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Study: Do Dogs or Cats Make People the Happiest?

We all know the expression “fight like cats and dogs”. But there really should be another to fight like cat and dog people too. Personally, I love both cats and dogs so I cannot fully relate to them. However, many tend to debate whether it is more beneficial to parenting cats or dogs. Does a dog make you happier than a cat or vice versa?

Brad Stennerson, Ph.D., a consulting psychologist at the University of Oklahoma, recently posted a statement on the subject for Psychology Today. The author rated the happiness that both types of pets offer based on three categories: ability to provide comfort or improve mood, degree of attachment and social connection, and influence on our activity level.

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Comfort and mood enhancement

In this category, Stennerson did not declare a clear winner. The short thing is, the data available is not really conclusive. Many studies have shown that a cat or dog can lower stress levels and improve mood. Others indicate no correlation, although one thing to consider is how differently dogs and cats can be studied. After all, cats have a tendency not to do what you want them to do. They make difficult test subjects.

Stennerson explains how complicated it is to study the mood effects of living with cats or dogs:

“For one, people with depression may own pets disproportionately, skewing the depression scores of the pet owner population. In addition, the tools researchers use to measure mood may have missed important effects because they simply weren’t measured for them. “

The fact is, this aspect of dog or cat parenting is really difficult to study. Some people may be affected differently if they deserve a cat’s purr or a dog’s cute licks. Perhaps certain people have more independent animals.

I see it this way: If you think your dog or cat makes you happy, then your dog or cat makes you happy!

Social connection

Many of us feel deep, emotional connections with our dogs and cats. But when it comes to how your pet affects your interactions with other people, dogs tend to have the edge. This is the point Stennerson makes in his article.

If you have a dog, you’re more likely to attend dog parks or training classes. With the exception of a few adventurous cats on a leash and in a backpack, most house kittens live their lives indoors or outside their human’s home. That way, a dog can help you interact with other people much more easily than a cat.

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Effects on activity level

Dogs also won this category. Cats keep us entertained endlessly with their antics and daring climbs. However, cats do not encourage us to walk like dogs. As dogs force us to exercise, our moods improve as a happy result.

In the end, Stennerson declared dogs the lucky winner species. If you read through all of this and think, “No way, I disagree,” don’t worry. The author himself notes a bit of bias since he hasn’t met a lot of cuddly cats (and so have I).

“I’m sure there are many examples of very dedicated cats who love interacting with their humans, but I’ve never met a cat like this. And I am writing this post. Dogs win. “

Even so, these truths cannot be denied: dogs make us more active and offer us comfort and love when we need it most.

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H / T: Psychology Today
Featured image: Sharon McCutcheon via Pexels

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