It’s time for a “cattitude” adjustment: PetSmart Charities™ survey reveals changing feelings about cats and cat people
Goodbye, crazy cat lady. Hello, cool cat parent. A new survey released earlier this week by PetSmart Charities™ reveals that while the gap in the way we perceive cats and dogs remains huge, most people think that negative stereotypes about cats and cat people are wrong and that changing these stereotypes will help more cats get adopted.
PetSmart Charities commissioned the nationwide survey of more than 1,000 Americans in February to learn whether or not cats’ popularity in Internet videos and memes is actually benefiting them in real life — especially homeless cats who face an uncertain future in shelters.
The “truth” about cats and dogs
A majority of respondents said cats are intelligent, loving, cuddly and attractive, but negative stereotypes like “moody,” “stubborn,” “aloof” and “grouchy” also sprung to mind. Fewer than half thought cats were protective, loyal, or friendly.
Meanwhile, most respondents described dogs as friendly, loyal, protective and loving.
The survey also showed that negative stereotypes affect perceptions of cat owners and cat lovers. Most pervasive is the “cat lady” — nearly half (49 percent) of survey participants still buy into this stereotype.
Change is in the air for cats (and their owners)
It’s not all bad news for cats, though. Over half of respondents said the negative stereotypes about cats are untrue (56 percent), and nearly three-quarters said stigmas about cat owners are outdated (71 percent). Almost two-thirds believe too many people have negative impressions of cat owners.
Additionally, consider the following statistics:
Cat lovers can help cats the most
For cat lovers who think twice about posting that selfie with their cat, the survey shows they should share it. Respondents said friends and family who have cats are their most common sources of information about cats (74 percent), followed by their past (66 percent) or current (54 percent) experience having a cat. However, only one-third of cat owners are sharing about their cats on social media. Cat lovers can combat the stereotypes and boost people’s perceptions of cats and their owners by spreading the word about their awesome cats.
“Our survey shows that America is ready for a major ‘cattitude’ adjustment. It’s time to end the stereotypes around cats and cat people to help more cats get adopted,” said Jan Wilkins, executive director, PetSmart Charities. “That starts with cat owners proudly sharing how cats make wonderful pets and enrich our lives.”
PetSmart Charities wants to know what makes your adopted cat an incredible pet and asks cat lovers to tell them on Twitter by following PetSmart Charities (@PetSmartChariTs) and by using the hashtag #savecats.
For more on the survey, see the PetSmart Charities blog post from March 13 that offers some of the initial findings: What Does the Public Think About Cats and Cat People?