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Cat countries, dog countries
July 29, 2014 8:54 PM   Subscribe

Where cats are more popular than dogs in the U.S.—and all over the world. We all know there are only two types of people in the world: cat people and dog people. But data from market research firm Euromonitor suggest that these differences extend beyond individual preferences and to the realm of geopolitics: it turns out there are cat countries and dog countries, too.
posted by whyareyouatriangle (52 comments total) 13 users marked this as a favorite

 
Just as I suspected.
posted by Jimbob at 9:12 PM on July 29, 2014


İslam? I work in two neighboring countries, one Christian, one Muslim. I'm on the Muslim one now and there are almost no dogs except for very chic poodles in the capital and then Shepard. My kid gets excited when he sees on. In the neighborhood Christian country Street dogs are everywhere.
Most people I know here are afraid of dogs, think they are dirty, etc.

Also a big difference is a apartment loving and work schedules.

Attributing these different cos to country is fun, but is only a small part of the story.
posted by k8t at 9:12 PM on July 29, 2014 [2 favorites]


Judging by the US map there's more cats where you need lap warmers. This makes sense.
posted by dabitch at 9:14 PM on July 29, 2014 [2 favorites]


Judging by the US map there's more cats where you need lap warmers. This makes sense.

Or places where walking a dog in January would be hellish.
posted by showbiz_liz at 9:15 PM on July 29, 2014 [7 favorites]


The four corners region is epic. "Welcome to Utah, here's your cat."
posted by Curious Artificer at 9:16 PM on July 29, 2014 [1 favorite]


But... but...

I LOVE BOTH
posted by potsmokinghippieoverlord at 9:21 PM on July 29, 2014 [6 favorites]


Finally an issue where I agree with the average southerner!
posted by No One Ever Does at 9:37 PM on July 29, 2014


Way to go, Oregon. Blegh.
posted by Chutzler at 9:40 PM on July 29, 2014


Is there a way to drill down to cities? Because I'm pretty sure this is Portland's fault.
posted by Chutzler at 9:40 PM on July 29, 2014


How does this compare with the red state-blue state map?
posted by any portmanteau in a storm at 9:55 PM on July 29, 2014 [3 favorites]


Well it tracks pretty closely, all in all. Red states are dog states, blue states are cat states.

Our California household is a dog household, but she's kind of a catdog, so I think we fit the scheme. Then again, our old cat Spoon (God rest his soul) was kind of a dogcat, which runs against.

I guess what I mean is the map isn't granular enough.
posted by notyou at 10:12 PM on July 29, 2014 [1 favorite]


dabitch: "Judging by the US map there's more cats where you need lap warmers. This makes sense."

Nah, it just shows that, yet again. The damn South has it all wrong. (Sorry my fellow Southern Mefites, I honestly am not judging you individually - and I know that my state is slowly becoming the Texas of the North these days so I have no room to talk)...

Globally for sure, Islam has a love of cats - Mohammed (PBUH) had at least one cat (did he have more than one? I can't recall), and dogs are considered unclean... So yeah, in Islamic societies cats are seen as good and dogs, not so much...

In the US, though - I always sense Dogs as a Conservative thing and Cats as liberal - and maybe this is urban/rural divide, but plenty of farms have both, you know, mousers and such. But I think in many of those cases, the cats aren't really seen as more than just another creature as part of the ecosystem, a tool to balance that ecosystem. Dogs are seen more as companions on the farm. Sure, a tool, too... herding or hunting or whatever, but farm cats don't often get the same sort of love that city/indoor cats get, generally.
posted by symbioid at 10:32 PM on July 29, 2014 [1 favorite]


I've always wanted buck this false dichotomy with a domesticated fox or a ferret or some other creature
posted by Apocryphon at 10:37 PM on July 29, 2014


For between dog and cat states, I'd put forth a hypothesis based more on historical differences. Dog states are states where, historically, dogs were more apt to be used in a working capacity on sheep and cattle ranches where they were used to herd cattle and sheep, or in the south were they were used for hunting. Cat states are states more farm oriented, with large grain supplies, or factories/industries where rats are bigger problem and you need good mousers. And as people moved west, they brought their pet habits with them.

