Ancient Romans believed the warmth of dogs could cure stomachaches. In Medieval Britain, cats were burned and tortured because they were associated with witches and the devil.
Different civilizations have had altering opinions on whether or not they wanted to worship dogs for their guardianship and cats for their sacredness. Today, myths, beliefs and stereotypes still exist. In recent years, dogs have been known to help their owners by scaring away thieves while cats pay their dues by killing pests.
Because cats and dogs have differing personalities, these selectively bred pets can bring an array of annoyance, delight, humor and fright to those who they come in contact with.
Thane Boyce, a sophomore from Muncie, Ind., majoring in biology, spent the majority of his childhood playing with animals, taking care of them and working part-time during high school at his father’s vet clinic.
Boyce said he feels cats and dogs are portrayed as natural enemies in the media, but he has found cats and dogs get along quite well with each other.
“You could say that some are even friends,” Boyce said. “A lot of the animals’ behavior depends on how they are raised and trained. If a cat and a dog grow up together in the same house, then for the most part they won’t fight unless it is to play around. It is when you get cats and dogs that aren’t usually around each other that they will fight, the dog almost always starting it.”
He thinks dogs are generally portrayed in the media as being man’s best friend and cats are more portrayed as royalty and we as humans are their servants.
Melissa Todd, an exercise science graduate, from Sterling, Va., said she believes cats are stereotypically lazy in movies, while dogs are more energetic.
“Cats are typically not seen as adventurous as dogs, such as Fat Louie on ‘Princess Diaries,'” Todd said. “Dogs are loyal sidekicks that will do anything for their masters, take Dug on ‘Up’ for instance.”
Todd said she can usually count on her friend’s cat to sit next to her, while her friend’s dog runs off and plays by himself.
Doug Bush, a sophomore from La Crescenta, Calif., majoring in business, has always had pets and thinks they are entertaining for different reasons.
“Dogs will love you more,” Bush said. “Cats are more fun to watch on YouTube. It’s usually funny to see what people do to cats, like scare them or something. Dogs just act the same no matter what.”
Bush said there are many examples of cats acting as the evil and dogs acting as the righteous.
“In the movie, ‘Cats and Dogs,’ dogs are the good guys, cats are the bad guys,” Bush said. “In ‘Homeward Bound’ the dogs are better, and the cat is a sassy mean thing. You have the wise dog, the fun dog and the mean, sassy cat.”
Usually, people have favorite breeds of dogs. Bush argues this is one piece of evidence showing people do not like cats as much as dogs.
“I’ve never even heard of multiple breeds of cats,” Bush said. “I’ve heard, yeah you know, that’s a black one, that’s an orange one. No one even cared enough to figure out different types of cats.”
He said he had never seen a cat help anyone and they usually don’t come when he calls them, but he said he gained a greater appreciation for cats on his mission because of experiences he had in the Philippines.
“Weirdest thing. In the Philippines, cats do come to you if you call them,” Bush said. “They listen. It’s almost backwards in the Philippines. Dogs are disgusting, their hair is falling off … they looked like they were charred. I do not know what happened to those diseased dogs.”
Although cats and dogs have many differences, Boyce said there is a divine reason for their creation.
“Both species can be extremely loyal, which makes them such great pets to people,” he said. “I personally believe that God made the dog and cat with these attributes so that they could be our animal companions through life. Just think of how dreary the world would be if people didn’t have pets.”