It seems whenever cats and dogs are paired together, the dog will almost always be male while the cat will almost always be female. The cat will be sassy, intelligent, but occasionally cruel. The dog will be crude but kind.
Often their owners will be the same sex as the animals. Ergo, women will be cat people and men will be dog people.
Even if they're not contrasted with another species of animal, strangers will tend to assume by default that dogs are male — especially large or intimidating breeds — and cats are female. So widespread is this trope that a common misconception among children is that all dogs are male, and that all cats are female.
This trope could be due to the way dog's bodies are shaped and the way cat's bodies are shaped. Dog's bodies have big chests and small bellies and they tend to look more muscular. Cats bodies have small chests and they look rounder and curvier.
Speaking of inversions with the owners; if a male character owns a cat, it's often a sign of shared personality, say eccentricity, or intelligence level (thus masculine/catlike) as in Garfield. If a woman owns a dog, it's often a sign of shared emotional bonds (thus feminine/doglike) as in Bolt. And Mister Muffykins is just about exclusively owned by a woman.
The cat in the trope could be of any species, but it's least likely going to be a lion. The dog in the trope is usually a domestic dog, but it could occasionally be a wolf.
An Animal Stereotype. See also Cat Girl and Gender Equals Breed. Often a case of Huge Guy, Tiny Girl. Subtrope of Species Equals Gender.
Examples and downplays:
1970s commercials for Purina Puppy Chow used the jingle, "Don't treat your puppy like a dog-dog-dog, feed him Puppy Chow," while Kitten Chow had, "Don't treat your kitten like a full grown cat, give her Kitten Chow."
The adverts for Animal Friends Pet Insurance feature a claymation female cat and male dog.
There's also a cel-animated PSA about taking care of your pets from the early 2000's. It's hosted by a male dog and a female cat.
Max and Molly, the mascots of 1-800-PET-MEDS.
Anime and Manga
Digimon Adventure has Yamato's partner Gabumon (a dinosaur in a wolf pelt whose evolutions are actual wolves), as well as Hikari's partner Gatomon (whose earlier stages follow a cat-dog-cat transition, in an odd play of the trope). Gatomon even needed to go through a Heel-Face Turn.
Magical Girl anime Hana no Ko Lunlun had Nubo and Cato, a male dog and a female cat respectively. Partially subverted, as they're not really a dog and a cat but two fairies from the Flower Star who have taken up animal forms: in reality Nubo is a Big Beautiful Man and Cato is a white-haired girl.
The Yu-Gi-Oh! TCG has Felice and Wulf within the Lightsworn archetype. Ferris has the same effect as Wulf, which is to summon themselves if they are sent to the Graveyard from the deck. Felice is a Cat Girl and Wulf is a Wolf Man.
The Licensed Game shows that they are the same species, with a form of Bizarre Sexual Dimorphism, by allowing you to recruit members of their race, with all the males as dogs and all the females as cats.
Bolt also has a Two Guys and a Girl version of this with Bolt and Mittens, but the second guy's a hamster named Rhino.
Cats and Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore: Predictable trope along with predictable plot — a dog (male) and a cat (female) [and a pigeon], put aside their differences and band together to save the world from evil.
Murder She Purred: A Mrs. Murthy Mystery is a Disney DVD whodunnit mystery told through the eyes of a corgi named Tucker and a cat named Mrs. Murthy.
What's especially odd about this example is that it is based on a book series in which Tucker is female. Yet the film corgi speaks in a male voice. And seems less intelligent and more obsessed with eating than her book counterpart (who might be as smart as the cat characters and is less obsessed with eating than Pewter, another cat character). Hmmm...
Oh Heavenly Dog: Men reincarnate as dogs, women reincarnate as cats. Gay men, however, reincarnate as cats.
The film version of The Blue Bird — seeTheater, below. Gail Sondergaard is Tylette and Eddie Collins Tylo in 1940; Cicely Tyson is Tylette and George Cole Tylo in 1976.
A Night in the Lonesome October got Snuff, the canine familiar of Jack, is the male part of the pairing with Graymalk, female feline familiar to Jill. There is a clear bloke/chick dynamic to their doggy/catty repartee and vice versa.
In The Wheel of Time, female magicians attract cats while males attract dogs.
The Name of the Cat by Barbara Holland, an anecdotal nonfiction book, notes "Men who hate catsand women say cats are like women, and will refer to the most swaggeringly masculine tom as 'she'."
Broadly applies to Harry Potter. Hermione's cat Crookshanks is a male, but Mr. Filch owns a mean female cat, Mrs. Norris, while Hagrid owns a friendly male dog, Fang — they can be seen as counterparts since their owners are both Hogwarts caretakers with contrasting personalities. When it comes to Animagus forms and Patronuses, the characters who get cats are women (McGonagall and Umbridge) and the characters who get dogs are men (Sirius and Ron).
