Very thoughtful that you warned him Melinda. :)
I usually take a Darwinian position on this stuff. Let’s look at the question from a naturalistic perspective.
Ever notice that many of history’s rebels and introspective leaders were cat lovers? Lenin, Napoleon, even Che Guevara. That’s because felines are usually solo hunters, stealthy and sneaky. Canines on the other hand are pack hunters. So they have to know how to get along in the social group, learn the pecking order and follow commands.
So whether you’re a dog or cat person says a lot about your personality. My old Dalmatian, Maximillion Spots, would practically start crying when we had to leave him alone in the big house. But a cat, when you leave it alone couldn’t give a damn.
In sum, if you’re a “people person” you tend to be a dog person. But if you an independent, introspective type, you tend to be cat person. Fun question.
I'm a cat person - and that explains my personality very well. Thank you Richard. Very insightful!
Oh I love that booklover!
correction, cats do those behaviours plenty... well not the panting part!
I love those pics James!
People, cats aren't freethinkers; they're not thinkers. They're generally more independent than dogs purely through an accident of evolution.
Some here have been describing dogs as "codependent" (hey, the '80s called and they want their pop psychology back) but what you might want to think about is the likelihood that humans and dogs have co-evolved. We have quite clearly affected their evolution and they've been with us long enough that it seems somewhat reasonable to think that they've also affected our evolution.
I've had cats and I've loved them dearly. I've had fewer dogs but I've found them to be better companions. If you prefer to take it easy and to not be required to do much about the relationship between you and your animal companion, then a cat is probably better for you. Or maybe a goldfish.
My dog needs to be taken for regular walks and runs; a cat has no such requirement. Consequently, I'm in much better physical condition with a dog than without one. My dog loves to run beside me as I peddle my mountain bike through trails in the forest and it's a great feeling for me when she's running beside me on a straight stretch -- not behind, not in front, but by my side.
In contradiction of the caricatures presented by some cat advocates, most dogs are not selfless, slobbering slaves (they're not all Golden Retrievers -- some are Pugs, German Shepherds, and so on). They have their independent needs and desires. However, they also have loyalty and social instincts and they balance those two aspects of themselves, largely in accordance with the knowledge and wisdom of their humans.
Cats have dignity? Can you say "anthropomorphism"? I knew you could!
Just to be clear... none of our dogs are the result of "evolution"! They are the result of intense intentional genetic manipulation by its masters, 2-3000 y/a for utility, for the past 200 for pure esthetics.
It's an interesting conclusion that humans have put less effort into manipulating cat nature vs dog nature. Humans who've manipulated dogs have been more manipulative, humans who've bred cats have been more respectful of cat nature.
Re: need for affection... I recently housesat an elderly cat for 2 weeks. Upon the owners' return they felt he was years younger... why do you think? Because they were no longer giving him AFFECTION... since they'd bred a newborn human baby, and dropped off on their kitty affection. Our cats need our love just as much as our dogs, they simply express their discontent in a different way, through depression, reduced grooming, gifts... The need for affection can be discreet, or demanding and slobbery... and barkey... guess I needed to include those idiot mini dog breeds who require very talented humans to have any decency of a life at all!
Genetically speaking, what humans have done to dogs is pretty sad.
Oh, it's definitely evolution. It's not by means of natural selection but it is "change across successive generations in the inherited characteristics of biological populations". By definition, it's evolution.
That breeders have developed far greater variety in dogs than in cats is simply because it's much easier to do this with dogs than with cats because of the way their genes are expressed and regulated. I doubt that it's got anything to do with respect.
You entirely forgot to read the rest of the Wikipedia page! Evolution is not defined by a single sentence! sigh.
Now scroll down a little on that page and read the mechanisms... You will find that humans messing with life is not one of evolution's mechanisms. Evolution is a long term natural process. Now take Homo sapiens sapiens for example, we have not really evolved in the past 60,000 years. About 5000 y/a a few northern Europeans developed the ability to digest milk past infancy. But other than that we aren't evolving, since we no longer have any selective pressures affecting our survival since some people's sense of morality says H.sapiens life is so precious, and more precious than all else, that every single individual, no matter how unfit, MUST live.
Maybe if climate change causes a catastrophic germ upsurge, maybe then H.sapiens will evolve under a changed environment.
Just keeping the science of biology real...