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A media bias towards dogs (and against cats)?

post #1 of 22
Thread Starter 
Last night, our local news ran a story about how our Humane Society is overcrowded with animals and is turning animals away. It was one of those stories designed to urge the public to come and adopt the animals that they show before they are euthanized.
They mentioned at the beginning of the story that they had hundreds of "dogs, puppies, cats, and kittens." The entire story lasted about 4 minutes and they showed tons of the dogs up for adoption- but not one single cat. It honestly made me upset that 100% of the focus of the story seemed to be on all of the dogs and failed to show even a glimpse of the enormous amount of cats that are available for adoption (this happens to be the place I adopted Cosette from).

Also, our newspaper features a pet for adoption each Friday. I have YET to see a cat or kitten offered- it's always a dog!

Being a cat fanatic, I am sad to see what appears to be a media bias towards dogs here in Savannah. Has anyone else noticed this in their communities?
post #2 of 22
I feel like this could be legitimate...around here, though, I see it much more in marketing. When stores, events, etc. talk about "pets" they are referring to a dog 99% of the time. In most "Pet Boutiques" around here, 70% or more, I would say, of the offerings are geared towards dogs and their owners, rather than cats and their owners. ANy kind of "pet party" or "pat parade" usually only gives an owner the opportunity to bring their dogs out. I can almost guarantedd that my fearless, leash-trained, fetch-playing, car-ride-loving little Leo would be great in a pet parade...he's less afraid of dgos than I am (and successfully, in about 10 minutes, let Ian's german shepherd know who was boss when I had to leave him with Ian for a few days). Also, being as how I'm not exactly 100% easy-going around dogs yet (I'm getting better, having been dating a dog-lover for 2 years...I even took a dog on my first walk not too long ago!) I feel sort of left out. We as cat parents and lovers are no less than dog parents and lovers! In fact, those of us that work in, support, or have adopted from rescue organizations for kitties (or do the rescuing ourselves!) are doing just as much to help animals as any dog lover out there! We deserve our own pet parties (even if we leave our shy kitties at home ) and cat goodies! And our fuzzballs CERTAINLY deserve teh same kind of attention as the puppies.

Here, it might not be as bad, though. The rescues catering exclusively to cats FAR outnumbers the total amount of shelters that service dogs. It has a lot to do with cats adjusting to apartment living far better than dogs, I think.
post #3 of 22
I agree with the marketing aspect of that absolutely. I hate going to the pet store (pretty much any of them), bc you get 20 aisles of dog related stuff and about 3 or 4 cat of cat stuff. There are some pet supply stores around here that have more small animal (hamsters, ferrets, etc) stuff than they do cat stuff.
As far as media a lot of the local tv stations will go visit a shelter or rescue on ocassion and it's very rare to see kittens or cats on the tv screen, it's pretty much almost always puppies or dogs.
post #4 of 22
OH yeah, there's a bias alright!

Lots of people think puppies are so much better than kittens. I've heard all the reasons for people being "dog people vs. cat people".

And, on the Reigning Cats & Dogs program on Channel 12 every morning... they show the puppies 80% more than the little kittens.

People say cats look evil, they're too independent (as if that is a BAD THING ... ugh) and they don't work for your affection. I say it's a bunch of horsecrud and I wish the bias would stop.
post #5 of 22
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by darkeyedgirl
I say it's a bunch of horsecrud and I wish the bias would stop.
Very well-said! You're right- so many people just don't "get" cats, which I think accounts for so much of the bias. It's sad but definitely they're loss because they are missing out on bonding with the most magnificent creatures in the world .
post #6 of 22
Yes I agree, and if I remember my statistic correctly, there are WAY more cats as pets than dogs in the American family.
But have to say, i have 1 cat and 2 dogs.
post #7 of 22
Well, cats are generally regarded as omens of bad luck, witches familiars, aloof and sometimes plain old nasty..Remember the meezers in The Lady and the Tramp?
After that movie, I really can tell you that I thought all cats planned to kill babies.

Dogs are silly, goofy bundles of loyalty (this is how they are perceived mind you)

Also, when you look at simple population stats. and stereotypes.

