Cats and Cat People Face an Uphill Battle
Cats are more popular pets than ever, thanks in some part to internet memes and videos. However, strong stereotypes about cats and cat owners persist, according to a new cross-U.S. study by PetSmart Charities. The survey of over 1,000 respondents shows that most people find cats to be “intelligent, loving, cuddly, and attractive,” but a majority of respondents would also describe them as “moody, stubborn, aloof, and grouchy.” What’s more, nearly half of the respondents subscribe to negative stereotypes about cat lovers, including the idea of “cat ladies.” 19% of those surveyed said that the cats in shelters are less adoptable than dogs; and statistics show that more shelter cats than dogs are euthanized each year due to overpopulation.
The study suggests that, because nearly three-quarters of respondents get their information about cats from friends and family, the best way to combat these negative stereotypes is for the cat people out there to “show our friends and family that we’re proud to share our lives with our wonderful cats!” The survey seems to indicate that one-to-one education can be very effective in changing negative attitudes towards cats across the U.S.