Confessing My Controversial Opinion

Confessing My Controversial Opinion

Each day this week, I’ve read one chapter of Jeremy DeSilva’s A Most Interesting Problem (which will be the focus of my next blog post). In the chapter “The Darwinian Road to Morality” by Brian Hare, the author discusses our co-evolution with dogs and the way that “dogs and humans are the first species known to have a between-species oxytocin connection.” He goes on to explain, “During domestication, the same physiological response that occurs between parent and baby evolved between human and dog. Dogs confirm Darwin’s suspicion that love is ancient, evolved, and present in many species.”

The strict mention of dogs here, and not cats, got me thinking. I know that this oxytocin connection has only been observed occurring between dogs and humans, so it wouldn’t make sense for Hare to bring up cats. But has anyone tried to observe this? Or are we only focused on cementing the idea that dogs really are humanity’s best friends? Regardless, it brought up something that I frequently ponder: society’s views of cats vs. dogs.

The old trope of being either a “cat person” or a “dog person” might make it sound like the population is split down the middle, but this is not the case. Both a 2001 and a 2006 Gallup poll had similar results in regards to cats-vs-dogs related questions. As could be expected, dogs were by far the favorite of the majority of the American public. Of course, owners of only cats tended to prefer cats, and dog owners dogs, but dogs were also the favorite of people who owned both and people who owned neither. The only people who actually preferred cats were 61%-69% of people who had only cats and no dogs, and still the margin was much smaller than the enthusiastic 93% of dog-only owners who prefer dogs.

I wasn’t able to find more recent data, but if I could guess how this is trending nowadays, I would say pet ownership overall is up, what with so many millennials opting not to have kids and instead treating their pets as children. I would imagine that based on their general Internet popularity, cats have become at least somewhat more popular. What I find strange is that even with my generation’s love for pets, it still seems acceptable in society to absolutely hate cats, but not dogs. I’ve heard it said that “cat people” generally don’t mind dogs, but “dog people” will go out of their way to let everyone know that they hate cats. Well, based on these facts, what I’m about to say may shock you. I’ve said a lot of controversial things on this blog through the years, but this might be my most controversial opinion yet.

I don’t like dogs.

There, I said it. I don’t just like cats better. I don’t even like dogs. And even with the oxytocin-science backing it up, I don’t see how dogs are as popular as they are. Their barking is loud, their slobber is disgusting, their smell is often less than desirable, and their high energy is draining. I write this wearing both my earplugs and my noise-canceling headphones to try to block out the incessant barking coming from the other side of my wall. What’s so lovable about that?

One recent analysis on the differences between “cat people” and “dog people” has really opened my eyes. It’s been said that when someone doesn’t like cats, it’s likely that they don’t appreciate that cats have boundaries. Think about it. Cats are famous for being assholes (they are not), for not giving affection (they do), and only letting your scratch their bellies for a matter of seconds before they start scratching you. But cats don’t owe you infinite scratches! (And they especially don’t owe you permission to pick them up.) In my experience, cats understand consent better than most humans do. They have very clear limits on what you may and may not do to them, when, and how often. It doesn’t make them mean, it means that if you hate cats, you might have boundary issues.

I fully follow this logic. To me, dogs have weak or no boundaries. You might think this makes me mean, but I have a boundary that other people’s slobbery pets cannot jump up onto me and lick my face. When I pass people on walks and their dogs want to do this, the owners are surprised every time when I quickly move on instead of stopping to make friends with their dog. Boundaries are something that cats and I have in common. Actually, many of the stereotypical personality traits of cats could also be used to describe me. Maybe why that’s why I can get so upset when people go out of their way to denounce that personality.

Not liking dogs may be an unpopular opinion, but it is one that I’m entitled to. Of course, you’re allowed dislike cats. That’s also an opinion. These qualify as harmless opinions because they are subjective and they don’t affect anyone but the one who holds that opinion. Unfortunately, I have seen the word “opinion” thrown around way too much lately, especially in regard to vaccines.

Being against taking a COVID-19 vaccine is not a difference of opinion. If you don’t get it, and your only reason is because you “don’t want to,” that’s selfish. It is not a valid or respectable opinion. It is a blatant, selfish disregard for the health of others. It does affect other people, so when we are around someone who chooses not to get it, we have a right to be upset. This isn’t cats-vs-dogs, chocolate-vs-vanilla, this is life-vs-death. Nearly 600,000 Americans have died from this virus, largely from these same people’s “opinions” that they don’t feel like wearing masks or social distancing. Over 4,000 Indian people died of COVID yesterday alone because there is no vaccine for them to take, while people in America have to be bribed with donuts. These people didn’t die so you could use a difference of opinion to make the selfish choice to not protect your fellow humans. Not getting vaccinated when you are privileged enough to have the option to is objectively immoral.

