“Children in our study preferred dogs over cats in every comparison, and regardless of their familiarity with this species,” said study co-author Marta Borgi, of the Istituto Superiore di Sanita in Italy, reporting in the journal Human-Animal Interaction Bulletin.
The study examined 272 children, aged three to six, and showed them different images such as an adult dog and adult cat, a teddy bear and a dog, a human baby and a kitten, and so on.
Overall, the kids preferred dogs to cats. When comparing two images of cats, children tended to pick cats with baby-like features (big eyes and rounded, squishy faces) over those without, but the chances of choosing the latter increased with age.
Perhaps even kids can recognize that dogs are willing to listen to them while cats are more likely to boss them around. In any case, it shows that loving cats is more of a learned response that probably occurs as the cat wears down the resistance of the owner until the owner because less of a master and more of a caretaker and servant to the cat.