Happiness is a warm dog
April 6, 2019 2:45 PM   Subscribe

Dog owners are much happier than cat owners, survey finds WaPo | Gainesville Sun
posted by Johnny Wallflower (92 comments total) 20 users marked this as a favorite
 
*backs away from thread slowly*
posted by Homo neanderthalensis at 2:48 PM on April 6, 2019 [43 favorites]


You baby.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 2:49 PM on April 6, 2019 [4 favorites]


They really buried the lede here: Dog people, in other words, are slightly happier than those without any pets. Those in the cat camp, on the other hand, are significantly less happy than the pet-less. That should settle things once and for all.

No, no one ever tells me I like to instigate things. Why do you ask?
posted by TedW at 2:58 PM on April 6, 2019 [13 favorites]


But what about bird people? No one ever asks the bird people!
posted by Calzephyr at 3:00 PM on April 6, 2019 [21 favorites]


So...what I hear you saying is that dog owners are more likely to be in denial about the actual material circumstances of their existence.
posted by juv3nal at 3:02 PM on April 6, 2019 [72 favorites]


There is also the possibility that without the cats the people would be far, far more depressed, perhaps suicidally so, and they turn to cats because they need to haul out the big guns, as it were, of happiness generators. Perhaps dogs simply can't boost happiness to the extent people owned by cats require to counteract their unhappiness levels.

Perhaps their unhappiness is so profound that even with the aid of kitties they're dragged low. These poor souls need more cats, not fewer!
posted by los pantalones del muerte at 3:07 PM on April 6, 2019 [67 favorites]


*backs away from thread slowly*

*distances Homo neanderthalensis in a few seconds and keeps sprinting*
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 3:08 PM on April 6, 2019 [4 favorites]


Sigh, more propoganda from big dog
posted by Sokka shot first at 3:12 PM on April 6, 2019 [59 favorites]


Dogs are needy attention-whores who require regular attention for their basic bodily needs and who require interaction for exercise.

Cats are roommates who just need to have food and water and latrine areas maintained and you can ignore them or interact with them as you and them wish.

I'll let the jury decide.
posted by hippybear at 3:18 PM on April 6, 2019 [26 favorites]


Well if your the kind of person that enjoys the company of a slobbering sycophant as it confirms your own narcissistic world view why wouldn't you be happier than someone who respects the independence of all creatures and may occasionally be burdened with a surfeit of empathy and a consequential absorption of the worlds sorrows?

Poke poke.
posted by Pembquist at 3:22 PM on April 6, 2019 [33 favorites]


Dogs are needy attention-whores who require regular attention for their basic bodily needs and who require interaction for exercise.

Cats are roommates who just need to have food and water and latrine areas maintained and you can ignore them or interact with them as you and them wish.

I'll let the jury decide.


Dog owner here. Can't exactly dispute this, but: we had one dog for ~14 years, and she wasn't particularly needy for anything. We now have a rescue who's missing a leg and who is very needy for both attention and exercise. The new dog seems to make everyone in the family much happier and certainly more attentive to her.

So...correlation and causation, yadda yadda, but I wonder about the neediness (tied to unconditional love back) actually being what leads to the greater happiness.
posted by Four Ds at 3:25 PM on April 6, 2019 [6 favorites]


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.

This is pretty key, I think. If I were able to get a dog instead of or in addition to a cat, it would mean that I was living in a bigger place with a yard or access to more green space. It would also mean I'd have a better work/life balance with either a shorter commute, the ability to come home over my lunch break, the resources to pay for doggy day care or a dog walker, or a partner at home taking care of some of the work. I'd also imagine that physical and mental health plays into some people's decisions about whether they can meet a dog's need to be taken out and exercised versus the lower bar for a cat.