In the pilot of The Brady Bunch, the boys have a pet dog and the girls have a pet cat. Only the dog continued to the series, and even him for not very long due to Animal Existence Failure.
Referenced in the NewsRadio episode "Hair" when Beth and Max refuse to believe that Lisa's puppy is a female: "All dogs are boys, all cats are girls!"
In Community, when the group is criticizing Troy they cite his belief that all dogs are boys and all cats are girls. "There's no way to prove it!" he insists. "Have you ever seen a cat penis?"
In an old Saturday Night Live WWII spy-movie sketch, one of the cliche labored password phrases was "Cats are nothing more than effeminate dogs."
More recently on SNL, January Jones, imitating a House Wife from The Fifties, said to start pet names with "Mr." or "Ms." depending on species. "Remember: All dogs are male; all cats are female."
Played with in My Name Is Earl. Earl's ex-girlfriend Jessie goes through Training from Hell to become a Bounty Hunter in order to get revenge on Joy for a) stealing Earl from her and b) knocking out her two front teeth. As part of her training, Jessie trades in her cat for a large dog. Although the gender of neither one of her pets is specified, the implication of the trope is there.
In Pokémon, the Growlithe line has a 75% chance of being male. The Skitty and Glameow lines have a 75% chance of being female. That last one is justified by apparently being based on calico cats which really are mostly female; the combination of color genes involved requires two X chromosomes, so for a male to have the coloration requires that they have two Xs and a Y chromosome, which is abnormal and leads to sterility but is mostly harmless otherwise, or that their bodies be "chimeras" resulting from two zygotes merging together (a rarer condition).
The DS game Solatorobo appears to make use of this as the protagonists are a male dog and female cat. However, the Caninu and Felineko races are not gender exclusive, and female Caninu and male Felineko not only exist, but are nearly as abundant as their counterparts. In fact, the other teased dog-cat pairing, Merveille and Béluga, inverts this.
Darkstalkers has Felicia, a catwoman, and Jon Talbain, a werewolf.
The eponymous heroes of the late Rusty Haller's anthropomorphic Spy DramaAce And Queenie.
The protagonists of Housepets!; respectively, Grape and Peanut.
Technically they're shapeshifters, but the current forms taken by Reseda and Patrick in But I'm a Cat Person are cat/female and dog/male. Possibly inverted with their more dangerous counterparts, the Tiger and the Wolf.
Percy and Pooch in Sinfest fit the personality stereotypes, if not the genders (both are male); Percy is an arrogant, aloof, and cruel cat, while Pooch is a dumb and overenthusiastic dog.
Although a little off topic as it's more Furry Fandom then just plain old animals: In Trinton Chronicles we have Bone, a male Shepard dog, who is not very bright but fairly creative and Kathrine, a white Persian, who is more motherly then bitchy.
Animaniacs has Rita and Runt, as seen in the page pic. However, Runt doesn't realize Rita isn't a dog no matter how many people (Rita included) he hears describing her as a cat.
In The Simpsons, Bart has Santa's Little Helper [male dog] and Lisa has Snowball II [female cat]. After Snowball II was hit by a car, Lisa got Snowball III and Coltrane (both male) both of which were quickly killed as well, before adopting Snowball V (female) but deciding to call her Snowball II to save on buying a new dish.
In Rugrats, Tommy has his dog Spike, and Angelica has a pet cat named Fluffy.
In Rugrats Go Wild (their crossover with The Wild Thornberrys) Spike was put at odds with a female clouded leopard named Suri. He was voiced by Bruce Willis, she was voiced by Christie Hynde.
Kitty Katswell and Dudley Puppy from T.U.F.F. Puppy follow this trope.
Dog (a male dog) and Cat (a female cat) from Word World.
South Park has a weird example. In an early episode, Stan adopts Sparky, a gay male dog. Cartman has a cat named Mr. Kitty, who was shown as a female in heat in Cat Orgy. Then Mr. Kitty is a functional tomcat in Major Boobage.
In Invader Zim, when female Irken Tak comes to Earth to steal Zim's mission, her female S.I.R. unit Mimi is disguised as a cat. This is in contrast to GIR's disguise which is a dog.
In the German language (which has three grammatical genders), there is "die Katze" and "der Hund", the former being feminine and the latter masculine. note That is, the generic term for cat also covers female cats in particular, whereas the most common generic term for dogs also covers male dogs. There are also 'der Kater' ("tomcat"), 'die Hündin' ("she-dog") and 'der Rüde' ("he-dog"), but they are never used generically. And now you know!
In lower sociolects of Hebrew, khatula (חֲתוּלָה), lit. ‘she-cat’ will be used as the generic term, although with the stress on the penultimate syllable (not on the last one, like in standard Hebrew). This was formerly associated mostly with people from Jerusalem; as a matter of fact, the Maccabi-Mutsri Square in Jerusalem is usually called ‘The Khatulotnote plural of khatula Square’. As for dogs, the masculine is usually used for a generic term, as is the case with the vast majority of animals.
