Japan Today

Which are more loved in Japan: Cats or dogs?


It’s the eternal struggle of pet preferences. There’s no question that the top two choices for pets are cats and dogs and the human race is ultimately divided between so-called “cat-people” and “dog-people.” Since there can only be one animal to take the number one spot as “favorite pet,” large scale surveying website Research Planet asked nearly 30,000 Japanese people straight up, “Which do you like better, dogs or cats?”

To me the answer seems simple; just say which animal you prefer. But there was a lot of controversy and heated opinions attached to many of the votes. Let’s hear what some respondents had to say:

-- “I have a toy poodle. I hated cats since they killed the bird I had as a child.”

That seems to be a rather unfair generalization to hate all cats for the actions of one. Not all cats readily kill birds.

Anyway, moving on.

-- “Puppies have a sorrowful and whistful look in their eyes. Their backs hang in a meloncholy way which warms my heart.”

Alright. I guess that’s good if you happen to be into that sort of thing.

Moving on to the cat voters’ opinions:

-- “My cat gave me 22 wonderful years. I can’t forget the trust in his eyes when he stared at me. He was really a part of my family.”

Aw, that’s sweet. Only a cold-hearted monster could disagree with that. Next:

-- “I used to be a dog-lover, but then I actually tried owning a cat. It doesn’t smell. They don’t take too much of your time. They keep a moderate sense of distance. They’re really really cute…”

Now that’s a rational opinion. Clearly this is a no-brainer, but let’s see what the final tally was anyway.

Dogs: 49.8% Cats: 27.9% Neither: 22.4%

To add insult to injury, the survey also shows that people with higher incomes tend to prefer dogs as well.

Huh. Well, I guess this proves once and for all, without question, that dogs truly are the premier choice of people...who participate in online surveys.

Source: Research Planet

Read more stories from RocketNews24. -- An Appeal To Potential Pet Owners: 4 Reasons Why You Should Adopt -- Adorable Cat Swims in Bathtub -- One cat’s amazing recovery will warm your hearts!

© Japan Today

©2024 GPlusMedia Inc.

Login to comment

Cats are useless.

-20 ( +9 / -28 )

To add insult to injury, the survey also shows that people with higher incomes tend to prefer dogs as well.

Talk about biased........everyone here knows which you prefer. lol!

0 ( +3 / -3 )

worthless survey. I raise both

3 ( +5 / -2 )

I used to be an out-and-out dog person and didn't understand why anyone would want a cat, until I found a tiny ginger kitten abandoned by the side of the road and took him home with me. He had a congenital illness which meant he didn't get to see his first birthday, but in that short time he so convinced me of the worth of cats that I went out and adopted another. Now I'm a hard-core cat-and-dog person. They're both great. The survey is useless.

22 ( +23 / -3 )

In this country people love fashion and dogs are a fashion accessory. They only love the right brands, breeds, and tend not to like mixed breeds.

Few truly love their dogs. If they did, they would not keep them tied up on a 1 metre chain.

14 ( +17 / -4 )

@gaijintraveller: I wouldn't overgeneralize about dogs being fashion accessory. I think the vast majority of Japanese people love their dogs as everyone else does. I DO however agree with you about Japanese people gravitating to pedigrees and dogs that are "in style" at a moment in time.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Typical "forced choice" nonsense. I like all animals ... except fish, they creep me out.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

oh come on, look at facebook, absolutely "nyan-nyan"

3 ( +4 / -2 )

I greatly prefer cats; they have a genuine disinterest in you unless you're serving them, so when they actually offer affection, it's all the more special.

However, I wouldn't be opposed to a dog if given the right breed, particularly the whippet. Or indeed a bird, for that matter.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

Cats are considered vermin by lots of people, probably due to there being so many strays (which is, after all, our fault as human beings). Dogs are favoured for their docile behaviour and portability. Also, they don't scratch like cats will if you don't trim their claws and provide them with a scratching post.

I love cats, and it breaks my heart to see so many strays.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Dogs have a master, cats have staff....

24 ( +23 / -1 )

Dogs poop in open view of anyone who happens to be in site and make little attempt to bury it. Dogs roll over, look sad, fawn, are yappy (depending on breed), and smell. Cats poop in private and make sure it's well covered, no self-respecting cat would ever 'fawn", cats are generally quiet and scrupulosly clean and, best of all, are independent.

1 ( +8 / -6 )

Tamagochi off course no hassle!

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Ian: I'd love your cat! I love both, I really do, but after experiences with them both I'm very easily more of a dog-lover than a cat-lover. My dogs were much easier to take care of, and were very obedient and happy. You definitely need more effort to train a dog in the early years but the return is greater. My cats were utter sweeties but the moment you pissed one off, they took it out on you in very inopportune ways. They can be VERY moody and vindictive.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

We have a cat. It hates me.