You often hear of the old "cat lady" spinster with her 700 cats but never a man.
Its not even considered manly to own a cat, so right there, the stigma is kept alive and well by a good percentage of 50% of the population.
post #8 of 22
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Loveysmummy
Remember the meezers in The Lady and the Tramp?
After that movie, I really can tell you that I thought all cats planned to kill babies.
LOL, I loved cats (esp. Siamese) even more after watching that movie! I always loved the idea that cats could be really diabolical if they wanted to be
post #9 of 22
There is a biased. I grew up in a dog loving household. and I love dogs..but I love all animals. and yes our cats outnumber our dogs here hehehe....14 to 2..lol

That being said I think in my area at least...our shelter actually does focus more on the cats..they are up front right away and they often have tv shows done on them. because they are harder to move than the dogs...yes most familys want a "slobbery loyal goof ball"

A comedian did a bit...i recall once about how an owner can sit and tell a cat "Sit...stay..run...jump...shake..fetch" and the cat will stare at them like "What do you want me to do about it?" and right next to them..the dog is doing every command..
post #10 of 22
I agree that there's a bias. Like others have said, when they show animals up for adoption they spend way more time showing the dogs. All the pet food stores in Cincinnati have 3 times more things for dogs than for cats. When free samples are offered it is always for dogs.

Since they make both dog and cat food, why are they called Royal Canin and not Royal Felin?
post #11 of 22
Awwww I agree with you but in Asheville (how I miss that place!) the news does an adoption thingy every week adn they do show both cats and dogs, thankfully. And also they showed the no kill cat only shelter where I adopted Kahu from - Catman - he has a house in which the cats live, which is like a real house, probably to get them accustomed to a normal house environment - and the authorities wanted to shut it down!!!! Because of the risk of disease so he had ot make some changes to it. Its still operating, thankfully, he gave me a discount because Kauh had not been neutered yet because he had been sick, but I opted to pay the full adoption fee because I wanted to support him. He is such a lovely kind old man! Opps sorry I went off track!
post #12 of 22
Part of the issue is that it is truly easier to place dogs than cats....and it's based on numbers. There are more cats than dogs in homes....but there are also an abundance of "free" cats and kittens which compete for homes...whether it is the stray that wonders to someone's house pregnant or the person who simply forgot to spay their cat....there are simply too many cats. That is why there are currently lots of dog transports...but very few cat transports..no state has a lack for moggies. Oftentimes the saying is true...people value what is rare over what is common.

Katie
post #13 of 22
I saw a story where the last thing they showed were 2 very unhappy looking dogs, but they showed mostly cats and kittens. Maybe the crew could only get access to the dogs, or maybe the cats were sleeping. I think if you see an animal showing interest in the camrea/person you would be more likly to buy/ visit the shelter.
post #14 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by darkeyedgirl
Lots of people think puppies are so much better than kittens. I've heard all the reasons for people being "dog people vs. cat people".

People say cats look evil, they're too independent (as if that is a BAD THING ... ugh) and they don't work for your affection. I say it's a bunch of horsecrud and I wish the bias would stop.
We had a dog for 10 years and my cats act the same way. They greet me at the door and beg for food just like Pebbles. Some people want an animal that will do what they want like fetch or soemthing like that. You can teach a cat that stuff but they will answer when they want, but my dog did the same thing. So personally the only differnces I see in cats and dogs is the speices.
post #15 of 22
I honestly don't know if there is a bias in my area but, when it comes to TV Cats are FAR more likely to be freaked out than dogs. It's bright, and noisy, and there are lots of strange people, showing a cat sitting in a cage isn't really the image most rescues want to project, but holding a freaked out cat is a Bad Idea and won't really help get it adopted out.

Dogs, in general, tend to do better in such situations.
post #16 of 22
Good point sara, I have noticed that on pet star on animal planet there is 80% dogs, and like 2% cats. Cats who are on there get really freaked out and do not do as well.
What about ads on tv? The puppies are on all kinds of commercials, hoovers, cleaning products, everything. Cats are on cat food commercials. that is it. Even the petsmart commercial is mostly about dogs.
Which is another thing! Half the store is for dogs. A quarter of the store is for cats. In whose mind is that fair? one side of a short lane is for cats scratchers, yet dogs get both sides of an entire long lane for dog treats! This might be a blessing in disguise though. I go in there and spend $80 every time anyway, if I had more to choose from it would be even worse!
post #17 of 22
Interesting question and while the scientist in me says it is an issue that is best responded to with solid research - study the newspapers, marketing to ascertain whether this hypothesis is accurate. On a purely subjective level, I think it all depends on the locale. Here, our newspaper tends to alternate between cats and dogs in its Pet of the Week feature so using that, I could never say there is a bias. I DO see more articles about puppy mills though than kitten mills - haven't researched it of course but I'd bet money on it, <g> And many newspaper stories tend to be about bad dg breeders. It may be that the local newspaper's coverage zone has more dog breeders, I don;t know, I am sure there are many byb cat breeders too tho, sigh!! I did do a search on the Yahoo News and it was about half and half.