(For the west, outlier states now are either too dry to support the kind of cattle population for dogs or tended to be settled by the more northern "mousing" states; also you have extant population demographics, specifically age, effects, like Florida.)
posted by barchan at 10:39 PM on July 29, 2014 [2 favorites]


Dog States: The ruling party licks its own balls - the constituents support the bold show of state sovereignty (*see Arizona)

Cat States: The ruling party is uncommitted to any course of legislation that does not also involve ear scritches and catnip. (*see Vermont)
posted by isopraxis at 10:51 PM on July 29, 2014 [2 favorites]


In the US, I was thinking population demographics, too barchan – specifically, population density: I imagine that people with more space (back yards, etc.) find it easier to have dogs than people who live in apartments.

Over all, I bet most places are actually "cattier" than shown on the map, because I imagine fewer cats are "registered." I live in a big ol' dog-loving neighborhood (in downtown Athens, Greece, and there are at least 12 pet dogs within a one block radius of my house, and I have a dog myself), but there are absolutely more cats in this neighborhood, although most of them probably don't specifically belong to anyone. Many people feed them, though.
posted by taz at 10:51 PM on July 29, 2014


The southern states are, I believe, also much more permissive about dogs breeding. I know that humane society near me in New England often had dogs brought up from the south where there were way more dogs then they can manage to adopt out locally. Northern dogs are more likely to be spayed and neutered, and it's less of a problem in those states, although still a lot more of a problem then other places around the world.
posted by vibratory manner of working at 11:48 PM on July 29, 2014 [3 favorites]


[Civil war derail deleted. I know the first comment was a joke, but we don't need yet another unhinged US Civil War flaming clusterfuck in yet another unrelated thread.]
posted by taz at 11:56 PM on July 29, 2014 [3 favorites]


Nah, population density doesn't work re: Oregon's feline affinities. There are only 3 million people in the state, and half of them are in Portland. It would be interesting to see whether the bulk of furballs are indeed in Portland, but from a purely anecdotal standpoint, that wouldn't track with what I know of Oregonian cat ownership. Pretty much everyone I knew had two or more cats and a dog. During my time at the UO, in Eugene, nearly everyone who had an apartment, no matter how small, had at least one cat, often two, and no dog.

The maps also need to account for bunnies. I grew up with rabbit pets, several neighbors and friends with rabbit pets, and at the Lane County Fair you could pick floppy-eared companions from the huge hangar where they were shown by the hundreds. I got an adorable black and white bun that way when I was 16, paid for out of my gas money, heh... (we'd had a rabbit pass away from old age recently, so the new one was going to have a home ready and everything, this was discussed with her breeder and all).

Anyway, yes, Oregon. Cats, absolutely. Rabbits too. Dogs, you get the definite sense they're all black labs and Golden Retrievers with those multi-color woven collars. They swim in our multitude of lakes and, obviously, chase our ducks and squirrels.
posted by fraula at 2:26 AM on July 30, 2014


I really am surprised to see Japan has more dogs - it seems a very cat-orientated society to me. They are everywhere both literally, and symbolically in media etc.
posted by smoke at 3:45 AM on July 30, 2014 [3 favorites]


What amazes me is that Australia is a dog country, by about 3:2, while NZ, which is culturally and demographically quite similar, is a cat country by 2:1.

Could the numbers of camp dogs in the Northern Territory be skewing the numbers that far? Or is it about Australia having more non-urban areas in general?