Both cats and dogs bring me joy, but I'd definitely be a lot happier if my life as a whole was checking all the boxes that would allow me to take care of a dog.
posted by northernish at 3:28 PM on April 6, 2019 [97 favorites]


jhjsiisalknslksiu;aj;lkhaksdhiawelkjfwaf

Oops, sorry - pardon me while I push this cat away - she was just walking across my laptop keyboard...
posted by PhineasGage at 3:33 PM on April 6, 2019 [6 favorites]


Dogs are needy attention-whores who require regular attention for their basic bodily needs

I can see that sifting cat poop on a daily basis has given the toxoplasmosis a firm foothold.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 3:36 PM on April 6, 2019 [39 favorites]


I have a cat. She has stabbed me several times a day and never let me sleep in for about 6 years running now but I have never had to hold her shit in my hand. So I consider myself a happy man who has negotiated a good deal with my captor.
posted by srboisvert at 3:38 PM on April 6, 2019 [22 favorites]


Dogs are like a good Stativa.
'Yup yup yup gonna playfrisbeeetakeadrinkcheckthe bowlcheckingdoorcheckingHEY.'

Whereas cats are like a good indica.
'Uhuh, right, I like the canned food. Checked out the bank account, yeah, so...like...I cannot reach the 'cat nip' right...DONT FUCKING put it in that ball.'

[Marijuana generalization discounts hybrids]
posted by clavdivs at 3:44 PM on April 6, 2019 [8 favorites]


Cat owner/lover here. My theory is that it's because cats are total assholes.
posted by bondcliff at 3:45 PM on April 6, 2019 [8 favorites]


Ignorance is bliss.
posted by saladin at 3:53 PM on April 6, 2019


"Dog owners tended to be more agreeable, more extroverted and less neurotic than cat owners."

If that were true, then why do dog owners have to bring their dog with them everywhere? Dogs in the car, dogs at the mall, dogs in restaurants, dogs at work. Why can't they just leave the dogs at home?

Besides, the Internet consists of like 75% cat videos and memes. If dogs really made people happier, it'd be dog videos and dog memes. QED.
posted by Autumnheart at 3:59 PM on April 6, 2019 [14 favorites]


*cracks knuckles* why are there no error bars on that chart? Is there any statistically significant difference between dog-owners and petless people?

Did anyone do so much as a t-test here?

AAaaugh brb downloading raw data

(Note that there are also reasons listed why respondents DON'T have pets, which I also find interesting.)
posted by sciatrix at 4:08 PM on April 6, 2019 [16 favorites]


A good dog has purpose(s)

A good cat creates them.™
posted by clavdivs at 4:08 PM on April 6, 2019 [2 favorites]


I'd like to see this controlled for introversion/extroversion.
posted by escape from the potato planet at 4:12 PM on April 6, 2019 [4 favorites]


Dogs take a lot of energy. High energy people without mental illnesses are going to feel up to taking care of dogs. Depressed people without a lot of energy are going to go with a pet that doesn’t take a lot of effort. My guess is that it’s not dog owners are more likely to be happy, it’s happy people are more likely to own dogs.
posted by Caduceus at 4:28 PM on April 6, 2019 [33 favorites]


Autumnheart: "Besides, the Internet consists of like 75% cat videos and memes. If dogs really made people happier, it'd be dog videos and dog memes. QED."

This is the standard line, but I'm not actually sure it's true. The dog images subreddit woof_irl has 418k subscribers, substantially more than the 243k of its cat counterpart meow_irl. Is it actually true that cat videos and memes are more prevalent than dog ones these days?
posted by crazy with stars at 4:29 PM on April 6, 2019 [3 favorites]


I saw this story in the paper this morning and thought, "Here's Johnny Wallflower's next FPP."
posted by peeedro at 4:29 PM on April 6, 2019 [18 favorites]


roommates who just need to have food and water and latrine areas maintained


Accurately descriptive of a disappointingly large percentage of my former roommates.

I happily live alone now.
posted by darkstar at 4:35 PM on April 6, 2019 [8 favorites]


The brain parasites are working overtime to keep a thumb on the scale in here.
posted by mhoye at 4:35 PM on April 6, 2019 [6 favorites]


I am seriously considering getting a pet when I finish my upcoming cross-country move and it sure is not gonna be a dog.

I am also an introvert who has been depressed for a lot of her life. Maybe there's a correlation there. Maybe getting a dog would even make me happier - but just the thought of having one kinda fills me with dread.

