Open Letter to Dog People
Dear Dog People,
If there’s any competition most people think of being as fierce as Tea vs. Coffee, it is Cats vs. Dogs. But unlike that first competition, where both sides vehemently hate each other, there’s a strange complexity in people’s preferred pet.
People think that you are either a Dog Person or a Cat Person, and will often ask which one you are as a kind of icebreaker. The stereotypes are numerous. Dog People are extroverts; Cat People are introverts. Dog people are athletic; Cat People sit around all day. Dog People are lovable and will have great lives, while Cat People are doomed to die alone as Crazy Cat Ladies.
See a trend yet? Society says that being a Dog Person means you are associated with positive traits while being a Cat Person means being associated with negative traits.
As with any stereotypes, these are clearly ridiculous, and most people understand that. They are harmful in the associations they make, but there’s a specific issue I’ve noticed connected to this identifier that is far worse.
I am a self described Cat Person. But I still love dogs. I just don’t want to have one for myself. This is pretty common in my experience with other Cat People, but this is totally different from most Dog People. Very often, I see Dog People feeling very secure about loudly and boldly saying that they hate cats. And often, any person who tries to defend cats in this moment is argued with until they shut up. Obviously not all Dog People hate cats, but it’s the security in saying that in public that interests me.
Let’s say, hypothetically, that 90% of Cat People are ok with dogs and 90% of Dog People are ok with cats. The 10% of Cat People who hate dogs almost never say that in public. It’s almost unheard of, and the few times I have heard someone say that they hate dogs have been met with extreme pushback. The 10% of Dog People who hate cats on the other hand, feel very comfortable saying that they hate cats, and no one calls them out on that! Now I think they have every right to dislike cats. I think most people, including Cat People, understand why someone would dislike cats. It’s the fact that so many people think that people DON’T have the right to dislike dogs.
I think this shows a level of oppression that is disproportionate to the situation. People clearly wrap a decent chunk of their identity with their preferred pet, but this is insane. Cat People are clearly associated with negative attributes, and are encouraged to keep their mouths shut about their opinions or risk getting some serious hate, while simultaneously allowing some Dog People to bash their pets without rebuke. This is really not ok.
Just step back from the situation for a moment, if you please. I never want to step on someone’s identity, but if your identity as a Dog Person leads you to stamp on my identity as a Cat Person, then you sir, are an asshole.
A Cat Person who likes Dogs