Categories: ownership

Why do some people like cats more than dogs?

Whether a person likes cats more than dogs depends upon their personality, their gender, their lifestyle and their personal circumstances. It’s complicated. This is a ramble through the jungle of complexities.

People who like cats more than dogs tend to be independent-minded, intelligent women, whereas people who prefer dogs to cats tend to be family-orientated men with a healthy amount of testosterone running through their bloodstream. I have stereotyped these two groups of people and can’t really do that because people occupy a continuous stream of personality types and genders.

Photo by Jonathan Borba from Pexels.

And what I’ve said is open to challenge. To drill down a bit, you might say that a person prefers a cat because cats are more independent or this it what people think. Therefore a busy person might like a cat more than a dog because they think they can leave them alone and almost ignore them but still have a companion animal. They’ll be wrong but that is why they prefer cats to dogs.

An old woman living alone might prefer a cat to a dog because cats are more gentle in many respects. Typically, they are smaller, quieter, less boisterous and less threatening. All these factors rolled together a more appealing to an elderly, infirm lady. But a family man who is on the way up in business, who is likely to be management material and therefore likes people to follow his commands is more likely to prefer a dog because a dog is going to be like an employee at his business! Dogs follow their masters and a lot of men like this. Once again I’m stereotyping because there is a whole range of male types.

Woman with tiny dog. In between a cat and a dog. A compromise solution. Photo in public domain.

You also have to factor in the different types of cats and dogs. Some dogs are quite cat-like and some cats are quite dog-like. You can get small, delicate little dogs smaller than the cats (toy dogs, very popular nowadays). These companion animals might be a compromise or “hybrid solution” to a person who likes cats and dogs but wants to go out for a walk with the dog on a lead. And sometimes you get people, often men, who like to adopt a large wild cat as a pet such as the puma. I’ve seen macho men go for this option. It’s another complication and I did say that the answer is going to be complicated.

Photo: dog ownership is different to cat ownership. Photo: Pixabay.

Particularly, nowadays, you have to be aware of the full spectrum of personality types and genders both in men and women (which is a good thing). And therefore it is dangerous and incorrect to stereotype but I am trying to answer the question by pigeonholing people into certain groups. Perhaps the biggest factor in whether a person likes cats over dogs is how much time they have on hand to give to their companion animal and whether their lives are itinerant i.e. they travel a lot and so on. If they do travel a lot a dog is preferable because they can take the dog on a lead. Dogs are more amenable to an owner whose life is less settled.

This is one big “problem” with a domestic cat. They become attached to their territory very firmly, more so than dogs. Therefore there are more suited to an individual who has a very settled life such as a retired lady or man whereas a person who is in full-time employment and likely to be moved around the country in his employment, a dog is preferable if that person wants to adopt a companion animal. There is an argument that says that cats are more attached to their territory than their human companion.

Photo: Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay

Why do some people like cats more than dogs? One reason is that some people like the feline body. The mystery, the sleekness, the agility, the athleticism, the face which can be child-like because they are selectively bred that way i.e. the Scottish Fold. These people are often women: the feline mirrors the feminine or at least it can do in domestic cats. Male domestic cats are neutered therefore they lose some of that jowly masculinity. This probably pushes them towards female ownership.

Although domestic cats and domestic dogs both have weapons i.e. teeth and claw, the dog is stronger, normally, and tends to be more outgoing and boisterous. The domestic cat appears more introverted because there are more retiring in the human world. Also they are more stealthy because of their inherited hunting techniques. This appeals to some people and not to others.

Down the middle you will find families where they live with dogs and cats. They all live in perfect harmony, almost. So there is a middle group of people, and it’s a large one, where you can’t say that they like cats more than dogs or vice versa. They like all companion animals equally.

Street woman and her cat. Photo in public domain.

With regard to dogs, there is another factor which is a practical one. Some people are very houseproud or, at the other end of the spectrum, lazy with respect to housekeeping. If you live with a dog and have just come in from a country walk in winter you can’t really be houseproud. You are going to have mess in your car and in your home whether you like it or not. That is unappealing to some people. The domestic cat is fastidiously clean. They set very high personal hygiene standards although of course they do bring in mess and mud if they go outside in the rain. They just bring in less than dogs. This is a factor in whether you like cats or dogs. Oh, a both have fur which they deposit everywhere. They are probably about equal in this respect.

Another factor (phew, there are many) is that you can go for a walk with the dog on a lead. Very few people take their cats for a walk on a lead. This makes cats a little less flexible in terms of how you interact with them compared to dogs. A lot of people like to go for walks and if you have a dog you have companion right there, living with you for that wonderful country walk. It’s hard to beat that. So if you like walking and you want to adopt a companion animal and like cats and dogs equally than you might go for a dog.

Michael Broad

Hi, I'm a 71-year-old retired solicitor (attorney in the US). Before qualifying I worked in many jobs including professional photography. I have a girlfriend, Michelle. I love nature, cats and all animals. I am concerned about their welfare.

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