For millennia, dogs have scratched and pawed to defend their title as "man's best friend" against feline counterparts. Illinois State University weights in on the longstanding popularity battle between domesticated beasts.
Those hoping cats rule the campus are barking up the wrong tree. Out of 300 surveyed ISU students, 262 prefer dogs over cats.
Senior insurance major Allison Vollmer, owner of a labra-doodle named Lydia and a golden-doodle named Winston, explains why dogs win hearts.
"Dogs do not judge crabby attitudes, clothes or how anyone looks," Vollmer said. "They are so smart and they love to do tricks for you because their sole purpose in life is seemingly to please."
Coming home to her dogs' affection makes Vollmer's collegiate grind worthwhile. She is amazed by their intelligence and reciprocates their unconditional love.
"My dogs are my best friends and I’m not ashamed to admit that because they’re much cooler than any human I know," Vollmer said.
As people grow up it gets harder and harder thinking of what to give as a present whether it is for birthdays, special occasions and Christmas…
That said, numerous students think cats embody 'purrfection'. Junior biological sciences major Connor Fitzgerald, owner of Macy and Moo, two Devon Rex breeds, appreciates cats' independent tendencies.
"Cats they take care of their own business," Fitzgerald explains. “Most cat owners are able to just get up, travel and leave a large food and water bowl out, whereas dogs need interaction."
Fitzgerald feels that loud dogs are annoying. Junior family and consumer sciences education major Aly Winchester also prefers cats' subtleties.
"Getting affection from cats is sporadic, so it is more rewarding as an owner," Winchester said.
Business professor Alan Cring's feelings for felines are deeper. Attacked by a dog during childhood, Cring has had a bone to pick with dogs ever since.
"Cats fit my personality, are quite clean compared to dogs and, in particular, my cats actually like the food I make," Cring explains.
Cring owns three cats: siblings Manxes Gabriel and Matilda and Phinnaeus. The latter cat Cring adopted from a shelter.
Owner of Emergent Light Studios, he sometimes photographs his cats and has them present for exam grading. Cring jokes that Saturday is "Caturday"
Conversely, family and consumer sciences professor Pamela Morbitzer sometimes brings her dogs to class for relaxation.
At the ISU Childcare Center, she had toddlers prepare interview questions for dog owners. As groups researched, at the end of the project, they made a mural of the dogs they have at home and met. The pictures were more detailed than the paintings at the start of the project.
"The Dog Project was the most successful project I have ever implemented with 2-year-olds," Morbitzer notes.
Junior entrepreneurship and small business major Derek Wilson understands dogs' ability to capture hearts and attention. Furry friends accompany him to outdoor-seating restaurants.
"Chipotle and Meat Heads are both cool with dogs off Main Street," Wilson said. "There's a place by the mall [The Shoppes in College Hills] called Destihl that I have brought my dog to."
Whether one 'appawds' cats or dogs, the debate over which pet is superior forever rolls on.