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Perspective: Why are we arguing about cats and dogs?

Nana Amigo Canino and Andriyko Podilnyk
Unsplash and Pixabay

Evan Mellon was a student recently in Jason Akst's JRN 401 (Editorial and Opinion Writing) class at Northern Illinois University. For their final project, they wrote and recorded Perspectives for WNIJ.

I’ve always thought it was odd how fiercely partisan people can be about the species of their pet. For some, it's not enough to just like dogs or cats. Instead, they take the position of hating one and being intensely dedicated to the other -- as if the animals were sports teams or political parties. I’ve had so many debates with people over whether dogs or cats are better, and each time it devolves into one side accusing the other’s pet of being conniving or savage.


After all this time, I’ve begun wondering what it is about dogs and cats that divide people into teams. You don’t see people arguing about whether lizards are better than hamsters, or whether rabbits are more loyal than goldfish.


I think part of this is because cats and dogs are some of the most common pets while also being very different. The only things they really have in common are being domesticated… and looking very cute. Dogs are fiercely loyal and trusting, while cats are independent and their trust has to be earned.


But is the comparison even fair to begin with? Comparing cats to dogs is like comparing apples to oranges. They’re two completely different species, yet both cat-lovers and dog-lovers expect them to behave and operate in the same way. They see the other species as being less-than for not matching their personal preferences.


Having lived with both, I can confidently say that the rivalry that people throw these animals into is strange. My cat and dog treat each other like siblings and they get along very well. These two don’t seem to care about whether one of them is superior to the other… so why do we?


The fact that they’re so different is what makes both great. And while not everyone’s lifestyle or preference is going to be the right fit for both animals, this doesn’t mean we have to choose one to hate and one to respect. We can learn to appreciate what cats and dogs bring to the table.


Let’s stop pitting these two animals against each other, and instead acknowledge that the differences between them are what make them so special.


I’m Evan Mellon, and that’s my Perspective.