Cats And Dogs, Living Together (by state and region)

A friend of mine from college brought this fun graph to my attention today.

It’s the ratio of households-with-at-least-one-cat to households-with-at-least-one-dog, by state and region. Click to embiggen:

(R code; raw data sourced from the American Veterinary Medical Association)

Perhaps this explains my sense that I’m meant for the northwest and northeast corners of this country. Anybody want to offer some (responsible) speculation on what this all means? And what’s the deal with Delaware?

Open thread!

36 replies
  1. 1
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    The deal with Delaware is Joe Biden.

  2. 2
    ChrisMaun says:

    I think there’s some cats hiding in the data – many ppl have a dog and a cat. And usually it’s easier to bring in another dog than another cat.

  3. 3
    Mnemosyne says:

    I may be slightly confused. Is this dog-only households vs cat-only households, or are people who have both also in the mix? Or is it that only the one with the highest number of households (cats, dogs, or both) are plotted?

  4. 4

    @Mnemosyne: Number of households with at least one cat, divided by number of households with at least one dog. A single household can be in both categories.

  5. 5
  6. 6
    HumboldtBlue says:

    I’ll speak for Delaware.

    I have no business doing so, but fuck’em, it’s Delaware.

    There’s Wilmington, Newark, Dover and then fuckistan.

    That DelMarVa peninsula is worth exploring.

  7. 7
  8. 8
    Yutsano says:

    Huh. I’m surprised. Seattle is basically doggo central.

  9. 9
  10. 10
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Major Major Major Major:

    So if a household has both a cat and a dog, it basically cancels itself out as far as the count goes since it gets counted as both, yes? It’s the households that have only cats or only dogs that tip the scales one way or the other.

    Which makes Delaware even weirder, I suppose, since they’re the only state that had enough combined dog/cat owners to register as its own category.

  11. 11
    different-church-lady says:

    It means that Massachusetts is the only sane state.

  12. 12

    @Mnemosyne: Delaware shows the exact same number of households for each kind in the raw data. But if you look at just pet population numbers, Delaware actually has more cats than dogs.

  13. 13
    Matt McIrvin says:

    Hmm. It occurs to me that my wife’s family members in MA, NH and ME strongly tend to have both. Though we are cat people ourselves (I like dogs but they are a larger commitment, no way around it).

  14. 14
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Major Major Major Major:

    So, basically, it’s grouping households into three categories (cat-only, dog-only, and cat-dog) and telling us what household category is predominant in each state, correct?

    I think I’ve seen other sets of statistics showing that there are more households with dogs than cats, but that overall there are more cats being kept as pets since it’s still a little more common to have 2-3 cats at a time than 2-3 dogs, John Cole notwithstanding.

    But I’m on my phone, so I can’t look at the raw numbers without getting a headache.

  15. 15

    @Mnemosyne: on desktop safari it makes that into a table. Just checked on my phone, and yeah, ouch!

    The number of cats per cat-having household does appear to be bigger than the dog equivalent pretty much across the board. Closest in Oklahoma, at 2.2 and 2.1 respectively. (Just from a quick eyeball.)

  16. 16
    ChaunceyBaker says:

    The answer is simple: Square Footage.

  17. 17
    NotMax says:


    “In the U.S.” includes Alaska and Hawaii, you numbnuts who put together the useless data table.

  18. 18
    hells littlest angel says:

    @ChrisMaun: I think there’s some cats hiding in the data –

    If they don’t want to be found, they can hide really well.

  19. 19

    @NotMax: Apparently that would be the R for Data Science online learning community. I swear I saw the word ‘contiguous’ somewhere today while I was chatting with my friend about this…

  20. 20
    NotMax says:

    @Major Major Major Major

    Frankly, the obviously faulty labeling involving so basic a point of fact immediately and ineradicably calls into question anything they might crank out.

    I say it’s spinach.

  21. 21
    Repatriated says:

    @Villago Delenda Est:

    The Big F’n deal with Delaware is Joe Biden.