I have to say that when I was the mommy of a bunny, I really felt rabbits were discriminated against. Try to find a vet who specializes in rabbits!! And while pet stores and even the WalMarts of the world had entire aisles for dogs and cats, one was hard pressed to find the rabbit food. I used to be sooooo frustrated!! Now, of course, my bunny is at the bridge and I find all sorts of rabbit stuff and have to look for cat things, lol Plus ca change, as they say.
post #18 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by Roxy_loves_CJ
Good point sara, I have noticed that on pet star on animal planet there is 80% dogs, and like 2% cats. Cats who are on there get really freaked out and do not do as well.
What about ads on tv? The puppies are on all kinds of commercials, hoovers, cleaning products, everything. Cats are on cat food commercials. that is it. Even the petsmart commercial is mostly about dogs.
Which is another thing! Half the store is for dogs. A quarter of the store is for cats. In whose mind is that fair? one side of a short lane is for cats scratchers, yet dogs get both sides of an entire long lane for dog treats! This might be a blessing in disguise though. I go in there and spend $80 every time anyway, if I had more to choose from it would be even worse!
That is not fair and doesn't even makes sense. I imagine there are more homes with cats than there are with dogs. Then why don't cats have at least as much space as dogs dedicated to them? It doesn't even make sense.
post #19 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by CyberKitten
Interesting question and while the scientist in me says it is an issue that is best responded to with solid research - study the newspapers, marketing to ascertain whether this hypothesis is accurate. On a purely subjective level, I think it all depends on the locale. Here, our newspaper tends to alternate between cats and dogs in its Pet of the Week feature so using that, I could never say there is a bias. I DO see more articles about puppy mills though than kitten mills - haven't researched it of course but I'd bet money on it, <g> And many newspaper stories tend to be about bad dg breeders. It may be that the local newspaper's coverage zone has more dog breeders, I don;t know, I am sure there are many byb cat breeders too tho, sigh!! I did do a search on the Yahoo News and it was about half and half.

I have to say that when I was the mommy of a bunny, I really felt rabbits were discriminated against. Try to find a vet who specializes in rabbits!! And while pet stores and even the WalMarts of the world had entire aisles for dogs and cats, one was hard pressed to find the rabbit food. I used to be sooooo frustrated!! Now, of course, my bunny is at the bridge and I find all sorts of rabbit stuff and have to look for cat things, lol Plus ca change, as they say.

I agree about the bunny thing. I could only find the kind of food i wanted to feed my bunny bless her in one store..ONE...
post #20 of 22
According to the AVMA Pet Ownership Statistics, 2002 http://www.avma.org/membshp/marketstats/sourcebook.asp

Quote:
Did you know?

* There are more than 60 million pet dogs in the U.S. and nearly 70 million pet cats.
* The average dog visits its veterinarian almost twice as many times as the average cat or horse.
* Birds represented 2 million visits to veterinarians in 2001.
* Dog owning households spent almost 38 percent more in 2001 as they did in 1996.
I can't quote a source, but I do recall seeing that dog owners spend a great deal more, on average, than cat owners. So there is more $$$$ available from dog owners in general, which does explain Petsmart.

Now think about this...there are only 10 million more pet cats than dogs. How many people have more than one cat? How many have more than one dog? I would guess that there are actually far less households that have cats than dogs overall, but it is catching up.

But I do think Sara has a good point. Cats don't do as well with bright lights and lots of people running around. I know my cats don't even do well when one new person comes over!
post #21 of 22
it always drives me nuts when I go to a pet boutique or a pet bakery and they have no cat stuff.. why not just call it a dog boutique or something?
post #22 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by valanhb
According to the AVMA Pet Ownership Statistics, 2002 http://www.avma.org/membshp/marketstats/sourcebook.asp



I can't quote a source, but I do recall seeing that dog owners spend a great deal more, on average, than cat owners. So there is more $$$$ available from dog owners in general, which does explain Petsmart.

Now think about this...there are only 10 million more pet cats than dogs. How many people have more than one cat? How many have more than one dog? I would guess that there are actually far less households that have cats than dogs overall, but it is catching up.

But I do think Sara has a good point. Cats don't do as well with bright lights and lots of people running around. I know my cats don't even do well when one new person comes over!
I think dog owners spend more because there are more things to spend money on. When you don't have many choices, you are not going to buy anything.
There are more cats than dogs, I am pretty sure of it, so it only stand to reason cat owners should have at least as much choice as dog owners.
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