Except maybe a standard poodle. Every standard poodle I've ever met has exuded this aura of immense chill.
posted by egypturnash at 4:37 PM on April 6, 2019 [9 favorites]


*makes popcorn, settles in with lapcat to enjoy the thread*
posted by mersen at 5:11 PM on April 6, 2019 [3 favorites]


I keep fish. Fish care about you even less than cats. What can you say about pet owners who never touch their pets, rarely develop an emotional attachment to them, name them by species, and throw them in the bin when they die? We're cold people.
posted by pipeski at 5:23 PM on April 6, 2019 [9 favorites]


My dog is this quiet, goofy little couch potato who only needs to go out 3x a day and spends the rest of the day as I do: periodically foraging for snacks and perpetually looking for warm soft sunny places to nap.

She does not bide her time knocking over candles from the windowsill when I am sound asleep and leaving me to sweep up glass shards while barefoot in pajamas like some critters I have known.

I am deliriously happy with our partnership.
posted by mochapickle at 5:35 PM on April 6, 2019 [11 favorites]


I love dogs and cats. We wanted to get a dog but our landlord wouldn't allow it, so we got a cat instead. Our little kitty has made our lives much better. We laugh and smile more and whenever I look at her little furry body sleeping in the bed I just want to go "awww," no matter how many times I've seen it before. She's alternately standoffish and begging for attention and playtime. Cleaning the litter box isn't fun, getting her not to scratch stuff and jump on things is impossible, so you have to know what you're getting into with a cat (and no, they don't care how many times you make that sound at them, they'll respond when they feel like). But I think they are elegant, cute, funny, and occasionally sweet.

And if we'd gotten a dog I would have loved that dog too--I'm sure it would make me laugh constantly, help get me out of the house more to take walks, surprise me with it's ability to communicate with me, and provide joyful companionship just like my cat does.

Frankly, if you love animals I don't see why you'd hate either one. They have their general quirks that are specific to each but personalities (and especially with dogs I think, breeds) play a big role in your experience of a pet. I understand the realities of taking care of them and how they behave is different, but the constant debate around them and people being "dog people" or "cat people" seems silly.
posted by dubitable at 5:41 PM on April 6, 2019 [23 favorites]


Where do the dogs-that-are-more-like-cats and the cats-who-are-more-like-dogs fall on this thingamajig? (Also it seems like the cat people in this thread REALLY don't like dogs. I must tell them that many dogs will like them anyway!)
posted by Glinn at 5:41 PM on April 6, 2019 [6 favorites]


Coincidentally just finished reading an article at the NY Times, "Why Do We All Have to Be Beautiful" which concludes that we don't and maybe it's even harmful to try to convince everyone they should be beautiful in their own way or whatever.

And so I note, correspondingly, maybe there are people in this world who have a tendency toward happiness and people in this world who have a more melancholy or contemplative state of mind, or at the very least don't have the kind of "on" personalities that they might feel a dog deserves, and maybe that's not a bad thing, it just is. And perhaps such individuals are statistically likely to gravitate toward a more emotionally independent pet, e.g. a cat, or no pet at all. I'm sure plenty of cat owners are positively blissful with their companions, but in any event, measuring the value of a human/animal relationship by the reported happiness of the human involved might be missing out on some important dimensions. In fairness to the article, it makes much the same point.
posted by xigxag at 5:47 PM on April 6, 2019 [10 favorites]


I know it’s partly hyperbole being marshaled as a conversational crutch by the chronically unfunny or insecure, but I still think it’s weird when people talk shit about an entire species just to plant their tired little discourse flag on long-settled country.
posted by invitapriore at 6:00 PM on April 6, 2019 [4 favorites]


I too came here to say that if my life was better I'd be happier and if my life was better I would & could support a dog.

Also I'm fascinated by this idea of a survey that could diagnose how agreeable and neurotic I am:
A 2016 study of dog and cat owners, on the other hand, yielded greater happiness ratings for dog owners relative to cat people. It attributed the contrast, at least in part, to differences in personality: Dog owners tended to be more agreeable, more extroverted and less neurotic than cat owners.
posted by bleep at 6:02 PM on April 6, 2019


There is a cat purring on my lap right now and that makes me happy.
posted by Daily Alice at 6:18 PM on April 6, 2019 [4 favorites]


people in this world who have a more melancholy or contemplative state of mind, or at the very least don't have the kind of "on" personalities that they might feel a dog deserves, and maybe that's not a bad thing, it just is

As a melancholy, contemplative person, the unconditional love I've received from the dogs of family and friends has done me more good than almost anything other than my antidepressant.