Also, I really want to know where they got their data. It can't be registrations, since cats are rarely registered (and in e.g. New Zealand at least, dog registration is compulsory, while cat registration is non-existent, yet NZ ends up with more cats than dogs). Is it from a survey? In that case, remote rural communities are probably under-represented.
posted by lollusc at 4:00 AM on July 30, 2014 [4 favorites]


If cats and dogs voted for president along party lines, the results would be:

Cat Party - 349 electoral votes
Dog Party - 182 EV

(AK and HI apparently aren't voting. Maybe in cat/dog years it's not 1959 yet)
posted by kadonoishi at 4:45 AM on July 30, 2014 [5 favorites]


I think once marriage equality is done, we can tackle low cat::dog ratios next.
posted by oceanjesse at 4:55 AM on July 30, 2014


Retirement homes?
posted by nathancaswell at 5:03 AM on July 30, 2014


In the US, though - I always sense Dogs as a Conservative thing and Cats as liberal - and maybe this is urban/rural divide, but plenty of farms have both, you know, mousers and such.

Also, conservatives value loyalty and obedience more (as has been pointed out by a number of commentators), and these are qualities one gets from a dog but not a cat. (On the right, Libertarians may lean more cat, though; perhaps Communists lean more dog on the left?)
posted by acb at 5:11 AM on July 30, 2014 [1 favorite]


Smoke, one thing about Japan that fascinates me is that I think I've seen one stray dog in fourteen years of living here. There are stray cats everywhere, but at least in the kanto area, no stray dogs.

For different situation, Bali has tons of strays, both dogs and cats. Talking to the guy we hired to drive us around, he would tell us all kinds of things, to the point that we couldn't be sure if he was just trying to see how gullible we were. One of his stories was that, in Bali, if you hit and kill a cat with your car, it's essentially worthless because no one buy a car that killed a cat, and it would be insane to continue driving it, due to some full on wrath of the gods type stuff.

When we asked him about what happens if you hit a dog, he just sort of shrugged and said, "eh, it's just a dog. No big deal."
posted by Ghidorah at 5:16 AM on July 30, 2014


I'm amazed by the difference in how we view bites.

A dog bites a person? That dog's got a good chance of being killed for it.

A cat bites a person? "Well, I guess you shouldn't have pissed him off."
posted by Pope Guilty at 5:33 AM on July 30, 2014 [2 favorites]


There are only 3 million people in the state, and half of them are in Portland.

Which gives an average density that is very low, and yet half the state is living in high density Portland which makes the average density meaningless, giving support to the cat/density argument.

A dog bites a person? That dog's got a good chance of being killed for it.

A cat bites a person? "Well, I guess you shouldn't have pissed him off."


You'd almost think there was a difference in the size of the animals and the severity of the bites.
posted by Dip Flash at 6:14 AM on July 30, 2014 [7 favorites]


You'd almost think there was a difference in the size of the animals and the severity of the bites.

Indeed, it's almost as though one of these creatures is capable of killing a juvenile human.
posted by 256 at 6:23 AM on July 30, 2014 [2 favorites]


And there's legitimate reason to believe young Americans might be having dogs instead of babies.
The doctors were surprised.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 6:46 AM on July 30, 2014 [5 favorites]


We can't stop here, this is cat country!
posted by adipocere at 6:52 AM on July 30, 2014 [5 favorites]


I'm surprised by Idaho and Wyoming. The culture and climate are similar to Montana so I assumed they'd all be dog country. Lots of working dogs.
posted by desjardins at 6:54 AM on July 30, 2014


I'd be curious to see a map normalized for percentage of urban population or renters. Apartment living makes it harder to own a dog, and that's correlated with all sorts of things.
posted by The Gaffer at 7:27 AM on July 30, 2014


A dog bites a person? That dog's got a good chance of being killed for it.

A cat bites a person? "Well, I guess you shouldn't have pissed him off."


Where are you getting that from? If a cat bites someone, and and the rabies vaccination is so much as a day over due, it doesn't matter if that cat has never been outside or exposed to other creatures in it's life. It's getting put down.
posted by Fenriss at 8:10 AM on July 30, 2014


I'm amazed by the difference in how we view bites.

A dog bites a person? That dog's got a good chance of being killed for it.

A cat bites a person? "Well, I guess you shouldn't have pissed him off."


