We have “owned”* pets since we were married, and that was a while ago…1960. My wife grew up with a Siamese cat named Buppa who ran their family household. As soon as we were married, she was lobbying for a cat. Her older sister and husband had a Burmese, but her husband developed an allergy to cats, so they gave us Tippy, a female. Tippy was our family cat for fifteen years. We were newly married, and our son was an infant. Tippy adopted him, curled around his head when he slept, and on one occasion, when Suzanne took him on a walk, attacked a big German Shepard that she perceived as a threat to him. She was about a quarter the size of that monster, but leaped on his back, and drove him off.
Dogs can be protective of their owners too, but I doubt if they would take on an antagonist four or five times their size to defend their family, as Tippy did. My experience with dogs is that they will bark like hell, but If you challenge them, they flee. I am sure many dog-lovers will disagree.
Cats are different from dogs. DUH! you say. Of course they are. Most cats I have observed seem to be concerned mainly with their immediate needs…like food. Dogs are also food-oriented, but they are much more subservient to their human hosts. They learn quickly what behavior is acceptable, and what Is not. Cats look you in the eye, and say, “More food! Now!”
Cats are not quick learners…or maybe they just have chosen not to conform to the wishes of their hosts…er…servants. Cats view humans as necessary acolytes to fulfill their needs. When I invite our cat to jump onto my lap in the evening, he looks at me, looks away, washes himself for awhile…and then, finally jumps on my lap. He wants me to know, I think, that he is not subservient, and not at my beck-and-call. He will favor me with his presence when he is damn well ready, and not until.
I have observed that generally, right-wingers prefer dogs, because they enjoy the adoration, similar to their adoration for their Big Daddy in the Sky. Dogs treat them as gods. The rest of us prefer cats, because they remind of us our own fallible humanity.
* I put “owned” in quotes, because, as you will see from this article, it is not clear whether we own cats…or they own us.