Man's Best Friend is a dog, however Women's Best Friend is a cat... Or, at least according to fiction. In real life, of course, it's not like that.
This might be a parallel indicator of Men Act, Women Are. Dogs are traditionally used for working (with dogs as strict companion animals being a relatively recent occurrence): they herd sheep, sniff luggage for bombs, chew on criminals, guard the stash, et cetera. Cats tend to laze about not doing much, except disarranging small items, and they're largely inside pets (which is why loners love 'em). Cats also have this entitlement attitude: "What have you brought me today, furless ape?" Thus, Men and Dogs Act, while Women and Cats simply Are.
A male character who has a particular fondness for cats might be In Touch with His Feminine Side, while a female who likes dogs might be a bit of a tomboy (though if it's small dogs then she's usually anything but). Certain dogs breeds, such as hounds or retrievers, are usually owned by men because they're "manly" seeming work-dogs. Male characters are almost never seen owning "girly" dogs, companion breeds like Poodlesnote , Chihuahuas, or Malteses. Cats on the other hands don't have these restrictions much, mainly due to most people not recognizing more than a few select breeds at most, though long-furred cats and hairless cats are sometimes depicted as feminine due to their high-maintence.
The prevalence of cat videos on the Internet has diluted the prevalence of this trope somewhat in recent years. It might even count as an inversion, since internet-based activities are often seen as stereotypically male. If a couple consists of a female cat lover and a male dog lover, it's often a sign of Opposites Attract.
Also see A Boy and His X, Crazy Cat Lady, Kindhearted Cat Lover, Cat Stereotype, and Dog Stereotype. Compare to Female Feline, Male Mutt, which is another way the dog/cat gender stereotypes can play out, and Boys Like Creepy Critters and All Girls Like Ponies, for other ways liking certain animals is stereotyped by gender.
- This is a common trope for pet food ads, which usually feature men with dogs and women with cats. A major example are Mars Petcare's famous products: Pedigree (dog food) and Whiskas (cat food), in which even the narrators are male and female, respectively.
- Subverted with Blue Buffalo, which has woman dog owners listing off ingredients in food they feed to their dogs.
- Tamaki is a girl in Naruto who works with nin-cats and is often surrounded by cats. It is revealed in the Distant Finale that she has become Kiba's girlfriend. Kiba's best friend and partner is his nin-dog Akamaru. Kiba comes from a clan of people who work with dogs, with the other two prominent Inuzuka being his mother and older sister (his father explicitly ran off years ago).
- Inverted in Kaguya-sama: Love Is War where Kaguya likes dogs and Shirogane like cats. However, it's because Kaguya resembles a cat and Shirogane resembles a dog. In other words, they like each other. During their "cat person vs dog person" fight, another character noted that it sounded like they were flirting with each other.
- Rebuild of Evangelion does this with the Animal Motifs of the Eva pilots. Shinji, the only male pilot, is thematically associated with dogs, while both Asuka and Mari are associated with cats.
- Superman has a pet dog named Krypto, while his cousin Supergirl has a pet cat named Streaky.
- Archie Comics:
- In the Archie Comics comic "The Great Switcheroo", Salem from Sabrina the Teenage Witch changes all of Riverdale's sexes. The titular band of Josie And The Pussy Cats becomes "Joey and the Junkyard Dogs".
- This appears with the protagonists of the three main comics of the Shared Universe: Archie of Archie Comics had a pet dog (as does his best friend Jughead), Sabrina of Sabrina the Teenage Witch has a cat familiar, and the titular band of Josie and the Pussycats is cat-themed (with one of the main characters, Alexandra, also having a cat familiar).
- Mort Walker's daily strip Beetle Bailey centers on the fictional US Army Camp Swampy, where male Sergeant Orville Snorkel has his dog Otto dressed in a scaled-down Army uniform, while female Sergeant Louise Lugg has a white longhair cat named Bella that's perpetually scowling.
- Pooch Cafe has Chazz, who owns a hyper-sentient canine named Poncho, and Carmen, whom Poncho thinks of as a Crazy Cat Lady simply because they're felines.
- In Peanuts, Charlie Brown has his pet beagle, Snoopy, and Frieda has Faron, a cat who never walked and was always being carried, usually by Frieda herself. Faron was dropped from the strip after only a few appearances mostly due to the fact that Schulz couldn't draw cats very well.
- Most of the human characters in Disney's Oliver & Company are male and own dogs. Fagin has the dogs Dodger, Francis, Einstein, Rita and Tito. Card-Carrying Villain Sykes has the dobermans Roscoe and Desoto. Young Jenny Foxworth, however, adopts The Woobie kitten Oliver. There's also Georgette the show poodle in the Foxworth home, but she's framed as a Foxworth asset rather than as a family pet.
- Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey: The Seavers view their pets as family pets, just as the kids look after each other, but officially, Shadow the Golden Retriever, Sassy the Himalayan, and Chance the American Bulldog note belong to their older son, Peter, daughter Hope, and younger son, Jamie, respectively. At the end of the sequel, the family takes on Chance's girlfriend, Delilah the Kuvasz, and it seems for a moment like the kids' mother, Laura, will subvert this trope and favor her, but it's apparently agreed that Delilah will be a family pet.
- In the Lucy Maud Montgomery story "The Quarantine at Alexander Abrahams" from Chronicles of Avonlea man-hater/old maid Angelina MacPherson and woman-hater/old bachelor Alexander Abraham are trapped together by a quarantine for awhile. She has cats (but only brings one with her into quarantine), he has a dog. They hate each others' pets, but she does feed the dog. By the by, her cat quickly establishes dominance over his dog.
- In The Wheel of Time, it is said that dogs have an affinity for male channelers whereas cats likes females, although this is never central to the plot.
- Inverted in Each Little Universe: male protagonists TM and Veggie own two cats (or, at least, have unofficially adopted them), while female survival show host Riegel O'Ryan has a dog. Female Feline, Male Mutt is also inverted, since the dog is female while both cats are male.
- 7 Yüz: Played straight in the episode "Biyolojik Saat". Metin prefers dogs, while Gökçe prefers cats. However, while Gökçe also likes dogs, Metin actively hates cats at the start of the story, which initially puts him at odds with her.
- Inverted in the Friends episode "The One With Rachel's Book." Chandler describes his idea of his future with Monica: a house in the suburbs with a cat, etc. Monica likes the idea but changes the plan to "dog" instead.
- Inverted in series 10 of Big Brother UK, with housemates Sophie and Freddie. Sophie always talked about her beloved pet Chihuahuas, as part of a task she was given the name "Dogface", and actually quite liked it! Freddie said he preferred cats. (Sometimes he even purred!). In seperate occasions, Sophie wore dog facepaint and Freddie wore cat facepaint. Their personalities fitted some dog/cat stereotypes. Sophie was a Dumb Blonde, which could go with the trope that Dogs Are Dumb, while Freddie was an eccentric loner, which may go with a male version of Crazy Cat Lady, as well as Introverted Cat Person.
- The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap has a young couple named Romio and Julietta, who have a pet dog and cat respectively.
- Street Fighter: At first there's Cammy, a British Kindhearted Cat Lover who is also a Shadaloo "product" and defected from them in the past. Then the fourth game introduces Abel, a French amnesiac who Guile rescued from one of SIN's bases, and a lover of dogs.
- Inverted in Yo-Kai Watch. Official art usually portrays the original male protagonist Nate alongside the cat Series Mascot Jibanyan, while the original female protagonist Katie is associated with the (lion-)dog yokai Komasan.
- In Devil Children, the titular Devil Children are each given a starting Mon. The boy, Setsuna, gets a Cerberus (dog demon), while the girl, Mirai, gets a Gryphon (eagle-lion hybrid).
- In Rugrats, Tommy has his dog, Spike, while his cousin Angelica has a cat, Fluffy.
- In one Tom and Jerry short, the cat Tom and dog Spike are owned by a pair of spouse. When their owners decide to keep only one pet, the husband insists on getting rid of Tom, while the wife insists on getting rid of Spike. The owners decide that whoever catches the mouse (Jerry) gets to stay. Tom and Spike end up tearing up the house trying to catch Jerry and are both then thrown out.
- In Krypto the Superdog, Krypto is owned by a boy. Streaky the Supercat is owned by a girl.
- Mickey Mouse has a dog named Pluto the Pup while his girlfriend/wife Minnie Mouse has a kitten named Figaro. note
- The Simpsons: Bart is very close to his dog, Santa's Little Helper, while Lisa has a cat, Snowball II, and is a Kindhearted Cat Lover in general.
- King of the Hill:
- Subverted in "The Patriot Act", when Hank offers to take are of a soldier's pet while he's away on duty and is horrified to discover that said pet, named Duke, is a cat. As Duke proves to be quite a handful, Hank makes several insulting comments at his owner's expense, just short of saying he's gay.
- In the episode "To Kill a Ladybird", Hank remarks that dogs are a practical pet and only thinks cats make sense as a pet for little girls and old ladies.
- In the Hungarian animated series Frakk, terror of the cats, the elderly couple Károly and Irma owned two cats and one dog. Irma, the wife, particularly liked and spoiled the cats, whereas Károly, the husband, got along much better with the dog.
- Inverted in The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy; Billy has a cat named Milkshakes, while Mandy has a dog named Saliva.