This is the standard line, but I'm not actually sure it's true.

Is there a cat social media that can compete with the empire of dog_rates and dog_feelings?
posted by praemunire at 6:24 PM on April 6, 2019 [5 favorites]


Dogs are Twinkies. Cats are sautéed Brussels sprouts.
posted by gottabefunky at 6:24 PM on April 6, 2019 [6 favorites]


I've met some dogs I like a lot, although in general I'm not a dog person. The thing is, dogs are just messier than cats - they drool, they eat more messily, they pant, their mouths are looser and slobberier than cats'. A lot of them enjoy doing messy things, rolling in mud and various forms of yuck, etc. And they are on average more extroverted than cats, plus much noisier. It's really those things that make me always prefer cats, even though there are some individual dogs I like a lot.

Maybe cat owners are more neurotic about embodiment and that's why they prefer cats?

My cat has been hanging out with me off and on all day and it has made me extremely relaxed and happy. Would I say I'm a happy person in general? Maybe. I guess I'd say that I have a happy personality but a pretty pessimistic worldview so my conversation tends toward the dour.
posted by Frowner at 6:28 PM on April 6, 2019 [10 favorites]


I keep fish. Fish care about you even less than cats. What can you say about pet owners who never touch their pets, rarely develop an emotional attachment to them, name them by species, and throw them in the bin when they die? We're cold people.

Not all fish owners!
posted by TedW at 6:34 PM on April 6, 2019 [1 favorite]


I guess I'd say that I have a happy personality but a pretty pessimistic worldview so my conversation tends toward the dour.
posted by Frowner


Nobody is surprised by this. Not even your cat.
posted by hippybear at 6:37 PM on April 6, 2019 [3 favorites]


Maybe it's loving an animal that would really rather you be about 4" tall so it could more effectively consume you. My cat simply tolerates me and would love to bat me around if only I weren't so darn big. If my cat had a shrink ray I would be history. Dogs don't strike me that way, they are pack animals looking for feelz from the top dawg. When I'm giving my kitty the big love, rubbing her all the right ways, you can see her whiskers kind of twitch as she represses her primordial urge to leap and tear at my monkey skin. Perhaps overthinking this a bit......
posted by diode at 6:54 PM on April 6, 2019 [4 favorites]


Bipetual pride
posted by drlith at 6:57 PM on April 6, 2019 [3 favorites]


I'm introverted, agreeable, and neurotic. My precious pupper's need for loves is good for me because she helps keep me out of my own head and helps me get moving. Maybe agreeability causes me to let my dog ameliorate my neuroticism, rather than resenting her demands.
posted by Jpfed at 7:06 PM on April 6, 2019 [4 favorites]


Also it seems like the cat people in this thread REALLY don't like dogs.


It’s quite possible that some of the commenters are actual cats, which may explain things somewhat.
posted by darkstar at 7:33 PM on April 6, 2019 [22 favorites]


We have two dogs and one cat. I'm never quite sure where the balance sheet lies in terms of all of them being annoying little shits at times, and all of them bringing laughter and warm fuzzies and happiness. It's very volatile.
posted by Foosnark at 7:47 PM on April 6, 2019 [5 favorites]


I think there's a lot to the idea that dog owners might be happier because they have the life circumstances and energy needed to care for a dog, not because they actually have a dog. But that doesn't explain why people who have a dog and a cat are less happy than people with just a dog. Or why people with cats are less happy than people with no pets at all. It kind of looks like having a cat just sucks happiness out of your life for some reason. Maybe I dodged a bullet due to my cat allergy.
posted by Redstart at 7:53 PM on April 6, 2019 [3 favorites]


They're probably just much more easily pleased.
posted by carter at 8:39 PM on April 6, 2019 [2 favorites]


Dogs make you go outside and walk around and interact with people every day, even if you don't want to. Of course you are happier. Most of my best friends are people I met either through dog ownership or horse ownership. Yes, it's a big commitment but what else are you gonna do with your life?

I really do kind of want a bird again though too. Birds have an unparalleled sense of humor in the pet world.
posted by fshgrl at 8:54 PM on April 6, 2019 [4 favorites]


Did they control for any outliers? I've heard anecdotal evidence of an extremely depressed 'cat owner' who may be throwing off the survey, and possibly even delusional about owning a cat in the first place.
posted by pwnguin at 9:42 PM on April 6, 2019 [1 favorite]


Re: the pull quote, I am not surprised.