I have never in my life heard of a human being killed or mauled by a house cat. I have permanent scars from a vicious fucker of a cat, but I was never actually in fear of my life from the little asshole.
posted by showbiz_liz at 8:30 AM on July 30, 2014


just google "cat bite scratch fever" and "dog bite scratch fever"--while cats seldom kill or seriously main their human victims, as dogs can do, the trail of cat transmitted infections is not a pretty picture ( link to images not included).
posted by rmhsinc at 8:34 AM on July 30, 2014


[debbiedowner] Cats may be small, but their bites pose very serious infection risks, including risks of life-threatening infections. When antibiotics inevitably lose their usefulness, you can expect a small number of people to die every year from cat bites. [/debbiedowner]
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 8:36 AM on July 30, 2014 [1 favorite]


As part of the rural childhood immunization scheme enacted by my parents, I was given a regimen of cat scratches and bites in addition to all the dirt I ingested.
posted by General Tonic at 9:21 AM on July 30, 2014 [2 favorites]


What if you're a cat person but the gorgeous little furballs will put you in the ER when your lungs close up? Is there a skew of allergy or asthma incidence to affect the demographic rationales?
posted by tabubilgirl at 9:51 AM on July 30, 2014


Is there a country or culture where pets are utterly unknown, or taboo? Because that's where I'd like to live.

The whole business of having a pet is just repulsive to me - the profoundly unpleasant smells, the actual shit in a box of sand, the picking up of actual hot shit with a thin plastic bag, the obscene sums of money spent on food and medical care for what is, essentially, a useless, fast-moving bag of meat. (I'm not a clean freak at all - there are good reasons we avoid shit!)

I also have huge moral problems with pets from the animal point of view - many, if not most, pets are forced to live in unsuitable environments, fed on grim Soylent-equivalents, wholly dependent on their keepers instead of roaming free in packs (or whatever is is they would be doing in nature). I mean, keeping birds in cages for human entertainment? Fish in bowls? Dogs in one bedroom flats? That's cruel and unusual punishment.

Obviously this isn't a popular opinion, and I'm presumably missing something, but it really is mystifying to me that most societies seem totally cool with this cruel, unhygienic practice - like religion or child abuse it just seems way off the charts in terms of human weirdness.
posted by jack_mo at 10:25 AM on July 30, 2014 [1 favorite]


I'm presumably missing something

Clearly.

I'm sure many people will take issue with you essentially asserting that their beloved, doted upon, coddled pets are being abused simply by being a pet. I know I do.
posted by cooker girl at 10:44 AM on July 30, 2014 [2 favorites]


Well that's a challenging proposition.

First: Societies are okay with scores of cruel, unhygenic practices not involving pets at all. What's so off the charts weird about keeping pets?

Next: For each of the animal husbandry failures you note, there exists a kinder, wholesomer alternative, which reduces -- even eliminates -- the associated cruelty.

Third: Without some considerable intervention by veterinary science, my pup would have died four years ago. Dependency on human medical science is true for many pets. This is true for many people. What's wrong with dependency?

Fourth: You don't have to have a pet.
posted by notyou at 10:46 AM on July 30, 2014


We all know there are only two types of people in the world

I have never understood the whole "dog person or cat person" model. Surely there must be considerable overlap.
posted by Flexagon at 11:03 AM on July 30, 2014 [3 favorites]


the obscene sums of money spent on food and medical care for what is, essentially, a useless, fast-moving bag of meat.

What a charming attitude. Why worry about whether or not keeping pets is cruel when you obviously deplore animals in general?
posted by Fenriss at 11:06 AM on July 30, 2014 [6 favorites]


Dogs--specifically--have evolved side by side with human beings for somewhere between 10,000 and 30,000 years.

...wholly dependent on their keepers instead of roaming free in packs (or whatever is is they would be doing in nature).

