Cats Vs. Dogs Settled With Science

By Zack Zagranis | Published

Cats or Dogs? It’s a debate as old as the domestication of pets itself. Now Frontiers is reporting there’s finally a definitive answer: Dogs.

A Survey Found That Pet Owners Are Closer To Their Dogs Than Cats

New research from veterinary scientists working for the University of Copenhagen in Denmark has discovered that, on the whole, pet owners care more about dogs than they do cats. Pet owners across three European countries were surveyed on the degree to which they were attached to their pets, and the data showed that canine owners are much more attached to their furry friends than those who own felines.

Pet owners Historically Have Spent More Money On Dogs

The researchers were inspired by a long-running trend found in older studies that shows dog owners typically spend more money on veterinary care for their pets than cat owners. In recent years, however, the trend has started to swing the other way: cat owners are now shelling out the big bucks for vet care. This prompted the researchers to see if cat owners had grown more attached to their fur babies in general, along with the uptick in feline vet bills.

Dogs Reign Supreme, But Cats Are Quickly Catching Up

As we previously mentioned, it appears that dogs still have the upper paw when it comes to pet popularity, but cats are slowly catching up. “My impression is that, over the past 50 years or so, cats have gone from being completely peripheral animals to going up the ladder,” said head researcher Peter Sandoe. In an effort to expand on past studies on pet attachment, Sandoe and his team surveyed a representative sample of pet owners hailing from three countries: Denmark, Austria, and the UK.

The researchers wanted to look at possible cultural factors that could influence people’s love for cats and dogs. To that end, those surveyed were asked questions about their emotional attachment to their pets and what their approach to veterinary care was—such as whether they paid for pet insurance or not.

Pet Trends Across The Globe

will ferrell

The team surveyed a total of 2,117 pet owners, including 844 dog owners, 872 cat owners, and 401 people who owned both cats and dogs. Dog owners scored higher across the board than cat owners in all categories, proving that, as of right now, dogs are the more beloved species. The biggest disparity between the two groups was found in Denmark, where 41 percent of dog owners said they would be willing to pay a high cost for life-saving medical treatment if their pet needed it compared to only 26 percent of cat owners.

Meanwhile, in the UK, dogs had a much narrower lead over cats, with 34 percent of dog owners agreeing to pay a large sum for vet bills vs. 28 percent of cat owners. Those results led the researchers to believe that humanity’s love for particular pets isn’t set in stone and can vary depending on cultural characteristics.

Where Cats Still Win

stray cat

They had hypothesized before doing the survey that people in Denmark would be less into cats as pets, given that the country was mostly rural for so long that cats were usually seen as farm animals or just wild strays. The results of the survey proved the researchers’ early hypothesis correct, but there are still other factors at play as well, such as the cost of pet care varying from country to country

Cat lovers shouldn’t be too upset, though. Dogs might have the advantage when it comes to domestic situations but as everyone knows, cats rule the internet.

Subscribe for Science News
Get More Real But Weird

Science News

Expect a confirmation email if you Subscribe.