I cede that cat people may be smarter than dog people but, once the circular logic is applied anyway, maybe not actually.
posted by RolandOfEld at 9:48 PM on April 6, 2019


But what about bird people? No one ever asks the bird people!
posted by Calzephyr a


As a bird person, I'm depressed, because of all of the cats murdering the birds.

On the plus side, there are amazing islands without cats or snakes.
posted by eustatic at 10:10 PM on April 6, 2019 [5 favorites]


See, the thing is I have never been chosen by a dog. I was by a cat. My girl cat Nancy, she was freshly weened and I visited and she climbed up in my lap and purred and that was the end of it. She's the pet across my life that I understand the most. She does and says things and I know what they mean. It's hard to explain, but it's true. My boy cat Rocky we got older and he was neurotic (possibly from abuse) to begin with. I love on him as much as I can but he has demands that go beyond my ability or willingness to satisfy. Still he's my boycat and I spoil him as much as I can
posted by hippybear at 10:11 PM on April 6, 2019 [8 favorites]


The thing I really enjoy about the article is that dog people are jumping up and down in excitement over it, and cat people don't care.
posted by panglos at 12:10 AM on April 7, 2019 [21 favorites]


MetaFilter is one of the strangest sites I've seen in some time. I have no idea how these people got their cats wedged into their weblog, or why.
posted by chavenet at 12:15 AM on April 7, 2019 [4 favorites]


“Better to be Socrates a cat owner dissatisfied than a pig dog owner satisfied.”
posted by adrianhon at 1:25 AM on April 7, 2019 [1 favorite]


If you want a dog but feel it is too high maintenance and effort I recommend a pet rat. They are effectively low maintenance and effort and short term commitment micro-dogs that have human hands.
posted by srboisvert at 4:01 AM on April 7, 2019 [8 favorites]


Dogs aren't actively plotting to kill you in your sleep.

Unless you've accidentally brought home a wolf, of course. And, even then, a wolf has the decency to just immediately rip your throat open and get it over with, unlike the years of meticulous plotting, planning, practice, and dry-runs cats engage in.
posted by Thorzdad at 4:19 AM on April 7, 2019 [2 favorites]


Everyone is all like "oh cats would kill you in a hot minute if they could" as if all those Akitas and ratting dogs and so on would just totally ignore a prey-sized human if they got hungry.For that matter, I used to regularly encounter two tiny, mean little dogs who always chased and bit people - if we'd been small enough to eat, we'd have been eaten.

Also, not to put too fine a point on it, but I live in a crumbling Victorian. If my cat didn't chase and eat them, we'd be overrun with mice. I actively like having a hunting cat, and unless science makes radical discoveries about the laws of physics, I don't expect to be four inches high any time soon.

In re dog versus cat owners: You might as well theorize that dogs are figured in popular culture as manly, robust and "normal" and cats are feminized, stigmatized and figured as signs of deviance. ("You'll end up a crazy cat lady") so in fact, dog owners are "happier" because they participate successfully in oppressive structures and cat people are "less happy" because the narrative around cats is that they belong to inferior people (women, the mentally ill) and that they are inferior/weird/creepy/bad and because the type of person who isn't at the top of the social ladder is more likely to have a cat anyway.
posted by Frowner at 4:56 AM on April 7, 2019 [20 favorites]


Our evolutionary track with dogs is pretty different than the one we share with cats. Consider our agrarian history. Our relationship with the dog is pretty cooperative. We hunt food with them. We heard food with them. They protect our food/land/resources from any number of hostile forces. The cat in this history is just there being a cat. It
kills things we don't like that the dog is too small to get. It is in the house, but you don't really "work" with it. It is in the barn, but again, you don't have to interact other than a scratch on the head.

I think you are probably more likely to be emotionally connected to the animal pulling your sled across the tundra or fighting off wolves for you. It could be that you are conditioned to have an emotionally positive relationship with the dog, but those endorphins just aren't needed for your relationship with the cat.

