General Question

AstroChuck's avatar

Why is it that dogs and puppies are more closely associated with boys while cats and kittens are with girls?

Asked by AstroChuck (37461points) March 28th, 2010 from iPhone

I happen to have both a dog and three cats. But I consider myself more of a cat person than a dog person. And this preference for cats predates my career as a letter carrier so it’s not that. Could it be because men generally feel the need to dominate and, unlike cats, dogs are born followers?

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

26 Answers

Hexr's avatar

Possibly. Or that people stereotype cats as being more “passive” and small. Either way it’s probably some dumb gender stereotype

cazzie's avatar

I never saw this. I don’t think of dogs or cats being a particular gender’s pet, but there are cat people and dog people. I do not relate it in anyway as a gender type.

AstroChuck's avatar

@cazzie- Well, have you ever seen a kitten pattern adorn boy’s clothing?

rebbel's avatar

I guess it is more a case of you being an intelligent person.

rangerr's avatar

Because puppies wrestle around with little boys and run around in the mud with them.
Kitties cuddle with the girls while they hang out inside being clean and cute.
It’s how it’s always been.

Brian1946's avatar

Perhaps it’s because cats are usually smaller and sometimes perceived as being prettier than dogs.

tinyfaery's avatar

Because dogs are boys and cats are girls. How did you not know this? I honestly used to think this.

I’ve always wondered where the associations came from. Now I think it’s just advertising.

cazzie's avatar

My husband thought all poodles were girls when he was little. He remembers growing up with this thought and then the stupid feeling he had when he learned these dumb little yappy, clipped things were boys too. hahaha

AstroChuck's avatar

@cazzie- Wow. I stand corrected. But you’ve got to admit that’s not too common.

Trillian's avatar

Blame it all on Norman Rockwell.

msbauer's avatar

i can’t resist…

What are little boys made of?
Snips and snails, and puppy dogs tails
That’s what little boys are made of!


I know what you mean AstroChuck. But only Western society seems to do that. In other cultures (e.g., Asian cultures) dogs and cats have no gender class. It’s mostly culture specific.

My guess is that dogs have always been associated with hunting (they are pack animals), and because men were traditionally the hunters, dogs became associated with them instead of being at home with the women. Cats are more recent domesticated animals than dogs, and their role was always close to home and hence the women. Dogs are also loyal animals that take to a leader in the pack, and since men have traditionally ruled the household. they respond to their male masters, hence the connection. Thirdly, dogs are on the whole rough and tumble sort of creatures, desiring of physical activities, unlike cats. Because men engage in sports and outdoor physical activities more than women, dogs have always been their constant companions and playmates. Cats are creatures of comfort, and because in this society women are socialized by the media to seek comforts like fashion, jewelry, tending to the home, etc., they traditionally have associated with cats more. Cats also are “softer”, more graceful creatures than dogs, generally, stereotyped characteristics that are associated with the female sex. And it doesn’t help when Hollywood comes out with silly movies like “The Truth About Cats and Dogs”. Lol.

Personally, I love both dogs and cats, and have never associated either animal as more “male” or “female” based. I’ve owned both cats and dogs in my life, and some cats, (eg., tomcats are very masculine with their bold behaviors and square jowls), give some dogs a run for their money. Lol.

KatawaGrey's avatar

I agree with @Brian1946. I think it has something to do with size. Even a really small dog with some exceptions are bigger than most domestic cats. It’s assumed a little girl can’t handle something so big whereas a little boy might hurt something so little.


@KatawaGrey That’s another good point.

MacBean's avatar

I always thought it had to do with dogs being (or at least being seen as) over-excitable and stupid and needy, while cats are aloof and mysterious and bitchy.

Coloma's avatar

I don’t really see it, in my case as a gender issue.

I like both dogs & cats…but cats win hands down.

Not because of any gender or psychological issue, but because dogs are much more high maintainence than cats, they are noisier, sloppier, and more prone to diffecult behavioral issues. I’m just not down for dogs anymore, too much work and they usually turn out evil as I am pushover! lol

I love my cat!

DominicX's avatar

I remember as a young kid feeling like all the cool boys liked dogs and it seemed like the girls were the ones who liked cats. I’ve always been a cat person, ever since I was a little kid.

I just assumed the association was because dogs are seen as stronger and bigger and cats and smaller and wimpier, in the eyes of many people. That association of course carries over into stereotypes of the genders. That said, I find the whole thing stupid. It seems like we have to divide everything between two genders.

neverawake's avatar

I’m a huge cat person.

AstroChuck's avatar

@DominicX- My parents’ chihuahua is much wimpier than any of my cats. In fact two of my three cats aren’t afraid of anything.

ChocolateReigns's avatar

When I watched the movie Milo and Otis (I’m pretty sure those were the names?) at a friend’s house, it took her forever to convince me that the cat was the boy and the dog was the girl. It was just so wrong!

KatawaGrey's avatar

@ChocolateReigns: But they’re both boys. A chick did think Otis was his mommy though. :)

lfino's avatar

@tinyfaery, I used to think that too!

augustlan's avatar

@tinyfaery I still leap to that assumption, even though I’ve had several male cats! My step-son and his girlfriend have a female dog and a male cat, and I constantly use the wrong pronoun for them. Do you suppose I’ll ever grow up?

DominicX's avatar

@tinyfaery @augustlan

You know, that’s interesting because as a kid I had six stuffed cats that I slept with (I still have them) and aside from the two that were pre-named, I gave them all girls’ names. I think a lot of people associate cats with females. :\

Answer this question




to answer.

This question is in the General Section. Responses must be helpful and on-topic.

Your answer will be saved while you login or join.

Have a question? Ask Fluther!

What do you know more about?
Knowledge Networking @ Fluther