The famous critic and atheist Christopher Hitchens said that if you treat a dog well, it will think you're God, and if you treat a cat well, it will think that it's a god.
According to a recent study of 2,000 Americans, most cat owners would probably agree with the cat's sentiment. Based on their analysis of pet ownership statistics and religious affiliation data, social scientists Ryan Burge and Samuel Perry came to the conclusion that people who attend religious services are much less likely to own cats than those who don't.
On average, churchgoers have 1.4 pets at home, compared with the two furry friends kept by non-attendees. Perry suggested that cat lovers might be substituting their pet for religion.
"They want to interact with you but it's always on their terms and it's always about them," he said. "We want to always win their affections, and it bothers us when we think they might be somehow displeased with us." Perry also said that people with strong social ties, such as those who attend church on a regular basis, might be less in need of the connection that others get from their pets.
Catching up with cat owners:
- A 2009 study found that cats have developed a unique sound that combines contentment and anxiousness and alerts their owner that they want to be fed.
- Approximately 32 percent of Americans have cats, and the typical cat owner has more than one.
- People who own cats are 11 percent more likely to be introverts, while dog owners are 15 percent more likely to be extroverts.