In their defense, they were critical allies during the plague years.
posted by isawthat at 5:44 AM on April 7, 2019 [1 favorite]


My mother was a social worker. She adopted pregnant cats. My childhood was overwhelmed with memories of kitty births, marauding horses of kitten Visigoths, my eyelid torn by a fierce paw, shaming neighbors into adopting baby terrorists.

I have two dogs now.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 5:51 AM on April 7, 2019 [5 favorites]


In their defense, they were critical allies during the plague years.

Ancient Egyptians understood that cats’ role as protector was critical to the success of a culture which depended on food storage for survival; cats were deified and protected by law.

Critical allies indeed.
posted by kinnakeet at 6:25 AM on April 7, 2019 [2 favorites]


Crazy with stars it might be one of those things like where if a conversation is 33% women speaking it's seen as majority women. Seeing dogs is the normal.
posted by Easy problem of consciousness at 6:45 AM on April 7, 2019 [3 favorites]


Of course dog owners are happier, our whole culture is set up to cater to outdoor-exercise-loving extroverts.
posted by Ralston McTodd at 7:03 AM on April 7, 2019 [8 favorites]


This survey is a lie and is not to be trusted. Cats are the best and cat people are the happiest in the world.

(My cat said if I say that, she would refrain from mauling me “by accident”)
posted by caution live frogs at 8:00 AM on April 7, 2019 [5 favorites]


but I wonder about the neediness (tied to unconditional love back) actually being what leads to the greater happiness.

A dog will love you unconditionally, even if you beat it and abuse it and make it scared of you. -- it doesn't know any better. This is the same kind of love you have for your immediate family. You love them, but only because you don't really know any better; they were just the people available at the time.

Cats, on the other hand, won't put up with such bullshit. If you're not interacting with a cat in the way that the cat deems respectful, it will want nothing to do with you. This is a friend. This is a relationship that both parties choose to maintain.

I sometimes really worry deeply about some "dog people", the ones for whom the "unconditional love" aspect is a selling point.
posted by Xyanthilous P. Harrierstick at 8:21 AM on April 7, 2019 [4 favorites]


I'm always skeptical about self-reported happiness, especially when it isn't based on very specific, material questions. The influence of world view, social norms, and local culture is huge. Very happy compared to what? I've never met anyone whose personal life I'd trade for my own. I love my job, my spouse, my city, my friends, my hobbies, my anticipated future. My life is better than I ever could have expected. But, I'd never describe myself as "very happy." Only a fucking idiot could be very happy in this world with a straight face.

I haven't looked into this survey, but I wouldn't be surprised if it's significantly skewed by the number of cat owners in Brooklyn alone.
posted by eotvos at 8:30 AM on April 7, 2019 [2 favorites]


Hmm...there have been other studies that show that people with kids are less happy than those with no kids.

Combining the results of these studies, I’m now wondering where children fit on the scale. Are kids more or less happy-making than cats?
posted by darkstar at 9:03 AM on April 7, 2019 [4 favorites]


I sometimes really worry deeply about some "dog people", the ones for whom the "unconditional love" aspect is a selling point.

Gosh, imagine liking the idea that if you care for a creature, lavish affection on it, take it places with you, let it sleep in your bed...it will most likely care for you back. Unconditional love is good for humans. Like everything else good for humans, there are people who will abuse that gift.

I really don't know how to break this to you, but cats get abused, too. The most vivid abuse memory of my childhood is of a household cat's being abused. A human who is really committed to hurting a cat can get it done.
posted by praemunire at 9:37 AM on April 7, 2019 [1 favorite]


I’d have loved having a dog sooner, if my poverty, unpredictable scheduling from multiple jobs, and frequent moves (to apartments I didn’t own) had permitted it. I had a cat, though. Purrl had been abandoned twice by students who’d moved away and left her. I promised her it wouldn’t happen again, and it didn’t.

It wasn’t her fault that I was often unhappy and desperate feeling. We had a fantastic bond that kept me stable while going through some awful trauma, made me brave enough to relocate without knowing humans, etc. We had a great bond. I’m with hippybear, it’s hard to explain how she would tell me things and I’d understand. But she did. I guess this is how familiars work. For example, I came home to my shared apartment and Purrl ran up to me, upset. She told me a man had been in the apartment by himself while roommate and I were gone. I believed her, to the extent that I called my roommate at work, very concerned. We were very careful that nobody had our keys, and manangement always gave notice. She was dumbfounded. She told me that she’d forgotten her work shoes at home, and had given her assistant the keys and sent him to get them. And that my cat was spooky.