22 thoughts on “Confessing My Controversial Opinion

  • May 9, 2021 at 8:15 am
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    I was a cat person for most of my 70+ years of life, despite being allergic to cat dander. I like you did not like dogs in general, only an occasional example. This changed about three years ago when my partner asked me if she could get a dog as she had never had one of her own. Since one of my guiding principles in life is to make her happy, I said yes, with conditions. She found a dog which met all of those conditions and we have both been very happy living with a dog. Am I a dog person now? Maybe, but I do have one dog which I dote upon and that is a major change in my cat-dog life.

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    • May 9, 2021 at 9:49 am
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      Makes sense! I could have added, of course there is the occasional dog I will meet and like.

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  • May 9, 2021 at 8:26 am
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    When I get asked about the cat/dog thing, I always say I adore cats as a category and dogs individually. Give me any cat-shaped cat and I will love her but if your dog is rambunctious and you refuse to rein it in for other people I don’t like your dog. (Or you.)

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    • May 9, 2021 at 9:50 am
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      Do you think cat personalities overall are more similar to one another (literally sort of how they are more similar in shape and size) and dogs vary more in personality? I can definitely see that being something.

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      • May 9, 2021 at 9:54 am
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        I think probably yes. Cats definitely can vary in like friendliness and quirks but when you compare cats and dogs to each other I would definitely go along with that.

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  • May 9, 2021 at 8:31 am
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    There are a big chunk of dogs owners who’re also not particularly fond of them. In some cultures they breed them because they like to eat them. Shepherds have them to guard their flock and shoot them when they become useless for that purpose. The Inuit have sledge dogs who’re also considered as a spare provision and to defend them against wolves. You have a big amount of people who mistreat them so they get mean, to use them as guard dogs.

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  • May 9, 2021 at 9:01 am
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    Love this post. My spouse and I ended up with cats because we were trapping, fixing, and releasing feral cats in our neighborhood and two were not up to weight enough for the vet to fix and by the time they were they were ours to spoil. My first cats and I’ve learned a ton from just watching them and they’ve disproved all the stereotypes to me (they’re loyal, affectionate, friendly) and you’re right they smell way better than dogs, are way lower maintenance, etc. Cats get such a bad rep from dog obsessive people. While I love both species I don’t understand why dog lovers go out of their way to make it seem like cats as pets aren’t as important and aren’t “part of the family” in the way that their dogs are.

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    • May 9, 2021 at 9:57 am
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      I love that you TNR! I’ve always thought about getting into it or fostering except I think my old lady (from the post image) would not like that. But I have hoped to foster old kitties after her 🙂

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  • May 9, 2021 at 9:04 am
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    I agree with you. All of us do not like something(s) that the majority do. Although I love cats and dogs, I do not like Country Music. Never did and I probably won’t. Most people probably cannot relate but nonetheless it is true. It does not harm anyone or humanity in general so we all get along because it is a matter of taste or opinion. However, there are some things which people classify as opinion but they are not. The Earth is flat, there’s no climate change, or I don’t need to wear a mask or get a vaccine. These are selfish and ignorant. Mostly selfish, because these people don’t really believe the Earth is flat or vaccines are harmful. They just do not want to go against their group. Being part of a group is very powerful. All military’s understand this. That is how they get young selfish people to risk their lives. Facts alone will not work. I for one do not know how to combat this. Unfortunately, I think it is growing and our civilization is in trouble.

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    • May 9, 2021 at 10:00 am
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      Yep, you are so right. I would say things like vaccines working, the earth being a sphere, are true whether you believe them or not. Things like cats being better or country music being bad can be true or not depending who you ask. That said, I don’t like country music either 🤠

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  • May 9, 2021 at 11:54 am
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    I loved the analysis of the dogs vs. cats. Such an interesting point. Cat’s have boundaries. Never looked at it that way. We have an 11 year old Matese / Yorkie mix. If you had told me 11 years ago I would get attached to a dog, I would have said you were insane. He does bark sometimes, but it doesn’t bother me much. If love was dependent on desirable behavior, I might not love my daughters as much as I do. Great post.

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  • May 9, 2021 at 12:34 pm
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    I recently posted on FB regarding this subject. I like most domesticated animals and many wild ones. My grandson raised pigs for FFA this last school year. My daughter (a dog [1] & cat [10+?] lover and owner) decided she liked pigs as pets (never name a pig you plan to eat). But, I prefer cats and certain breeds of dogs (smart/obedient/friendly) for a lot of reasons, but mostly because I like the “cat attitude.” Moody cats I can deal with. Moody dogs are a pain.