Dogs are not enslaved wolves. They are our friends. And we are their packs.
posted by General Tonic at 11:09 AM on July 30, 2014


the obscene sums of money spent on food and medical care for what is, essentially, a useless, fast-moving bag of meat

I have no idea why you're complaining about pets. I commute to work every day surrounded by useless, very fast-moving bags of meat in giant cans.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 11:26 AM on July 30, 2014 [3 favorites]


Pets bring joy to peoples' lives, which is more than can be said for, say, Wall Street bankers.

Looking at the maps, I'm curious as to the cultural underpinnings of liking cats versus dogs on a larger scale. One survey finds that cat lovers are, indeed, more liberal. This survey agrees. I surmise it's because conservatives value obedience more than liberals do (the first survey notes that this is true). Perhaps more people in New England, Minnesota, and Oregon like cats because they are blue states.

What about countries, I wonder? Cats rule in most of Europe, except for Ireland, Spain, Portugal and Poland. Is there something about Catholicism that is anti-cat...except France, Italy and Austria are historically Catholic, and cats rule there. But the Spanish and Portuguese language countries in Mexico, Central and South America vastly prefer dogs. Common cultural underpinnings? Austria and Switzerland much prefer cats. Does inhaling crisp mountain air turn people into ailurophiles? Why are Aussies dog people and New Zealanders cat people?

For the record, I'm an avowed cat person (I love dogs, but I don't want one for a pet) and I live in an indigo-blue part of the US. People where I live seem to be crazy about both dogs and cats.
posted by Rosie M. Banks at 11:48 AM on July 30, 2014


I also have huge moral problems with pets from the animal point of view - many, if not most, pets are forced to live in unsuitable environments, fed on grim Soylent-equivalents, wholly dependent on their keepers instead of roaming free in packs (or whatever is is they would be doing in nature).

This entire comment is horribly trollish and I know I shouldn't engage, but: I have a cat whom I literally rescued off the street. I'd seen him around the neighborhood for months, and I got to witness exactly what he was doing in nature: losing fights with the other cats, regularly getting nasty wounds and skin infections, shitting liquid, freaking out at loud noises, eating unidentifiable goo that had been spilled on the sidewalk. I once saw him nibble on a rock, thinking it might be food. If he hadn't been adopted, by now he'd be dead from starvation, infection, or an untreated injury. (And if he'd been living in "nature" rather than an urban environment, he would have been a coyote snack.) Instead, he's healthy and happy, with years of life ahead of him and no apparent desire to leave his apartment. He may eat the same exact thing every day, but every day he looks forward to it.

Sure, there's a box of shit and piss in our house. Some mornings I step in vomit or have to clean a warm, freshly-yacked hairball off the floor. We pay for vet visits and medication and sitters and fancy prescription food. But in return I have a companion who enriches my life in a way neither humans nor inanimate objects can, and the knowledge that I've made his life better as well. Not everyone finds pets to be worth the investment, which is fine and understandable. I do, however, and so do others, and those who do are often very invested in their pets' well-being.

There are plenty of abusive and neglectful pet owners out there, and domestication is not without serious problems (overpopulation, health issues from breeding for type, puppy/kitten mills, etc.), but most domestic pets have longer, healthier, and happier lives than not only their stray/feral counterparts, but their wild relatives as well.

By the by, when you were an infant, someone once cleaned up your "actual hot shit" on a daily basis, and spent obscene sums of money on keeping you alive. I don't want to get into comparing children and pets, but... life itself is disgusting, and of debatable merit. We're all bags of meat.
posted by Metroid Baby at 2:45 PM on July 30, 2014 [7 favorites]


I'm sure many people will take issue with you essentially asserting that their beloved, doted upon, coddled pets are being abused simply by being a pet. I know I do.

I don't doubt that you are kind and lovely to your pet, but lots of species are being abused, undeniably, by dint of being pets - can you come up with a decent argument in favour of keeping a bird that can fly in a little cage?

Dogs--specifically--have evolved side by side with human beings for somewhere between 10,000 and 30,000 years.

