Dog People, Cat People: There Really Is A Difference, Facebook Study Shows

Dog People, Cat People: There Really Is A Difference, Facebook Study Shows
Facebook data analysis finds some truth to long-held stereotypes


Does your choice of pet really have anything to do with who you are as a person? Facebook wanted to find out. Using their unique access to data (think status updates and photo uploads), researchers at Facebook have presented some really interesting findings illustrating just what differentiates cat people from dog people.

To start: Who has more friends? Who's more likely to be single? What TV shows do we curl up to and watch with our best four-legged buds? In order to answer these questions, Facebook dug their claws into aggregate, de-identified data from a sample of about 160,000 people in the United States who shared photos of cats, dogs, or both.

When it comes to curling up to enjoy a good book, movie, or marathon Netflix session, the study found that cat people are overwhelmingly fond of fantasy, sci-fi, and anime, while dog people, on the other hand, are crazy about anything dog related. The data showed that dog people are partial to Marley & Me, The Notebook, and Duck Dynasty, whereas cat people like Dracula, the movie Terminator 2, and television show Naruto. Geographically, cat people are more concentrated in urban areas better suited to the small size of a cat, and there are more dog people in rural areas.

And what about those long-held stereotypes? Turns out, there’s some validity to the claims. On average, dog people have 26 more friends than cat people, suggesting dog people are more social, however, cat people are more likely to be invited to events, suggesting that though they have fewer friends, perhaps they have better friendships. Cat people—hate to break it to you—are more likely to be single, but this singledom is not limited to women (crazy-cat-lady myth dispelled!); single cat owners represent all ages and genders.

And yes, there’s a difference in attitude. Facebook’s “feelings” emojis, in which users can annotate a status with their current mood, were analyzed as well. Cat people disproportionately reported feeling tired (must be all those event invitations!) while dog people frequently reported feeling excited. Everyone, however, felt the same amount of heartbreak.

Though the study showed some interesting differences, it also found we can at least agree on a few important things: The Great Gatsby is a great book, feeling heartbroken is the worst, and the love we hold for our pets—feline and canine alike—is boundless.

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