Atheists more likely to live with cats than churchgoers

Researcher Samuel Perry of Oklahoma University suggests that atheists are more likely to be the guardian of a domestic cat because their cat is godlike and they worship their cat! Also, they obtain the social interaction that they require from their cat companion while churchgoers already have plenty of social interaction which means that they do not need a feline for the purpose.

Cat in church

Cat in church

His research discovered that people who worshipped more than once a week lived with 1.4 domestic cats, on average, compared to nonreligious people who lived with 2 domestic cats.

As you can see, he has his viewpoints as to the reason why churchgoers are less likely to be cat people. I am sure that you have yours as well. He believes that cat owners serve their cats in a similar way that churchgoers serve their God. He also suggests that cat owners desperately try to win their cat’s love which has echoes of how people who believe in a God relate to their God. Mr Perry is an atheist, incidentally.

Writer Christopher Hitchens said that our relationship with dogs is different in that they think you are God when you feed them whereas when you feed a cat they “draw the conclusion that they are gods”.

Tom Whipple, Science Editor of The Times writes that “They require daily offerings, always seem to be judging you and rarely reciprocate acts of devotion. Is it any wonder, then, that if you have a cat in your life you feel less need for a god as well?”

I think his comment is based on the stereoptypical viewpoint a non-cat lovers which makes it less than credible.


There may be other reasons. Indeed, Mr Perry may have suggested them but I have not read his study in detail. We know, for example, that the type of a person who owns a cat is more likely to be independent minded than the non-cat owner. It is said that the classic cat owner is an independent minded, intelligent single woman. You might argue that this sort of person is more likely to be thoughtful about everything including religion.

They are more likely to make an informed decision about whether they want to believe in a God or not. You could also argue that a lot of people who are religious are of that mindset because they’ve been indoctrinated or conditioned by their parents as youngsters. They are not challenging the status quo but accepting it. If you probe into religion it is hard not to come to the conclusion that it is a human construction for the emotional benefit of the ever fearful human.

And if you challenge the status quo as an independent minded cat owner, you may come to the conclusion that God does not exist and become an atheist. It’s about the mindset of the person which is not directly connected to cat ownership.


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Note: sources for news articles are carefully selected but the news is often not independently verified.

Michael Broad

Hi, I'm a 74-year-old retired solicitor (attorney in the US). Before qualifying I worked in many jobs including professional photography. I love nature, cats and all animals. I am concerned about their welfare. If you want to read more click here.

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