Do “Dog People” Date “Cat People”? Well, It’s Complicated

Dating site and PetSmart Charities asked people how pets affect their dating choices, and there are indeed some "switch hitters."


I hope this isn’t TMI for you all, but the truth is that quite a lot of us here at Dogster and Catster, er — “swing both ways.” Although the bulk of my writing has been here on Dogster, the truth is that I have written news items on both sides of the fence. In fact, I would probably own a cat, were it not for the fact that my partner is allergic. I guess you could say I’m bipetual.

I do hope that most of you reading this will continue to respect me after this revelation. I know that it can be difficult.

The fact is, things like this matter in peoples’ relationships. PetSmart Charities and dating site just released the results of a joint survey on dating habits, and how people are affected by attitudes toward pets. And of course, whether you’re a cat person or a dog person. This is important stuff, so listen up.

First of all, it turns out that not only is choosing to rescue your pet from a shelter the most ethical thing to do, but it’s also pretty hot. According to the Truth About Pets and Dating survey, adopting a pet instead of buying one at the local shop makes you more attractive to 59 percent of singles. Also, if you’re a guy who likes women and you have no dog, maybe you want to reconsider: 72 percent of the single women surveyed responded that a dog is the “hottest pet a guy could own.”

Also, it turns out that owners of dogs are a little bit more, uh, dogmatic about their choice in pets: 97 percent of cat owners were open to dating “dog people,” but only 66 percent of dog owners are willing to cross that line. Apparently, switch hitters just aren’t as common among dog fans.

Here’s where I become a bit of a stick in the mud. First, I have to do my usual thing of reminding everyone not to take these results too seriously. The words “a survey shows” should always be treated with some skepticism, and the subjects of the survey were 1,000 members. So, basically, it’s applicable to members, not the broader demographics of the United States as a whole.

Also, as far as I can tell, these results are strictly heterosexual and monogamous. Of course, that’s in keeping with the demographics of Match as well; if you’re looking to hook up with, say, pansexual genderqueer people with lots of piercings who run their own event at Burning Man every year, there are other sites for that. And, of course, because I live in the Bay Area, and assumptions around sex and love tend to be a little different around here, I can’t help wondering how the results would change (if at all) when you start to take polyamorous — or nonmonogamous — dating into account. For instance, do polyamorous dog lovers whose primary partners are cat people scan the personal ads for dates with other dog people? Or does the pet factor count only when you’re single?

But I think the broader point still stands: People love their pets, and that means dogs and cats count when they’re picking out their own romantic partners. A lot of times, they use their dog or cat to weed out the undesirables: If Rover growls at you when you come in the door, you’re gone. So, learning to be good to your fur friends and get them to like you back can be good for a lot of reasons, including a healthy love life.

What do you think? Can dog people and cat people build healthy relationships together? Or should they just stay on their own side of the fence?

Via PetSmart Charities

Read more about the bond between humans and dogs on Dogster:

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