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Study Reveals Public Opinions About Cats and Cat People

Support from proud cat lovers can save homeless cats
Tuesday, May 19, 2015

woman looks at catIn early 2015, PetSmart Charities conducted a nationwide survey* of 1,023 people to learn what they think about cats and cat owners.

We asked the survey participants about everything from stereotypes of cat owners to cat memes and videos. Their responses showed that we could improve cats’ lives by being proud of our loyalty to our feline friends.

People learn about cats from friends, family and the Internet

Respondents cited friends and family who own cats as their most common sources of information about cats (74%). People also said they got information about cats through past (66%) or current (54%) experience owning a cat. More than half of respondents said they got cat information from animal welfare organizations.

We all know how popular cats are on the Internet — who hasn’t seen cat memes and videos shared online? More than a third of respondents said they learned information about cats from Internet videos or social media.

Furthermore, the survey showed that cat owners view and share more cat content than the broader population. More than half of cat owners said they talk about their cat or share cat videos.

Cats (and their people) face an uphill battle

But we wondered whether or not that Internet popularity was actually benefiting cats in real life — especially homeless cats still seeking their forever homes. We asked people about the qualities they associate with cats. A majority of respondents said cats are intelligent, loving, cuddly and attractive.

On the other hand, a majority also chose “moody,” “stubborn,” “aloof” and “grouchy” to describe cats. Also, fewer than half of the survey participants thought cats were protective, loyal, playful, silly or friendly.

The survey showed that negative stereotypes also affect perceptions of cat owners and cat lovers. Most pervasive is the “cat lady” — nearly half (49%) of survey participants still buy in to this stereotype.

cat plays in box19% of respondents said that there are not as many adoptable cats in shelters as there are dogs. In reality, more cats than dogs are euthanized in shelters simply to make more space. The PetSmart Charities 2014 U.S. Shelter Pet Report showed that 27% of people considering a new pet said they would not choose a cat.

Change is in the air for cats and cat owners

We have reason to be optimistic, though: 56% said the stereotypes about cats are untrue, and 71% of respondents said stigmas about cat owners are outdated. Almost two-thirds (61%) believe too many people have negative impressions of cat owners.

Overall, most respondents said they like cat owners (82%). Three-quarters said they believe cats make great pets (77%) and they would be proud to say they have a cat (78%). 56% believe that more people would have a cat if the stereotypes about cats and their parents were removed.

More than half of the survey participants said that cat people are intelligent, independent, warm and friendly, and attractive. Cat owners were more emphatic in their responses. For example, 63% of respondents said cat people are attractive; among cat owners, 72% thought cat people are attractive.

Do your part to help end stereotypes

Cat lovers can help boost people’s perceptions of cats and their owners by spreading the word. Let’s show our friends and family that we’re proud to share our lives with our wonderful cats!

Together we can change how people see felines and their fabulous friends. Here’s how you can help homeless cats now:

And if you’re ready to step up and be the ultimate hero for homeless cats, adopt or donate to PetSmart Charities today.

 

* The PetSmart Charities survey was fielded via Toluna Analytics to more than 1,000 U.S.-based respondents over the age of 18 in February 2015. It has a +/- 3% margin of error. 

Comments(6)

Mary Adler

We have 5 cats, and I have gotten the name of the 'neighborhood cat lady' even though their are cat owners throughout our neighborhood. I seem to be the only one whose cats follow her like dogs follow some owners. If you want to get a cat to follow you everywhere, then start addressing the cat by name whenever you see it by walking into a room. Cats like being recognized. I also act like a bit of a waitress by checking the cat food to see if they have run out and replenish it. If they want out, I'll open the door. If they want in, I'll open the door. If they want a drink out of the sink, we have a little bowl that we will fill for them upstairs in our bathroom with a stream running from the faucet. Our cats are like humans that have physical limitations. They wait in the driveway for us to come home, call out to see if we are around with a meow that sounds like a yell, and we answer. I used to take walks in the woods and they would tag along. I 'd check to ensure everyone was keeping up and no one was left behind. I like cats, because we can leave town and all our pet folks have to do is a head count twice a day, feed them, and replace the bags on the automatic litter boxes. No digging in litter pans. Dogs have to be walked, and given stuff to keep from chewing up shoes and other items. Cats are a better pet if someone is a couch potato.

pam

we have one cat...when the weather is nice, we leave a window or door open for her to go in and out. we would be open to another cat, but it would have to be an indoor/outdoor cat.

Heather Ruckman

I love cats. We have one indoor and a couple handfuls outside. Each one is has a unique personality and show tons of love and affection. I could never see not having a cat in our family. We also have two dogs and the cats and the dogs all get along really good. Oh and I also have been nicknamed the " cat lady" of our neighborhood too.

Marie DuMabeiller

We have an overgrown kitten named Freddie, age 3, a former feral cat career-changed to house cat who goes for walks with my roommate, his owner. I am proud of being called The Cat Lady here, which proves landlords have hearts, too. I am an elderly law student & couch potato, so Freddie & I are both nocturnal & we play on my meal & study breaks. Whereas a dog needs to go out, Freddie uses his litter box indoors & there is nothing as heartwarming as Kitty Love. As Freddie is my best friend by now, & I particularly welcome tenants with cats, I do not rent to anyone who dislikes or is allergic to cats. So let's hear it for cats, the perfect pet!

Cynthia

Cats are Not Aloof and Selfish !! People condition them to be that way !! My cats are loving, attentive, and a couple of them follow me around like a dog. They talk to me, and I talk to them so they feel loved and reassured. Cats need to be held and nurtured. My cats get a lot of outdoor exercise in the garden so they eat well. I once knew a lady who took her indoor cats out for a walk in their harness and leash !! Cats Are Great !! They just need quiet and down time and have to be trained to travel in a car. But I think that they are the safest at home.

Mac Miller

Cat care is really very necessary to keep your cat out of trouble. Cat owners should be careful of the health of their cats and must consult with Vets whenever any disturbances happen in cat's health. Thanks for sharing this article. Pet care is a pretty good job and pets are really nice to have. You must know <a href="http://www.slideshare.net/arbolesanimalclinic/how-to-keep-your-cat-out-o... To Keep Your Cat Out Of Trouble</a> to give her a healthy life.

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