People love their pets, there's no doubt about that, and owning a four-legged friend can be great for your health, too. But have you ever wondered if the type of pet you own can have more of an impact on your overall happiness? Some statisticians have, and they even crunched some numbers to find out once and for all if cat owners are happier than dog owners, or vice versa.
As far as this particular cat vs dog battle goes, dogs are the clear winners. The 2018 General Social Survey found that 36 percent of dog owners considered themselves to be 'very happy.' That's double the amount of cat owners (18 percent) who identified as 'very happy.' People who owned both a dog and a cat fell somewhere in between, with 28 percent of those folks saying they were 'very happy.'
But why are dog owners likely to be happier than cat owners? That may come down to the kinds of activities that caring for a dog demands. Dog owners typically participate in more outdoor physical activity, and getting out for regular walks means you're more likely to meet and build relationships with the people in your neighborhood.
However, it may not be that dogs cause happiness per se. Dog owners are also more likely to be in longterm relationships and own their own homes — two things that often contribute to overall happiness. So owning a dog might be a coincidence rather than the cause of happiness.
Dog owners are also more likely to seek comfort from their pet than cat owners, which may play a part in overall happiness.
Still, you shouldn't assume that simply having a dog is going to make you happier. In fact, 32 percent of people who don't own any pets reported that they were 'very happy.' This means that there are only marginally more 'very happy' dog owners than 'very happy' folks who don't have pets. So you probably don't need to go into full blown FOMO mode if you don't have any furry friends in the house.
h/t: The Washington Post