The debate on cats over dogs or dogs over cats is a popular topic. Between scientific studies on which animal is smarter and heated debates on animal superiority, most people seem to have a strong opinion. However, the middle ground is hardly explored.
Most readers here are going to lean on the dog side, but what some of you may not realize is that we have members with cats and dogs.
Instead of pitting the species against each other, let’s debunk some myths on felines and canines.
CAT MYTH: Cats are independent of humans.
Many believe felines do not need people to survive. Leave them a food or water bowl and they will be fine. A cat’s aloofness may create an image of low maintenance, but there’s a lot more care then one might expect.
Making sure your cat is spayed or neutered is important. Cats who go outdoors can interact with stray cats; a population issue can follow, and it doesn’t help shelters or rescue organizations to have to look after so many.
DOG MYTH: All dogs are outgoing creatures.
Just as not all cats are cold-hearted, not all dogs are sociable. Dogs can be fine with one or two people, some dogs, not all of them, will love the crowds. When taking in a furry friend, always check their personality to make sure it’s compatible with your lifestyle.
CAT MYTH: Cats only purr when they’re happy.
Purring is seen as cute as a button, but it doesn’t always mean happiness. Cats purring can also mean illness, stress, pain, or fear; they’re even known to purr during birth and death. Just like a dog’s panting, make sure to pay attention to the situation with this behavior.
DOG MYTH: A wagging dog tail means they’re friendly.
Tail wagging dogs are an iconic image of happiness, but joy is not the only reason behind it. Tail wagging can also mean stress, fear, agitation, anxiety, aggression, and other strong emotions. Paying attention to your pet and context clues are king to decoding your dog’s body language.
CAT MYTH: Cats are cold-hearted.
While depicted by haters as conspirators of our downfall, felines are not a natural born enemy. A lot of cats do have an aloof attitude and sometimes don’t seek as much human contact as most dogs do, but that doesn’t mean cats don’t love their owners or people.
Cat cafes are a great example of cats loving to socialize with people rather than planning the demise of humanity.
If you fear cat scratches, the best way to avoid them is to not jump right into petting. Ask the owner about them, and if there isn’t a human with the cat, approach with caution. You wouldn’t greet a complete stranger with a big bear hug, so why is it different for cats?
DOG MYTH: Dogs are killers.
Cynophobia is the fear of dogs, and unfortunately, people become afraid of dogs due to personal experience of an aggressive dog or media stories that paint dogs as savage beasts.
Owners get it. A big dog, or even a little one, jumping and barking can be intimidating. Even if the dog has aggressive behavior, the best thing you can do is stay calm, don’t make eye contact, and don’t startle them with sudden behavior.
The biggest myth of them all is that these two entire species are entirely based on stereotypes. The truth is cats and dogs have a multitude of personalities and characteristics. Dogs and cats can also live in harmony, so don’t think you have to pick a side in this debate.
Taking in any kind of pet–cat, dog, fish, snake, bird–comes with responsibility. Make sure to do your research before bringing a creature into your life. If you’re looking to adopt one, make sure to set up a meet and greet to get a sense of the animal’s personalities.
Whether you’re a staunch cat-lover or die-hard dog supporter, we can all agree an animal companion is the best friend you can get.