This page contains a map together with the statistics which tell us, in which states of the USA, cats are more popular or less popular than dogs. I suggest some reasons behind the slight differences in preference between cats and dogs. The map below is interactive; you can see figures by placing your cursor over the map.
Does anyone have any ideas why dogs are more popular in southern states (except for Florida) while cats are more popular in the North especially the Northeast? One analyst, Jared Koerten, a pet industry analyst at Euromonitor (which provided the data), suggests that in some more built up areas the dog will be less popular. As the Northeast is more heavily urbanised than states in the South this may account for the difference.
Is there any other reason? It is notable that in general, globally (but there are exceptions) in the developing countries, dogs are more popular than cats. For example in India there are ten times the number of dogs to cats.
Google can’t help. If you search for “dogs more popular than cats India” it fails miserably to come up with an answer. I’ll have to guess therefore.
The first point to note is that there is only a fine difference between dog and cat popularity across the USA. The most dog-friendly state is Arkansas where dogs outnumber cats 1.35 to 1; not a huge difference. The most cat friendly state is Massachusetts where there are 1.87 cats to every dog. As I recall Massachusetts has some of the tightest laws regarding the ownership of exotic animals.
Between dogs and cats, dogs were the first to be domesticated. They were considered to be more utilitarian (working animals). In developing countries that attitude probably remains: an attitude that companion animals should be “useful”. Cats are useful but there is probably a perception that they are less useful than dogs in developing countries.
Although it is not clear cut there is a general trend of dogs being more popular in the poorer states with cats being more popular in the richer states. I’ll stick my neck out and say that household income is a factor as to whether a family prefers a dog to a cat and the reason is the same as for India: dogs are considered more utilitarian.
I am sure there are other reasons. For example there is a slight correlation between the top ten states with the lowest gun death rates where cats are more popular and dogs being more popular in the top ten states with the highest gun death rates.
I sense that the ‘wild west attitude’ (if there is such a thing) favours dog ownership.
Here are the statistics again per state in alphabetical order:
Alabama – 1.4m dogs and 1.3m cats
Alaska – not available
Arizona – 1.8m dogs and 1.4m cats
Arkansas – 1.1m dogs and 1.8m cats
California – 6.7m dogs and 7.1m cats
Colorado – 1.3m dogs and 1.2m cats
Connecticut – 0.5m dogs and 0.8m cats
Delaware – 0.2m dogs and 0.2m cats
Florida – 4.2m dogs and 4.4m cats
Georgia – 2.5m dogs and 2.2m cats
Hawaii – not available
Idaho – 0.4m dogs and 0.4m cats
Illinois – 2.4m dogs and 2.5m cats
Indiana – 1.6m dogs and 1.9m cats
Iowa – 0.6m dogs and 0.8m cats
Kansas – 0.8m dogs and 0.7m cats
Kentucky – 1.5m dogs and 1.3m cats
Louisiana – 1.1m dogs and 1.9m cats
Maine – 0.3m dogs and 0.5m cats
Maryland – 0.9m dogs and 1.7m cats
Massachusetts – 0.8m dogs and 1.6m cats
Michigan – 2m dogs and 2.4m cats
Minnesota – 0.9m dogs and 1.3m cats
Mississippi – 0.8m dogs and 0.7m cats
Missouri – 2m dogs and 1.7m cats
Montana – 0.3m dogs and 0.3m cats
Nebraska – 0.4m dogs and 0.5m cats
Nevada – 0.6m dogs and 0.6m cats
New Hampshire – 0.2m dogs and 0.3m cats
New Jersey – 1.3m dogs and 1.5m cats
New Mexico – 0.7m dogs and 0.5m cats
New York – 2.1m dogs and 2.3m cats
North Carolina – 2.5m dogs and 2.2m cats
North Dakota – 0.1m dogs and 0.2m cats
Ohio – 2.7m dogs and 3.8m cats
Oklahoma – 1.3m dogs and 1.0m cats
Oregon – 0.9m dogs and 1.2m cats
Pennsylvania – 2.5m dogs and 3.5m cats
Rhode Island – 0.2m dogs and 0.2m cats
South Carolina – 1.2m dogs and 1.2m cats
South Dakota – 0.2m dogs and 0.3m cats
Tennessee – 2.2m dogs and 1.7m cats
Texas – 7.2m dogs and 5.6m cats
Utah – 0.4m dogs and 0.5m cats
Vermont – 0.1m dogs and 0.2m cats
Virginia – 1.7m dogs and 1.9m cats
Washington – 1.8m dogs and 1.6m cats
West Virginia – 0.6m dogs and 0.6m cats
Wisconsin – 1.1m dogs and 1.5m cats
Wyoming – 0.1m dogs and 0.1m cats