There are two types of people in this world: those who love dogs and those who love cats. And according to a new study, one is much happier than the other—the General Social Survey found that 36 percent of dog owners reported being “very happy” compared to just 18 percent of cat owners.
The GSS, which has been conducted each year since 1972 by NORC at the University of Chicago, surveyed between 1,500 and 3,000 American adults on different lifestyle topics between April and November of 2018. This was the first year they included questions about pet ownership.
With six out of 10 American households having at least one pet, researchers also discovered that 93 percent of those with dogs referred to their canines as members of the family. Only 83 percent of cat owners confessed to doing the same.
But despite the allegedly higher happiness levels in dog owners, The Washington Post pointed out that there are other notable factors that may have played a part in that conclusion. For instance, the survey found that dog parents are more likely to be married or own a home, both of which can increase a person’s quality of life.
And the dog versus cat debate is one that scientists have studied for many years—and one that continues to point in favor of man’s best friend. A massive 2017 study revealed that dog owners live longer, healthier lives with a significantly reduced risk of death, particularly due to cardiovascular disease. Dog owners also tend to be less stressed and more active in general, research has proven.
However, there is one thing cat owners may have over their canine-owning counterparts: they may be smarter. Researchers at Carroll University in 2014 found that cat lovers scored higher for intelligence than those who admitted that they prefer dogs.