This article originally appeared on VICE India
Not only are cats worshipped at the altar of memes, but even historically they have been believed to possess divine qualities and worshipped by communities across the world. So, a new study published in the Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion that says atheists are more likely to keep cats as pets because of their ‘godlike’ image kinda makes a lot of sense.
Research conducted at the University of Oklahoma found that religious churchgoers who worship more than once a week own 1.4 cats on average, while non-religious folk have an average of two. The study conducted by researcher Samuel Perry that surveyed 2,000 people concluded that the average person often tried to substitute the same thing they seek from religion with pets. “We own pets because we love their company and the special interaction they provide for us. In some ways, pets are actually substitutes for human interaction,” Perry told The Times. He pointed out that people who dutifully follow a religion end up getting adequate social interaction and are less likely to want a feline pet.
He also stressed upon the fact that cats could inspire servitude due to their tendency to be loved on their own terms, which often makes the pet owner desperately try to chase this hard-to-get affection. He compared this attitude to that of dogs, who conversely believe their owner is a godlike creature, while cats continue to view themselves as the ones on top. Therefore, the study concludes that due to the lack of any religious symbol to look up to, atheists subconsciously devote their time to caring for cats.
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