If you hate cats, you're not alone — and there's a real reason why
So you hate cats. That's cool. Well, sort of, because unfortunately for you, the 21st century is the century of the cat, and by now we all know that Internet users especially just can't keep their admiration in check.
The world wide web is a sea of cat listicles, videos and GIFs. Cat videos rake in millions and millions of views, and a handful of websites devote a huge portion of their resources to cat-mania, not to mention the many cat celebrities who prowl our midst — Grumpy Cat, Colonel Meow and Keyboard Cat, to name a few. For the cat haters among us, every day online is a landmine of cat content and a continuation of those feelings of increased isolation. You may feel alien, oh cat hater, but there are historic and scientific reasons for your disinterest in all things feline. Just like for all those cilantro haters out there, sometimes there are reasons beyond your control for hating something everyone else seems to love.
Studies show that some people have a psychological disposition towards cats. According to studies on cat and dog owners, cat owners are psychologically different than their canine-loving brethren.
The study only identifies dog lovers vs. cat lovers (no haters here) so let's, for the sake of argument, assume that a dog lover equals a cat hater. According to the research, "dog people were generally about 15% more extroverted and 13% more agreeable," figures that point to slight differences in personality, giving the cat haters the more outgoing personality. It further distinguishes between the types of people: "Dog people were 11% more conscientious than cat people. Conscientiousness involves is a tendency to show self-discipline, to complete tasks and aim for achievement. The trait shows a preference for planned rather than spontaneous behavior." Cat haters, does that sound like you?
It’s also worth noting that for all their historic and present day adoration, cats are more likely to cause allergic reactions — a strong reason (based upon survival) why many people don't like them. Cats' tendency to lick their fur or skin spreads allergens at a faster rate than any dog could, which is pretty gross and proves that scientifically, cats are just harder for some people to be around. If when you watch a video of an "adorable" self-grooming cat and all you see is dander and fur, your body might be telling you something.
Turning toward cats in history, most of us know about historic cat mania. The ancient Egyptians engaged in their own brand of cat virality, with some scholars believing that cats in that society were considered demi-gods — many on the Internet today would likely agree with that cat status. When we fast forward to medieval Europe, cat haters, you are in better company. The medieval Europeans had a real problem with cats, which some believe led to the proliferation of the plague across the continent (disproven, sadly, but still a little historical support).
Of course, if history and psychology aren't reason enough for understanding your cat aversion, we can also turn to soft-heartedness. It might just be that you, unlike the hordes deceived by the cat's cute exterior, are aware of the ecological terror that is the feline race. The British Mammal Society estimates cats kill more than 250 million creatures per year on the sceptered isle including a huge portion of the robin population. A study by the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute found that the cats in the U.S. have killed up to 25 billion small mammals and birds per year. Billion.
Cats have long been titled "major predators" in some environmental studies: Churcher and Lawton found in 1987 that cats are a major danger to the sparrow population. Although several studies have also said cats are pretty cool for killing off threats like rats, some of the largest and most dangerous rat species, like the rattus norvegicus (not even making it up), are ignored by cats due to their size. Cats have, in fact, caused the extinction of entire species of birds. Ever wanted to see a wren on Stephens Island? Well you can’t. Because a lighthouse keeper’s cat killed all of them.
Outgoingness, allergies, a medieval spirit, knowing the true menacing nature of these cute-faced killers — these are all reasons why you might be a member of the cat-hater club and they are all equally valid. We are the few who are not convinced by the millions of videos or our friends' cat-focused Instagrams. We know the truth behind their big eyes and fluffy fur. And we will never bow down to their Internet prowess.
Time to go watch a cute dog video.