Paws for Thought

Do you consider yourself creative, enjoy a bit of classical music and still love an episode of Seinfeld?

Chances are you’re a cat person, according to new findings.

A survey looking into the similarities and differences between dog and cat owners revealed cats and dogs may have more in common than their keepers.

From dieting and exercise trends to relationship and career choices, the survey of 1,000 dog owners and 1,000 cat owners by Mars Petcare shows dogs typically have a greater influence on their owners’ decisions than cats do.

Cat people and dog people: the purrplexing differences
The survey found that cat people fancy themselves more creative than dog people overall. Dog owners, however, tend to earn more money on average ($47,000 vs. $40,000), which could be linked to additional trends, with dog owners twice as likely to work in the financial field and cat owners being nearly four times as likely to work in creative fields.

The extra income may also help dog owners, as they tend to spend 33 percent more on clothing and accessories and 26 percent more on entertainment than cat owners.

Speaking of entertainment, cat people are more likely to take in a documentary and show a higher preference for musicals and indie films. Dog lovers are bigger fans of horror and action, but also indulge their romantic side a little more, scoring higher for both romcoms and romance movies.

Cat owners, much like their pets, are more likely to enjoy gentler hobbies such as reading, writing or doing a bit of gardening. Dog owners, on the other hand, are quicker to embrace more active pursuits such as sports, yoga, dancing and travel – displaying a need to expend energy on a similar level to their own furry friends.

Ruff day? Pet therapy really works
Whether it’s through exercise, cuddles or a friendly ear, the positive impact we get back from our pets is clear. The survey found that dogs are much more likely to improve their owners’ lives through exercise than cats (45 percent vs. 8 percent). Dog owners are also more likely to be runners, with a quarter (25 percent) saying they run regularly, versus only 16 percent of cat owners.

While cats may not be the best workout buddies, cat owners are more likely to divulge their innermost thoughts and secrets with nearly a quarter spilling all to their fluffy friend (23 percent vs. 19 percent for dog owners). And having that tiny shoulder to cry on actually does appear to help, as cat owners are more likely to credit their pet with reducing stress (70 percent vs. 66 percent). Cats are also slightly more likely to come to the rescue in times of need by providing comfort to those who have lost a loved one or following a relationship break up.

Jam Stewart, vice president, corporate affairs at Mars Pet Nutrition NA, said, “Whether you are hitting your fitness goals thanks to a bit of a push from your dog, or engaging in a little therapy talk with your cat, it’s obvious that no matter what furry friend you prefer, the benefits of pet ownership should not be overlooked.”

A pawsitive outcome? Pets make us happy in so many ways
Despite these differences, it’s safe to say that cat and dog owners have a few things in common – especially when it comes to travel and life planning.

More than a fifth take their pet on vacation with them, a quarter eat meals with their pets and more than a third buy their pets presents on birthdays and holidays – although dog owners are twice as likely (19 percent vs. 9 percent) to go all-out for their pets’ birthday, celebrating the occasion with a full-on party.

With such strong ties to their pets, it is no surprise that pets have a massive effect on their owners’ week-to-week life planning. Dogs have a bit more influence on how their owners make decisions, with more than two-thirds confirming their pet as a huge factor in their planning (67 percent vs. 58 percent).

“Given the important role pets play in our everyday lives, we launched a program called BETTER CITIES FOR PETS™, which aims to create more places for every dog and cat to live, visit and play in cities across the nation,” said Stewart. “Through this program, it’s our vision that pet owners no longer have to choose between being with their pet or exploring their city and instead, can do so together.”

It’s fun to think about the ways our pets shape our personalities – but in the end, it seems that dog and cat owners aren’t all that different, after all! One important trend to notice is the significant role they play in the lives of their owners – whether that’s influencing travel decisions, helping with fitness routines or just being a listening ear, pets can improve our lives in many ways.

To learn more about Mars Petcare and BETTER CITIES FOR PETS™, please visit:

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