Dog owners and cat owners are constantly being pitted against each other, but are these groups really all that different? According to a new survey spotted by The Washington Post, they diverge in one key area, at least: Happiness.
The questionnaire, which was part of the 2018 General Social Survey, found that dog owners are twice as likely as cat owners to report feeling "very happy." Survey respondents were asked to rate their level of happiness, and the results were broken down by the types of pet they own (or do not own).
The ranking goes like this: Dog owners are the likeliest group of people to consider themselves "very happy." People who don't own any pets came in second on the happiness spectrum, and people who own a dog and a cat rank third. Cat owners trail far behind them all, with only 18 percent reporting that they feel very happy.
Dog owners were also more likely to report playing with their pet, seeking comfort from their pet, and considering their pet a member of the family.
The General Social Survey has been tracking trends in public opinion since 1972 in an effort to contribute to social science research. These surveys have shed light on some fairly heavy topics, including everything from political sentiments to religious beliefs to overall well-being. From a statistical standpoint, the latest focus on a topic that has long been broached over dinner and drinks—"Are you a cat or a dog person?"—proves that there might be more to the question than merely first date fodder.
However, as The Washington Post's data reporter Christopher Ingraham is quick to point out, these findings don't necessarily mean that dogs are the sole source of happiness (even though pup owners might beg to differ). "The General Social Survey data show that dog owners, for instance, are more likely to be married and own their own homes than cat owners, both factors known to affect happiness and life satisfaction," the newspaper notes.
In other words, don't feel too bad if you're a cat lover. There are plenty of proven benefits associated with having a kitty at home.
[h/t The Washington Post]