Now I’m not in financial peril, have insurance, and fairly stable hours. I have a cat and a dog. I’m close to them both. Neither of them makes me happier than Purrl did. I love them both, and they increase my happiness. But they’re operating from a much higher base contentment level than Purrl had to work with. Am I happier now? Yes. But I own a dog BECAUSE I’m in a better place, and able to meet another creature’s needs. I’m not in this better place because of the dog.
posted by Nancy_LockIsLit_Palmer at 10:24 AM on April 7, 2019 [9 favorites]


I just wanna say

Muslims

generally at least

don't have this problem

and it's liberating to know there's a religion out there that has cats vs dogs solved.
posted by saysthis at 12:42 PM on April 7, 2019 [1 favorite]


How so?
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 1:06 PM on April 7, 2019


I've lived with (multiple) other people's dogs and (multiple) other people's cats in the past year and I felt substantially happier when there was a big goofy dog around for me to hang out with than when there were cats. And I would far rather pick up dog poop outside and throw it away than have a poopy litterbox in my house.
posted by needs more cowbell at 1:25 PM on April 7, 2019


*makes popcorn, settles in with lapcat to enjoy the thread**

*stands back from thread, throws popcorn for dogs to catch and cats to chase, enjoys uproar*
posted by BlueHorse at 1:44 PM on April 7, 2019 [2 favorites]


I'm a cat person, though I like small and well-behaved dogs. (And I think bird people are super weird. Birds are noisy, shitting, pecking things and try as I might, I can't find a personality under all those feathers.) And I think a lot of the observations about maybe people who are poorer or have more severe disabilities or overwhelming work lives (which reduce happiness) are more likely to own cats - so correlation, not causation.

One more thing in the correlation/causation CATegory: Democrats are more likely to be cat people, and Republicans dog people. And who is more likely to be unhappy in this current political climate? Take a wild guess. When we get President Harris or President Warren in 2020, I am betting we'll see a lot more happy cat people.
posted by Rosie M. Banks at 2:28 PM on April 7, 2019 [1 favorite]


I've known birds with a real personality. And there are videos all over YouTube that show birds being very personable and fun and interesting. My family had a pet parakeet when I was quite young, but then my sister shut her fingers in the latch mechanism of the car door and somehow this led to us getting a pet cat (to alleviate her pain? I have no idea) and the budgie was dead within 2 months. Not from the cat killing it, but I think from the cat jumping at its cage and causing heart failure.

If I weren't over 50 I'd think about having a parrot, but I don't have anyone to will it to, and anyway willing an animal on someone is cruel.

I'd like to have a couple more cats (we live in a fairly large house), but our first cat Nancy, who we got as a freshly weened kitten and who lived here with only us for several years (not even visitors because we aren't super social), has hated every other newcomer to the house, including the friends we had living with us for a while and their cat, and our second cat Rocky, whom she still hates to this day even though he's been here for over a decade. So, maybe after she's gone we'll get more cats.
posted by hippybear at 2:39 PM on April 7, 2019


The timeline is unfairly skewed. Humans started domesticating dogs 30,000 years ago while cats started domesticating humans only 10000 years ago.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 2:47 PM on April 7, 2019 [3 favorites]


To hippybear, there must be senior parrots who need homes...
posted by serena15221 at 3:22 PM on April 7, 2019


Would a parrot nibbling on ear hair be considered A.S.M.R.?

Parrots are great scapegoats for pinhole burns on shirt's.

They fly into the shoulder on second floors like we're an aircraft carrier all the while eyeing the jugular.

Why.
posted by clavdivs at 3:38 PM on April 7, 2019


Also it seems like the cat people in this thread REALLY don't like dogs.

I'm a dog person, but I have four cats and no dogs. Sometimes life just throws you a bunch of cats, so I actively seek out opportunities for dogs, and take the longer route to my bus stop in the morning because there is a beagle involved. If I go to somebody's place and there is a dog or dogs, I bogart the dogs. I am coolly standoffish with extracurricular cats, however.