Oh, absolutely, dogs (and cats?) are special cases. I'm sure a dog who lives in the countryside with his human pals eating nice fresh food and gambolling about all day is perfectly happy. A big dog living in a small flat in a city, eating canned pap and going for one daily walk on pavement, on a lead? That seems very wrong. Why should a human's desire for an animal about the house outweigh the animal's desire to go about its animal business? I'm generally with Peter Singer on the answer to that question (though I generally give a lot more weight to human preferences than he does, to the point that he'd probably dismiss me as a terrible speciesist.)

For each of the animal husbandry failures you note, there exists a kinder, wholesomer alternative, which reduces -- even eliminates -- the associated cruelty

Defo! I just think that eliminating cruelty would eliminate most pet-keeping as practised today.

This is true for many people.

Dependency is fine, but people are more important than animals. The money we spend as a society on keeping pets would be better spent on improving the lives of people.

What a charming attitude. Why worry about whether or not keeping pets is cruel when you obviously deplore animals in general?

I don't deplore animals, whatever that means - I'm against animal testing, only eat animals that have lived a very nice life, &c. I just don't want them around me particularly and rather resent the fact that I'm forced to be near them all the time, because pets.

I probably shouldn't've combined my personal animal disgust issues with the ethical problems of pet-keeping in the same comment, eh?
posted by jack_mo at 3:10 PM on July 30, 2014


This entire comment is horribly trollish

Not trollish; these are my actual opinions.

By the by, when you were an infant, someone once cleaned up your "actual hot shit" on a daily basis, and spent obscene sums of money on keeping you alive. I don't want to get into comparing children and pets, but...

Yeah, that's where Singer and the preference utilitarianism crowd get really interesting/challenging/disturbing - if you're not a speciesist, you have to compare children and pets, and can end up arguing that it's right to, e.g., stop looking after a severely disabled human baby if that meant you could save the lives of a dozen particularly clever chimps. (Which is more a problem with utilitarianism of any stripe than animal rights specifically, obviously, but it certainly throws a pretty hefty spanner in the works re: speciesism being a bad thing for most folk!)

But in return I have a companion who enriches my life in a way neither humans nor inanimate objects can

That's the something I'm missing, clearly. I just can't understand feeling that way towards a non-human animal (even using the word 'companion' to describe a cat seems odd).
posted by jack_mo at 4:10 PM on July 30, 2014


I just don't want them around me particularly and rather resent the fact that I'm forced to be near them all the time, because pets.

I feel the same way about human babies. But I don't go around telling people they are unethical and unhygienic for having them.
posted by Librarypt at 5:04 PM on July 30, 2014 [2 favorites]


Supposedly the average lifespan for a stray cat is roughly three years. Three years of wounds from fights, starvation, and illness. Our youngest cat was the runt of a litter of strays, a litter that someone brought to the vet, hoping they would be adopted. From an early age, she's had eye problems that would have blinded her without (very, very cheap) medication. She likely wouldn't have lived longer than a couple weeks.

Our oldest cat is now almost twelve. She was born behind my old apartment, and while we did our best to feed them, out of her litter of seven cats, five were dead in months, and the only other survivor lived less than two years. She had a habit, when I lived at my old apartment, of disappearing for nearly a month at a time, always in spring. She would always come back, horribly gaunt and filthy. Somehow, she developed a total panic response to the sound of plastic bags, probably because some asshole probably caught her and threw her in one.

We don't have children. We're not in any position to have children, and at our age, trying to do so could be risky for my wife and any potential kids. Our cats have improved our lives immeasurably. They, themselves live lives free from want or fear, are taken good care of, and have lived much longer than they otherwise would have. While I can't get them to say so, I choose to believe they are happy and enjoy their lives.

For all of the utilitarian bluster, the refusal to factor in any kind of happiness or joy as a vital component to life is a serious failure. Pets in general, and most certainly my pets, are an incredibly important part of many people's emotional well being and enjoyment of life.
posted by Ghidorah at 5:25 PM on July 30, 2014 [5 favorites]


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