Let me preface this by saying that I am NOT "a cat lady" -- I'm a cranky old bastard who has owned many dogs and cats over the numerous decades I've walked this earth. I'm probably the LAST person that anyone would think of as the classic "cat lover."
Clearly a study by cat worshippers.
Cats provoke allergies in me like no other animal. And unfortunately few have any desirable redeeming qualities.
I think the cat spittle from washing themselves is a part of the problem. That tongues been LOTS of other places.
That said, I have a house full of cats -- mainly "throwaways" and "drop-offs" that were abandoned by my farm, and I took in, out of pity. Hard to say "no" to a starving kitten that's scratching by the glass door in below zero weather, pleading for some shelter and something to eat -- a kitten that will die a miserable death if I do not open that door -- while I stand there warm and well-fed.
Now, THAT said, some observations: MY dogs -- perhaps not representative of ALL dogs -- would have given PIGS a bad name, had they been born with pug snouts and short curly tails and dumped into a pigpen.
My first realization of just how, um, "unique" their tastes ran was about a week after I'd killed, cleaned, and cooked a snapping turtle.
Snapping turtle, for those who have never tasted it, is -- properly prepared (parboiled, peeled, gutted, cleaned, then cut up into sections, boiled, and THEN breaded and deep-fried) is absolutely delicious. A true delicacy. Does it "taste like chicken"? Hell no! More like LOBSTER if you ask me.
Well, anyway, about a week after I'd cooked that turtle -- having taken the guts, scales (each shell section has one huge scale), head, and so forth far from my home, and buried it, my dog came into the house, and the aroma was deadly.
The dog was in absolute... gee, I almost said "hog heaven" but the stench would have sent hogs fleeing, screaming into the woods.
You have not smelled "disgusting" until you've smelled week-old fully ripened turtle guts, which, having rotted to that state, have then been ROLLED in by your dog, who made sure to really work at rolling in them, to ensure that his fur absorbed as much of that aromatic canine goodness as possible.
He then came inside to share the blessing.
It was beyond the "bad enough to peel the paint off the walls" level. Words cannot express HOW vile that stench was. (A can of "Fresh Skunk Aroma" air freshener might have been an improvement. Literally!)
I have since then learned that dogs -- well, MY dogs, at least, have a predilection for rolling in stuff that stinks to high heaven. And let's not even think about how they love diaper baskets -- at least when they're filled with "loaded" diapers. Nothing is as tasty as a goopy pantload, if you're a dog.
That is, noting is that tasty except for ONE thing -- the "candy" that the cats leave in the litterbox.
My cats, on the other hand, are pretty fastidious about what they'll eat, and they won't even THINK about rolling in carrion or feces.
And yes, they DO lick their own butts -- like pretty much ALL animals. So, if you refuse to let your cat lick you, because of "where his tongue has been" -- well, try to think of where your DOG'S tongue has been before you let HIM lick you.
And then there was the time when I was laying in bed, "sick like a dog" with the flu, pretty much SO sick that I was unable to move. My dog walked up to me and stopped, looking me right in the face. She had a certain look (dogs CAN show different emotions -- if you doubt it, wait until your dog keeps a stranger in his position by going nose to nose, with his ears pinned back and his fang bared, letting out a low rumble in the stranger's face).
She gave me that look for about fifteen seconds, while I laid there, feeling like death warmed over, wondering what the heck was going on.
And then, my dog decided that yup, I was indeed in VERY rough shape, and thus, she decided to help me. So, she puked in my face.
If I was a puppy, unable to move, that would have been my pre-digested, easy to eat meal.
But, I wasn't a puppy.
My cats have never tried to help me when I'm sick by barfing in my face. But, they CAN tell when I'm sick, and they'll huddle up next to me to keep me warm. I've seen them do the same thing for other cats that were sick. One of our favorite cats, during her last days, when nothing the vet did was able to help her, would ALWAYS have two cats sitting right next to her, one on each side. They took turns, even one normally very timid guy who NEVER snuggles up with ANY other cat (he's a "people cat" rather than a "cat cat"). During her final days on earth, he took his turn cuddling next to her to comfort her and keep her warm, while another cat would take up station on her other side.
In some ways, they show a lot more humanity than most humans, if you ask me.
BTW, my cats and dogs have gotten along quite nicely with each other, too. That whole "fight like cats and dogs" thing must apply only to really maladjusted (or mistreated/abused) pets.
My cats are every bit as loyal and friendly as any of my dogs have ever been. Yeah, cats will SEEM to be standoffish, UNTIL they know that they can trust you. They're not stupid. Once they determine that you're NOT a threat to them, they'll warm right up to you, come over to be pet, play with you (and NOT "just to get you to feed them" -- a happy cat will ignore a full bowl of food so that he can play with you, or just sit by you -- on your lap, or next to you on a chair, or just on the floor by your feet).
They are initially wary, and for good reason. One of my cats is semi-neurotic -- terrified of most children (he will run and hide if possible, or, if cornered, growl and hiss and try to scare them) -- but he's a total fool for grown-up people (purrs, rubs against your hand o get you to pet his head, etc.) All I can figure is that some SOB kids had abused him before we rescued him from under our car, half-starved and terrified.
It bugs me how cats get the shitty end of the stick so much -- how normally decent people will treat them, and how often they're abused (and how "acceptable" it's become TO abuse them).
As to allergies, there's no figuring. I'm allergic to so many things that it's pointless to try to keep track of them (my allergist visits began with most of the grid of "pricks" on my back being inflamed, and ENDED when an allergy shot nearly killed me (literally), AFTER having waited for the required time in their office after the shot, and then hitting me, hard, while driving home (nearly an hour drive, and the office closed after I'd left). After that, I stopped with the allergy shots. It was just too damn scary going through that.
Growing up, spring through fall was "nasal hell" due to nonstop INTENSE hayfever (a real bitch for someone who loves the outdoors, hunting, fishing, picking berries, etc.)
Yet, I am NOT allergic to cats!