I have never properly met a bird, so don't have a perspective on birds really. I suspect in general that they are ok.
posted by turbid dahlia at 3:54 PM on April 7, 2019


To hippybear, there must be senior parrots who need homes...

That's... an interesting idea.

I suspect Mr. hippybear might have opinions about this. I've never talked to him about it. Is bringing home a parrot a thing where forgiveness is easier to get than permission?
posted by hippybear at 3:57 PM on April 7, 2019 [1 favorite]


Once you put an “if” in front of it, is it really unconditional?

Yes, well, there's also the "if" of "if you actually meet them." "If" has more than one semantic function. Whew, cat people, showing some issues here.
posted by praemunire at 4:29 PM on April 7, 2019


Cat people are resigned to their fate. it's not showing issues, it's showing resolution.
posted by hippybear at 4:40 PM on April 7, 2019


Toxoplasmosis is one hell of a drug.
posted by hippybear at 4:41 PM on April 7, 2019 [3 favorites]


I, for one, find having a cat increases my happiness in my underground sub volcanic lair.
posted by Larry David Syndrome at 6:17 PM on April 7, 2019 [3 favorites]


A dog will love you unconditionally, even if you beat it and abuse it and make it scared of you. -- it doesn't know any better.

Did you learn this from movies? It’s nonsense.
posted by invitapriore at 9:57 PM on April 7, 2019 [1 favorite]


I would like to dispute the previous comment that dogs are messier than cats.

One of our cats we had for 12 years. He had perpetual URI (upper respiratory infections), and slung disgusting, sometimes bloody snot strings on a full 18" off the floor of every. single. wall. and door. In the house. Do you know how many magic erasers we went through cleaning all that shit off the walls? Repeatedly?

I loved that cat to pieces. He sat in my lap the second I had one. He would stay there as long as I let him. He would meow back at me when I said his name. He wasn't a scaredy cat when we had guests - any lap was satisfactory for him. He was very cool, and the first and only cat I've ever loved. We've had another cat also for about 11 years. He's just not the same. :(

We also have dogs. It gets us up off our asses several times a day to stop staring at a screen and go outside. It's good for all of us. They are not 100% mess free. They barf occasionally. But they don't poop or pee in the house. They deposit an equal amount of hair as cats.

I have learned to appreciate cats, but I wouldn't say I prefer them over dogs. Dogs are just naturally happy. Cats you have to work to figure out whatever their agenda is. I have to do enough of that with people.

As for birds...the previous owner of our place had a bird. We found feathers in here for years, literally. I think it's borderline mean to have anything that has to stay in a cage/tank.

So there.
posted by yoga at 6:36 AM on April 8, 2019 [1 favorite]


Didn't reply sooner because I was busy cradling the cat like a baby and singing to her while she extended her foreleg up to gently pat my cheek.
No, there's no punchline, we do that sometimes.

Like others here, I became a cat servant due to circumstances, primarily living in rentals where dogs weren't allowed. But the past year, this "No Dogs" complex has seen a canine invasion, thanks to schmuck owners pulling the "emotional support dog" scam.

I've paid hundreds of dollars extra in pet fees for a quiet little cat, while the owners of the barking, public-pooping dogs don't pay anything (cos "emotional support" animal).
Although it's not the dogs' fault, this has suddenly soured me on other people's dogs.

But I had a beloved beagle mutt as a kid, and have loved every lab I've ever met. So if I were in a living situation that didn't involve lying, just to cram a huge dog into a small apartment, I'd have a doggo too.

tl;dr they're both cool.
posted by NorthernLite at 10:17 AM on April 8, 2019 [1 favorite]


The correlation probably goes the opposite way from what most people think.

Dogs are high-maintenance, so the people who get dogs are, on average, in a mental state more conducive to keeping up with their animals.

People who are already depressed get cats, because they're easier to take care of and to identify with.
posted by dialMforMara at 1:20 PM on April 8, 2019 [1 favorite]


I'm a pretty happy non-pet owner who is frequently around other people's pets. So I think being a pet uncle/aunt is the best of all worlds.
posted by numaner at 1:21 PM on April 8, 2019 [1 favorite]


MetaFilter: Sometimes life just throws you a bunch of cats
posted by chavenet at 2:15 PM on April 8, 2019 [1 favorite]


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