People who say 'cats aren't pets' have just never met a family-friendly cat or had a great relationship with one. The stereotype of cats are independent loners really isn't true, it is just what happens when people do not put any effort into their pet. Cats are touted as being easy to care for, because they can do so much of their care themselves, so they only get minimal interaction with their people. Many cats just *are* snuggle/cuddle love-kitties, but if an in-between or shy cat comes along and their people won't show it how nice it is to be a snuggle/cuddle love-kitty...it won't learn on its own so it does become an aloof and independent cat.
People who come visit us are surprised at how personable our cats are. At how they 'don't behave like real cats'.
What? Well, sure they do! It is just the cats our guests have been around haven't been socialized like ours. Ours know their own names. Come when called as a group. Come when called individually (and only that cat called will come, though we will sometimes get another interested party or two, wondering if the called cat is getting a treat and they may be able to share in the treat
...). Know some voice commands: up, down, off, come here, out, snuggle-down, easy, no, stop it. Know some hand signs: wiggle fingers = come get scrubbles, shooing motion = move, pointing = move or look there, a hand held up = stay or wait. These are the ones right off the top of my head.
IMO, you get out of cats what you put into them. Dogs will love anybody. A cat has to want to love you, and if they are never shown, they will never develop that on their own. So, people who put little effort into their cat relationships are really missing out. And unfortunately, so are the cats.