Cat lovers think that their favorite animals can generally do no wrong. People who adore felines often find them loving, attentive, playful, and adaptable. They love cats’ independence and sweet companionship and feel honored that such self-sufficient and intelligent creatures want to hang out with them.
However, there are those who feel differently about cats. They think that they’re uncaring, aloof, and responsible for causing the death of birds and spreading parasites like Toxoplasma gondii.
There’s also the fact that cats domesticated themselves and haven’t been tamed to the same extent as dogs, so they tend to be less inclined to respond regularly in ways agreeable to people.
Ultimately, it all comes down to personal preference and what individuals seek in a companion.
How Did Cats Domesticate Themselves?
Cats may have domesticated themselves, and they may well have done so more than once! They probably started hanging out around human settlements in the Fertile Crescent around 8,000 years ago because the sites attracted rodents and made it easy to find dinner.
Over time, the relationship between cats and humans became closer, but cats were most likely never bred for specific purposes, unlike dogs, which were selected for traits like speed, endurance, tracking abilities, and temperament.
There were also cats in Egypt that were introduced to other areas around the Mediterranean sometime around 1500 B.C.E. They were probably taken along by traders to keep mice and rats under control.
Are There Personality Differences Between Cat and Dog Lovers?
Some evidence suggests that dog people have an edge over cat lovers regarding conscientiousness. Dog fans like to plan ahead and are often more extroverted, outgoing, and enthusiastic.
Kitty lovers, however, get the nod when it comes to being open to new ways of thinking and experiences. People with felines as companions are creative and curious, much like their furry friends.
Cat people also tend to be more anxious than dog lovers, who are typically more social and trusting than feline fans. More people identify as dog lovers than cat people.
Are Cats Responsible for Murdering Birds?
While cats are indeed responsible for killing birds and small mammals in many places, it’s also highly likely that most of the havoc is wreaked by feral cats, not pets that come home for dinner every night. While domestic cats have the hardware to be effective hunters and enjoy pouncing, chasing, and springing on toys in ways that mimic nabbing prey, those that don’t learn to catch and kill prey as kittens aren’t terribly effective hunters as adults.
Kittens learn how to kill by watching their mothers. Non-hunting queens generally raise kittens that aren’t good at sneaking up on and dispatching wild animals with experience avoiding predators.
Is It True That Cat Poop Spreads Toxoplasmosis?
While it’s true that cat poop can contain Toxoplasma gondii, cats must be infected with the parasite for it to be an issue, and not all are. There are also other ways to get the parasite, such as by eating venison, pork, oysters, muscles, or clams that aren’t thoroughly cooked.
It can even be spread by consuming something that simply came into contact with contaminated food or cooking utensils. Toxoplasmosis infections can be quite serious for those who have weakened immune systems, and they can cause pregnant people to miscarry, but the parasite is pretty common, and many people who end up infected with it don’t develop severe symptoms.
Are There Ways to Limit the Spread of Toxoplasmosis When It Comes to Cat Poop?
Yes. Cats catch toxoplasmosis by eating prey animals with parasites or consuming meat that hasn’t been cooked enough. Keeping cats inside and only allowing them supervised outdoor access can reduce the chances of encountering infected critters. Sticking with commercial cat food formulations can reduce the risk of cats coming into contact with the parasite by snacking on raw or undercooked meat.
Staying on top of litter box cleaning can lower the chance of cats spreading infected poop around the house, which can go a long way toward preventing vulnerable individuals from getting sick. Wearing gloves when cleaning the litter can also provide protection. Pregnant people and those who are immunocompromised are often advised to avoid cleaning cats’ litter boxes just to be on the safe side.
Although cats are among the most popular pets in the world, some people simply don’t like the amazing creatures. Cats’ aloofness and independence often rub dog lovers the wrong way, which makes sense, given the fact that cats were never subject to selection for personality traits and behavior agreeable to humans. Still, many of the reasons that people cite for disliking cats, such as their negative impact on birds and wildlife, often turn out to be a bit less cut and dry than one might expect. While there appear to be a few personality differences between cat and dog lovers, disliking cats probably just comes down to personal taste.
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Featured Image Credit: Jihan Nafiaa Zahri, Shutterstock