10 Wildly Wrong Animal Stereotypes

Cats Are Aloof
Anyone who's owned a cat knows they do love to be cuddled -- but on their terms. ehaurylik/iStock/Thinkstock

"Are you a cat person or a dog person?" We've all heard the question at some point. As the stereotype goes, cats are aloof, sneaky and independent, while dogs are social, loyal and energetic. But if you've ever owned cats, you know that their individual personalities can be as different as those of people.

According to the website of cat behavior consultant Pam Johnson-Bennett, cats aren't aloof; they're focused. If they don't respond immediately when you speak to them, it may just be that they are too engrossed in looking for potential prey, like the foot you're about to move underneath your blanket. Cats may show affection by sitting on you or next to you, rubbing against you, bumping their heads into you and licking you.

One 2013 study demonstrated that cats responded to their owners' voices by moving their heads and ears toward the sound, even if the owner was out of the cat's sight [source: Saito and Shinozuka]. The findings suggest that rather than being indifferent to humans, cats do indeed distinguish between their owners and unfamiliar people. Of course, this comes as no surprise to anyone whose cat has ever disappeared under a bed the moment guests arrive, only to come out of hiding and leap into a familiar lap looking for affection as soon as the coast is clear.