a pack animal instinct which squares up with felines while canines are pack animals.

The source for this post is: Companion Animals – ISBN-13 978-0-521-01771-8 (paperback)

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Why Women are More Likely to like Cats — 10 Comments

  1. Women have the advantage of being born emotionally more in touch – they are just emotionally more intelligent throughout childhood. Boys are born as emotional retards with all kinds of competitive and hard power aspirations. In other words, boys are usually simply born stupid.

    Hopefully by the time they reach 20 they have learned to exist emotionally without hurting other men, women – and for me, above all, animals.

    Women have more of a chance of doing well in the western world now – they are more intelligent and emotionally aware.

    …….and that, of course, is why they like cats. 🙂

    • I love your comment, Marc. I suppose there are a number of reasons why women tend to prefer cats more than men but the arguments that I’ve presented are probably reasonable and at least some of the reasons why. No doubt somebody will dislike what I have written. It is also worth mentioning that a lot of men love cats and animals and have a lot of empathy towards animals and therefore connect with them in exactly the same way that women do but in general women, or let’s say females to include girls, are better equipped to be empathetic towards cats.

    • yea i agree but i still agree also that boys arent retards alot of it is how they are brought up if they bought up in right enviroment. Also some women arent all emotional, i for sure wasnt emotional until later on in my life. i think its an equal thing 🙂 but i guess most women fit into that mode.

  2. I’m not sure I believe the statistics on the number of men versus women who love cats. I think a lot more men do love them, but secretly, because they still think it makes them look unmanly.
    Many men are more involved in childbirth and helping their wife/partner care for their new babies than there were at one time, they are gradually showing their caring side and I hope one day they will also realise there is no shame in admitting to loving cats.

    • exacatly i do think its an equal thing ruth. I know with my ex hes very much a cat loving person always has done when he was younger he loved cats totally i think alot is to do with if your an emotional and senestive type person. As the traditional man wouldnt go down that road. Like my dad hes not a cat person more a dog person.

    • I am sure that you are correct Ruth. Despite that, it seems likely that in general women do have this different response which can allow them to be more empathetic towards cats. I know it is dangerous to generalise like this but this emotional response by women does square up with the actual statistics that, more commonly, women are cat owners, particularly independent women living alone. Of course, there are a very large number of men who are able to have the same emotional response because in any case there are a lot of people in the middle ground between women who are highly feminine and men who are highly masculine.

  3. Agreed, R.
    I think men are evolving more every day.
    I’ve read the studies that describe the differences between the brains of men and women; but, to me, humans have the ability to learn. And, men are learning that they need to bring more of their emotions to the surface if they want to live in harmony with women.
    Here, many more men are becoming house husbands. It’s a matter of practicality. If a woman’s earning potential is better than the man’s, he manages the household and is primary in childrearing.
    Same with cats, men are showing much more caring than ever before.

  4. Well, Marc…You revealed volumes about yourself when you wrote, once, that you sat there and held your beloved boy, Red. A guy with feeling transcending the feelings he has for himself restores one’s faith in humanity. Your cats are lucky to have you for their dad.

    Howdy ol’ pal —-

    I’m more or less here, whatever your thoughts to the contrary.

    After I shelled out 600+ clams for this brand-new Windows 8 computer, it’s flat on its back,feebly floccillating the bed sheets and croaking for a priest. So far, the technician’s been out to the house three times in two weeks, with zero success and ill-concealed aggressive tendencies aimed in my direction. Remember the glabrous specimen who gummed up your stove? Or do you want to go there?

    Seeing as how the nearest friend who has a computer lives in a cabin nine miles up the road (we’re talking Jurassic Park here), I still drive to the neighboring town to retrieve my e-mails at the library. Is this surreal, or is my attitude bad?

    Will try to get to the library tomorrow. Take care of yourself, and pet the kids. xxxx

    • Howdy, I was wondering how you are, sorry about your computer troubles, yes well we remember ‘Boiled egg head’ who killed our stove and ‘Tea with two sugars’ who was equally as useless mending our gas pipes. Don’t worry, just email my google when you can xx

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