    I have nothing good to say about people who don’t mask up (just finished an annoying piece about what flight attendants have to deal with), or who will not get shots (I don’t care why), or who generally seem intent on not doing the right thing because without a bible, commandments, or a dear leader, they’re unable to figure it out. Great post!

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  • May 9, 2021 at 1:40 pm
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    I like cats in general, but there are occasional individual cats that I have disliked. I dislike dogs in general, but there are occasional dogs that I have liked. I find dogs demand too much of my energy. They have to have their bathroom needs tended to several times daily, they have to be played with, bathed when they stink (which is often), they need your attention constantly, and if left to amuse themselves will destroy your stuff. I already have children for all that, thanks.

    Whereas my cat likes interacting with us, but if we’re not available for it he will almost never barf a hairball in our shoes in retaliation. He has important cat things to attend to, and can do just fine without human interaction for long periods. As long as his meals are on time and he gets some morning pets he’s mostly OK if we’re busy.

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  • May 9, 2021 at 7:31 pm
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    I have been a cat person all my life.
    A few dogs owned by friends I really liked but would probably never own one because they are too high maintenance and can be a real bother, or danger, to other people.
    The main problem with both is that they do not live as long as we do so at some point we are going to lose them .
    Our last cat was so affectionate and we loved him so much that when he died we decided he could not be replaced.. Maybe when we stop traveling so much we will get another one but we have been without one for 14 years.

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  • May 10, 2021 at 9:18 am
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    Nice post but I’ll push back a little. I love the mountains, that’s why I never go there. I enjoy my garden, but don’t consider myself a much of a gardener. I care about animals, but I’m not a pet person. Until I knew about the Yulin meat festival in which dogs (and cats) are rounded up and killed for meat, I didn’t feel much empathy for dogs. Their barking and territoriality mostly just annoyed me. Now, on morning walks in my neighbourhood, I smile at dogs from a distance, wave at the ageing husky around the corner as I walk past. Pet ownership is arguably just another manifestation of the master-slave relationship. Not always of course. As you say, some people substitute kids for pets. All fine. But still quite anthropocentric.

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  • May 11, 2021 at 3:32 pm
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    Here is the key difference between dogs and cats. Leave a dog alone for a couple days and the dog will likely consume the sofa. Leave a cat alone with plenty of food and water and you might find the sofa just scratched. So I’d much prefer cats. You don’t have to walk them, just clean the litter box on a regular basis and you’re good.

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    • May 11, 2021 at 6:27 pm
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      Yep. My experience both dog sitting and cat sitting really emphasizes this. For dogs you have to go there 3 times a day. For cats you can go once every other day.

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  • May 11, 2021 at 6:26 pm
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    I can totally relate regarding dog barking, it drives me nuts. However, I see that as being a people problem, not a dog problem. Some dog owners are very respectful of their neighbors, and some definitely aren’t. If there’s a “secret” solution it is to invade the barking neighbors privacy as much as they are invading yours. Then you have something to negotiate with.

    If you haven’t already, go next door, knock on the door, and very politely ask them to stop the barking. Never mind what they say in response, that doesn’t matter. The next time there is barking, repeat the procedure. Always be polite and respectful, so they can’t change the subject to you. And just keep knocking, knocking, knocking.

    Good luck!

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    • May 11, 2021 at 6:28 pm
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      We have tried. We are just moving 😂 but thank you! I think if these people were reasonable that would normally work.

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      • May 11, 2021 at 6:59 pm
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        To widen the scope a bit, my wife is an ENTHUSIASTIC wildlife rehabber. I basically live in a wildlife hospital, birds and squirrels and bunnies everywhere. No cats or dogs would work here, but before the hospital era, lifelong cat lover. Years ago we had four cats, and every night while watching TV all four of them would pile on to my wife where she sat on the couch. They would typically pile on to me when I took a nap. Miss them, but cats would not be at all advisable here in the hospital.

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  • May 11, 2021 at 6:53 pm
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    The procedure I shared will work with unreasonable people too, but yea, it takes more work. And you kind of have to meet them in their butthead space, as that’s the only thing they can understand. Maybe you are too cool to be a butthead. Not everyone has that talent. 🙂

    We tried moving, only to discover there are buttheads everywhere. As example, here’s evidence. When you’re in traffic, observe how many people tailgate. That is, risking everything in exchange for nothing. Sadly, when it comes to neighbors, this is often who we are dealing with, the logic disabled.

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  • August 23, 2021 at 1:38 pm
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    There is just one thing to say about opinions: make people financially reliable for them when they turn into acts that society has to take the burden of. Not taking vaccine? Landing on ICU? Better have no assets in your name!

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What do you think?