Maybe it's just me and my friends, but I feel like I am constantly surrounded by obsessive dog lovers. My friends are people who genuinely believe that dogs are infinitesimally better than cats, not just as a joke (i.e. Ew! I don't want to grow up and be an old cat lady), but as a true and long held belief. Which, to me, is ridiculous.
This topic is admittedly somewhat silly. And yet, my friends and I have had multiple impassioned conversations over the merits of cats, because although I acknowledge that dogs are amazing, they always stipulate that dogs are simply better. It's not just my friends and I either; it's a debate that has fueled many Buzzfeed videos and icebreaker questions.
So why are people so interested in putting dogs and cats against one another? And where did all this cat slander come from?
Personally, I believe that there's a certain stereotype that is applied to both cats and dogs. While there are truths to these stereotypes, I feel like I grew up seeing cats represented as mean, evil, or lazy, whereas dogs were always the fun and faithful friends. Movies like "Cinderella" or "Cats vs Dogs" depict villainous cats, and even funny media, like "Garfield" or "Tom and Jerry", portray a mean and lazy feline character.
Meanwhile, dogs are seen in movies like "Marley and Me" and "Beethoven" as goofy and loveable. It's hard to separate what you see on television with what is true, but it's time to debunk this villainous and evil stereotype of cats.
There are many reasons to absolutely love cats, the first being that they each have their own unique personalities. Contrary to how dogs have dispositions that are heavily influenced by their breed, cats have personalities similar to humans'. In psychology, it's been theorized that people's personalities are based on a spectrum of Big Five personality traits. This is mirrored in cats, as they have five similar traits called the Feline Five and also operate on a spectrum. This is why cats can act somewhat human at times, because their personalities are similar and just as unique.
As a college student looking into apartments, there are also practical benefits to having a cat. It'll be much easier for me to have a cat than a dog, simply because of the lack of time, attention, and space that cats need in comparison to dogs. As much as I love dogs, they require a lot of time and energy, which isn't doable for me as a busy college student. I will also (hopefully) be living in an apartment, without much indoor or outdoor space. Even with a low energy dog or a small dog, the space would be less habitable for them than it would be for a cat.
There are also health benefits for having a cat. In addition to being adorable, cats are powerful, positive influences and help decrease loneliness. As many people realized during the pandemic, loneliness can be really dangerous and detrimental to one's health, and cats are terrific solutions to loneliness. Cats not only provide companionship to those who need it, but can also help decrease stress and lower the risk of dying from a heart attack or stroke. Cats are invaluable to people in both mental and physical health, and shouldn't be disregarded in favor of dogs.
None of this is to say that you shouldn't like dogs, or that you should prefer cats over dogs. It's just important to acknowledge that cats are amazing pets, too, and aren't evil, malicious pests, but rather pets that guard and keep the hearts of many lucky owners all over the world.