"Kitty" is a name, or nickname, applied almost solely to female humans, even though it's gender-neutral for cats. "Mutt" is a (rare) nickname applied almost exclusively to human males, although dogs of either sex can be mutts.
"Pussy" is, of course, slang for a woman's ... Country Matters, albeit far less taboo. However, there is no male equivalent invoking dogs.
While colloquially a unisex term for our domesticated wolves, "Dog" is also used as a term for nearly any male canine (and some non-canines like hyenas and weasels)
There is a brand of pet items (most notably Christmas stockings containing toys and treats) that follow this trope. The dog items range is named "Good Boy" while items for cats use "Good Girl".
In Japanese gay slang, "neko" (literally "cat") refers to the effeminate partner in a butch/fem pair.
Subversions and Inversions:
Anime and Manga
In Pokémon, a Running Gag featured the Team Rocket trio's Meowth being tormented by a female Snubbull.
Darker than Black has Mao, a deep-voiced guy in the body of a black cat. In the interequel episodes, there is a female Contractor who similarly inhabits the body of a dog, and a pretty mutt-looking one at that.
Terry Pratchett's Discworld series has Greebo the cat. He terrorises wolves, is all of the male ancestors of every kitten for miles around for generations and devours vampires that are incautious enough to turn into bat form in his presence.
Although most of the canines that show up in the series are also male, i.e. Gaspode, Big Fido and Mr. Fusspot. There is a female werewolf.
In the Abhorsen trilogy by Garth Nix, there are two magical creatures. Mogget the cat is male and the Disreputable Dog is, in her words, technically the Disreputable Bitch.
The picture book Bittle features a male cat named Nigel and a female dog named Julia.
Sabrina the Teenage Witch had Salem Saberhagen, although as the surname implies he wasn't exactly the family pet; being turned into a cat is a fairly standard punishment for a number of rather serious crimes, regardless of the perpetrator's gender.
In Garfield, there is a male cat (Garfield) and a male dog (Odie) with a male owner (Jon).
There's a similar set-up with Get Fuzzy, with the male cat (Bucky), the male dog (Satchel), and the male owner (Rob). In addition, most of the reoccurring secondary characters, cat and dog alike, are male.
In the Chilean children's play "Carolita, Chumingo, y el Árbol Solo" ("Carolita, Chumingo, and the Lonely Tree"), the dog was a female and the cat was a male. They doubled as Savvy Male Cat, Energetic Female Dog: the tomcat was a lazy and old feline, the much younger puppy was a Genki Girl.
As noted above, Pokémon generally plays this straight with mostly male Growlithe and mostly female Skitty. However, special mention goes to the Snubbull line, bulldog-like Pokemon that are 75% likely to be female.
Inverted by three of the characters in the anthro Five-Man Band from Zoo La La: J.T. is a male tabby cat while Angel and Jackie are a mutt and a Border Collie, respectively, and both female.
Some breeds of dog are more readily assumed to be female than others, particularly if they're delicately-built or elaborately groomed (e.g. poodles, Salukis, Afghans). Very large cat breeds, such as Maine coons, may be mistaken for male purely on account of their bulk, though this side of the inversion is less prevalent than the dog side of it.
"Cat" can be a slang term for a young man like "chick" is for a young woman, though it's pretty out of use nowadays.
Due to the popularity of cats on the internet, it's becoming less common for cats to be automatically portrayed as female, at least on the internet itself. Perhaps this has something to do with the fact that the revival in their popularity is particularly noticeable among the young adult male demographic (arguably having been started by Caturday and lolcats on 4chan, which was once very male-dominated), and often focuses on the idiosyncratic personalities of cats rather than their cuteness. As a result, this demographic seems to be more likely to be able to relate to the cats and portray them as little furry versions of themselves. For examples of this, see the viral video of the cats playing pattycake with a voiceover by two young men, and innumerable other "translations" of cat videos that seem to give the cat a male voice most of the time. No such inversion seems to have taken place with dogs and women, however.
Not in the exact same way, at least. But the stereotype of women having cute little dogs (such as poodles or chihuahuas) is actually relatively recent; most young single women used to go for cats before the modern idea of a small "purse dog" became popular. In the same ways young internet-dwelling men have lessened the focus on a cat's cuteness in favour of it's odd habits, stylish young women focus less on the idea of a dog as a protector or working man's animal in favour of treating it as the "baby" in the family.
"Bitch"; most common generic English insult for a female, originally the term for a female canine. Likewise "pussy" is an insult for a cowardly male, though that has more to do with female anatomy.
In French (and other Romance languages), the words for "cat" and "dog" are both grammatically masculine (chat and chien); in Russian they are both feminine (koshka and sobaka).