I’m incredibly disappointed in the internet right now. Let me tell you why, when I was in college we read about the psychology of the “Crazy Cat Lady” and some theories behind why (mostly) single women can find themselves growing old with a house full of cats.
The main study that seemed most reasonable to me was that the symmetry and rough location of the cats various facial features, nose, eyes, and mouth are all roughly in the same place you’d find them on the average human child.
So for women without kids, and even those who have children but the children have moved out, cats can become proxies to help satiate the genetic motivators that lead people to become parents in the first place. What I’ve found most interesting with the internet over the last few decades is just how quickly the feline has dominated it.
The vast majority of animal images I’m presented across the internet are cats. Sleeping, walking, prowling, yawning, or in the case of YouTube “talking”. But these images appeal to both genders, one would suspect that if it was only women (such as was suggested by the studies) that we’d see a dominance of women sharing the imagery. At least anecdotally I see an even distribution of people across both genders replicating and spreading these images across the net.
Now to clarify, the reason I’m upset with the internet is that for the life of me I can’t find the studies we researched. It’s borderline infuriating, if I search for anything with cats in the name I’m hit with arts and crafts, ICHC, or other totally unhelpful data. Perhaps I need to expand my search engine pool.
The theory is interesting however, while I’m going to bet the primary goal of domesticating cats was to have them around to kill things that would otherwise have a grand old time killing people (rats, snakes, and so on), I can’t help but wonder if the structure of their faces lead most people to produce the same hormones that they would when presented with an infant.
Basically I’m thinking that cats have become so widely adored because they push our genetic buttons. Don’t get me wrong though, I have no problem with things that excite dopamine release or hinder uptake. In this particular case I imagine a cat is much healthier than Heroine or Tobacco. Frankly as one of our kittens sleeps against my leg and I look at her snoozing face I’m certainly feeling pretty darn good.
So yeah, something to think about. Perhaps if you find the study work drop me a line, I’d like to add it to here.