Study Finds That Pet Owners Have More Attachment to Dogs Over Cats

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A new study out of the University of Copenhagen seems to confirm a long-held suspicion: pet owners love their dogs more than their cats.

The report, published October 23rd in the journal Frontiers in Veterinary Medicine, surveyed 17,747 participants aged 18 to 89 in the U.K., Denmark, and Austria who own either a dog, a cat, or both. According to Yahoo!, they were asked to respond to questions such as, “I believe that my pet is my best friend,” and others regarding purchasing insurance and investing in life-saving procedures. It revealed that everyone cared more about dogs than cats in every country across every issue addressed in the survey.

The study found that, in general, people had a much higher “attachment score” to dogs versus cats. It also determined that pet owners expect more medical treatment options for their canines than felines, and were likely to shell out copious amounts of money for them.

“We and others have found that people are willing to spend much less on their cats than on their dogs,” Peter Sandoe, the study’s lead author, told The Daily Mail.

Though the results were fairly universal, there were small discrepancies from country to country. For example, preference for dogs was found to be “very modest” in the U.K. It was more notable in Austria, but in Denmark, the preference for canines was extremely pronounced.

While owners in Austria and Denmark also expect a wider variety of care options for their dogs, U.K. pet owners pretty much expected an equal number of options for both species. In all three countries, however, more dogs were insured than cats.

Sando and his team did, however, leave the door slightly open. They acknowledge that, having studied just three, there might be yet-to-be-investigated countries where reverence for, and attachment to, cats is greater.

The report concludes: “The degree to which owners care about their dogs and cats is not limited or otherwise defined solely by the nature of the animals and may continue to evolve as human lifestyles change.”