This Survey Has Finally Revealed Who's Happier: Dog Owners Or Cat Owners?

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A recent survey by the General Social Survey has linked dog ownership to more happiness compared to cat ownership. Statistics from the survey indicate that 6 out of 10 households in America own at least one pet. In terms of happiness in relation to the type of pet, the statistics demonstrate the following; Dog owners maintained a 36% happiness score, individuals owning both pets (cats & dogs) trailed closely behind with a 28% rating, and cat owners had the lowest happiness score at only 18%. The study established a slight deficit in happiness rating among groups that owned a pet and those that did not, with the latter scoring 32%.

Previous Studies

Similar previous studies exhibited similar or contrasting conclusions for the same indicator - happiness. A 2006 Pew Research Center study, for example, concurred with the General Social Survey observation that there was an indistinguishable difference in happiness between individuals that own pets and those that do not. However, unlike the General Social Survey, the Pew study did not seek to find out happiness score in relation to the type of pet owned.

Another survey carried out in 2016 demonstrated a positive connection in higher happiness to dog ownership compared to cat ownership. According to the study, the difference can be traced to respective owners' personalities where a dog owner tends to be more open-minded and likable. They are also less neurotic compared to cat owners on average.

In 2015, a different study seeking to establish the connection between cats and human emotions indicated that cats helped decrease negative moods among single people. However, cats did not appear to cause an increase in positive moods.

Dog Owners deriving happiness from their pets

Lastly, a 2013 survey established that dog ownership incited more physical activities among owners. The study painted dog ownership as a strategy that inspires physical activity. Dog owners are likely to take part in outdoor activities like dog walking. As such, they get to socialize through these activities which increase their happiness levels as well as their physical health.

The General Social Survey found that the probability that dog owners will get married, own a home and be happy is higher as opposed to that of cat owners. Also, the survey sought to establish how individuals interacted with their pets in order to distinguish how they derive happiness. The data showed that dog owners are more interactive with their pets in times of stress. They are likely to play with the pet and thus establish a strong connection in the process.

Sources: Washington PostAnthrozoös, Taylor and Francis  / Photo Credit: Google

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