    FTFY. :)

  22. 22

    @NotMax: Open-source non-research data is much more likely to be slightly mislabeled than outright wrong, in my experience.

  23. 23
  24. 24
    NotMax says:

    @Major Major Major Major

    non-research data

    What does that even mean? All I can guess is it means fiction presented as fact.

  25. 25

    @NotMax: It means good-enough, something that a professional might spitball with, but a jumping-off point for any sort of formal rigor. If you want to think that’s only as good as random numbers, be my guest. It’s not like people are making medical decisions here.

    ETA and a straightforward following of links gets one to a secondary source and primary source, so I’m assuming a labeling error

  26. 26
    mark says:

    We’ve always had a cat or a dog or both at the same time throughout my life.
    Each and every last one of them had better manners than Donald Trump, not to mention dignity and self respect.

  27. 27
    NotMax says:

    Wowzers. Now we’re getting the sort of rain expected yesterday at this location. TV soundbar is maybe 10 feet away from the desk and cannot hear it with the volume turned all the way up over the sound of the rain.

  28. 28
    J R in WV says:


    Spanish hotels remove minibars after ‘mostly British’ tourists refill them with bottles of pee

    Around here we would call that FloriDUH Man Strikes again. God to know Brits can be worse at some things. Would expect all the mini ar bottles to be emptied… novel and disgusting refilling is the Duh thing here.

  29. 29
    Gvg says:

    As I recall it was news about 20 years ago that the number of pet cats passed dogs in America. It is a lot easier to keep cats in an apartment or condo and you don’t have to take them out in bad weather. I live in Florida and every winter I wonder how northerners (everyone who lives where it snows) keep dogs. At the time the news said it reflected urbanization. People live in big cities. Around here, places that allow dogs seem to have cycles where they tend not to allow dogs, then they become more Pete friendly, then switch back etc.
    The news about pet cat was definitely followed by more cat centered fiction and more people saying they loved cats. When I was young fiction was more dog centered.
    A different trend I have noticed lately is people taking dogs into shopping areas where the law saying they can’t and management not doing anything. More people are getting bolder and pushing so that it’s becoming normalized. It started at Home Depot and Lowes and dogs in shopping carts. Now it’s Walmart, and it’s not just little dogs either. And they aren’t only in the carts at HD or Lowes anymore.
    Businesses used to worry about bites and lawsuits. Now they seem to not want to be seen as jerks to animals.
    Not sure what I think. If we were better at socializing our pets it would be good. Some people aren’t though.

  30. 30
    Bobby Thomson says:

    Not all dog preferrers are into toxic masculinity, but people into toxic masculinity are more likely than not to prefer dogs.

  31. 31
    swiftfox says:

    Outside of Wilmington and the retirees at the beaches, Delaware is Alabama so the results are surprising.

  32. 32
    Fester Addams says:


    It means that Massachusetts is the only sane state.

    I believe that fact was established back in 1972.

  33. 33
    Bobby Thomson says:

    @Fester Addams: but see 1984.

  34. 34
    Michael Cain says:

    Someone already mentioned the obvious square footage. Eyeballing things, it looks like dogs decline as some sort of “miserable winter weather” measure goes up. Who wants to walk the dog in the cold rain in Seattle? Or the Minnesota/Wisconsin snow and cold?

  35. 35
    Luthe says:

    @ChaunceyBaker: Yeah, I’d like to see the data compared to population density to see if there’s a correlation. Of course, that will still be imperfect, since population density can vary wildly between different areas of one state (i.e. New York).

    I’m kinda curious what’s up with New Jersey (highest population density of any state!), but as there are a lot more suburban and rural areas there then most people think, it could just be suburbanites love their dogs.

  36. 36
    Just Chuck says:


    If we were better at socializing our pets it would be good

    Bringing them shopping sounds like a pretty good way to socialize them, no? If someone brings an obnoxious dog, they should be booted out as quickly as a shouty disruptive person. Still, I can’t imagine the sound of barking doing anything to make the ambience of an average Walmart any _worse_.

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