Which is better, cats and dogs? What we can learn from psychological research

cats and dogs?

It’s no secret that dogs are man’s best friend, but cats can also make great pets. So, what scientific research has shown so far that there is a difference in the well-being (mental and physical health and happiness) of cats and dogs owners? A study published in 2020

Which is better, cats and dogs? What we can learn from psychological research

in the open-access psychology journal Frontiers in Psychology found that people who own dogs tend to have higher self-esteem than people who don’t own pets. It has become. On the other hand, people who own cats seem to have slightly lower self-esteem than people who don’t own pets like cats and dogs. This is consistent with other psychological research on the link between pet ownership and well-being. Of course, the results of this study cannot end the debate over the differences between dog owners and cat owners. However, there are good reasons to believe that owning a dog is more likely to improve your well-being. Let me introduce three reasons why.

1. Promote exercise and social interaction

According to research published in 2019 in the scientific journal PLOS ONE , people who own a dog are more likely to exercise than those who own a cat. Other studies have found similar results.

Which is better, cats and dogs? What we can learn from psychological research

Dogs are very active animals and need regular exercise. Therefore, dog owners tend to be more active in their daily lives. It’s no secret that increased activity levels can help improve overall wellbeing, including mental health.

If you own a dog, you will be doing a lot of physical activity, such as going for an early morning jog together, taking him to the dog park, or enrolling him in a training class. This means more opportunities to go out, meet up with people you know, and make new ones (both of which contribute to improved mental health). Thanks to the shared love of dogs, conversation naturally becomes more lively, and social bonds and a sense of unity are more likely to emerge.

Cats, on the other hand, are very independent animals and prefer to stay indoors. Although they sometimes roam outside on their own, they are different from dogs that humans take to the park. Because they act independently, unlike dogs, their owners do not encourage them to exercise or socialize.

2. Differences in cats and dogs owner personality

Personality traits also influence whether pet owners are happy. In psychology, there is a theory about personality traits called the Big Five. It classifies personality traits into five categories: neuroticism, extraversion, agreeableness, conscientiousness, and openness.

Which is better, cats and dogs? What we can learn from psychological research

A 2016 study revealed that there are differences between dog owners and cat owners in this regard. The research paper, titled “Pets and Happiness,” found that dog owners were more agreeable and less neurotic than cat owners. Dog owners have also been found to be more extroverted. Extraversion is one indicator of well-being. Of course, this is a chicken-and-egg argument. Do dogs make their owners happy, or are happy people more likely to choose dogs as pets? Probably both causal relationships hold true. The authors of the paper state: “There may not be much difference between people who own a pet and those who don’t, but it is clear that there is a link between dog ownership and beneficial outcomes.”

3. Gender differences and self-esteem among owners

A closer look at data published in 2020 reveals that men who own dogs have higher self-esteem than men who don’t own pets. In contrast, women who own cats have lower self-esteem than women who do not own pets.

Which is better, cats and dogs? What we can learn from psychological research

One possible reason why men who own dogs have higher self-esteem is that by owning a dog, they come to see themselves as a member of a pack or a pack leader. Such recognition may increase self-confidence. It is also possible that men who own dogs have higher self-esteem due to the fact that they receive compliments on their dogs from passers-by while walking.

On the other hand, women who own cats tend to be stereotyped negatively as “old misses” or “cat ladies.” She may feel left out because of this.

Conclusion

As with other happiness studies, the answer to the question of whether dog owners or cat owners are happier is not straightforward. It’s true that dog owners are “forced” to engage in activities that lead to happiness (going out, exercising, socializing, etc.).

Which is better, cats and dogs? What we can learn from psychological research

On the other hand, a person who owns a cat can feel quiet and happy by watching his beloved cat curl up at her feet and sleeping. The important thing is to choose a pet that suits your lifestyle. If you’re the type of person who likes nothing more than being on the go and interacting with people, owning a dog could be a shortcut to happiness. On the other hand, if you don’t need a lot of companionship and prefer to stay at home, a cat might be right for you. Besides, if you’re happy with your current life, there’s no rush. It would be fine to adopt a pet between cats and dogs next year or the year after.

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