I've been living with it for 3 years, and I still can't stroke it without is going apoplectic and hissing and scratching me.

Sometimes, I can be sat at home, watching TV, and I'll look over at my cat, and she's staring at me. If I call her name she meows, which she doesn't do with my wife. Sometimes she just growls at me.

Although, she's the same with everyone except my wife.

1 ( +3 / -3 )

cats are NOT cleaner than dogs. They puke...everywhere, wherever they happen to be, whether on your couch, bed, dinner table, computer keyboard, wherever, sometimes several times a day.

My kitty has puked a total of twice in the two years we've had her. Maybe yours needs to see the vet?

They also shed fur like crazy

Ever owned a Shiba in shedding season? It's wall-to-wall tufts of fluff.

annihilate wallpaper and furniture

Scratching posts and pads, a variety of, throughout the house.

Cats are very much in it for themselves and will share their love when and only when they feel like it.

When I was crashed out with a stomach bug, it was the cat who curled up on my pillow and quietly kept me company, while the dog wandered about downstairs complaining that no one was taking him walkies. My husband tells me that whenever I leave the house, the cat sits on the doormat waiting for my return, while the dogs gets on with terrorising his chew toys.

no self-respecting cat would ever 'fawn"

Unless someone is holding a bowl of food.

cats are generally quiet

Unless someone is holding a bowl of food, or it's past dinnertime, or they want a door opened, or someone has left the loo lid down.

Maybe having been raised with a dog and by a person accustomed to dealing with dogs, my cat doesn't know she's a cat.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

I would say dogs. The number of people one sees with "cute" little toy dogs is amazing. Especially amazing how many men have them, sure, difficult to know about cats as people don't take them out walking. Many of the cats i have seen out and about in Japan seem overweight and with short tails for some reason.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

stay away from single women with cats!! its says all about their character. cats are fake creatures.

-5 ( +2 / -7 )

stay away from single women with cats!! its says all about their character. cats are fake creatures.

Same as people who make sweeping generalizations.

9 ( +12 / -3 )

shinjo dekimasen..nande ka? HELLO? HELLO KITTY .. One guy here even said.. Facebook has Nyan Nyan.. we all know what nyan nyan means... not to mention DORAEMON? the robotic cat.. Maneki neko even ( in Bashamichi/ Kannai, there is even a Maneki neko building.. ) I cannot name a Dog inspired anime in Japan.. I say it really is a worthless survey !

2 ( +2 / -0 )

The question isn't what do you like better; it's what is more loved in Japan. Look to Japanese culture for the answer; modern and traditional. Cats are more prominent. Dogs have only recently come into their own, because more people can afford them now, and they're fixated on toy breeds.

When I was a kid in Tokyo (60's & 70's), pretty much the only people who had dogs were rich folks, or gaijins, or the odd coot. Dogs were expensive to keep, and needed a lot of space. Toy breeds weren't generally around; it was mostly Akita-ken, Dobermans, Alsatians; not even that many Shiba-inu. I don't recall ever seeing genuine stray dogs, for example.

Dogs, if I'm not too far wrong, weren't widely used, if at all, for work in Japan, and not for war or policing before the 20th century. Cats are all over the place in literature, temples, art - although keeping them as pampered pets wasn't much practiced. The stray cat population is huge and historically very long-standing, even in places like Miyakejima - don't forget Tashirojima.

The plight of lost and abandoned pet dogs from the Tohoku disaster has brought dogs to the fore front lately, but cats have dominated in Japan for centuries.

9 ( +9 / -0 )

So hard to generalize about love, and especially how much love for dogs and for cats. Also each dog and each cat can have such a different temperament.

My observations over the years in Japan show me that the same dog species which are aggressive in New York are passive in Japan. Why? An inherent belief in societal order?

Not so much deliberate cruelty here, but indifference and neglect do seem to be rife, causing cruelty all the same. Occasionally I will see expression of what I used to think of as love when I lived in the west, but is this more for dogs, or for cats? Hmm... now that is a hard call.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Cats are useless.


I just met a person yesterday who said she "hates" cats... Not "prefers dogs", or "doesn't like" cats, but "hates" them, with a passion. When I asked her why she said because they smell bad.

Err, don't dogs smell worse than cats?

4 ( +5 / -1 )

well said Xeno23 :) I remember nemurineko in Tochigiken temple :)

0 ( +0 / -0 )

don't dogs smell worse than cats?

Dogs tend to have that distinct doggie body odour - you either love it or hate it. (No prizes for guessing which camp I'm in)

Cats have little body odour (with the exception of Phoebe's Smelly Cat, of course), but their toilet offerings are stupendously smelly. If you have an intact cat that you allow to mark indoors, the whole house will stink to high heaven and knock people over as they come in the door. Litter boxes also stink if not cleaned out regularly, ie every time the cat uses it. Getting the cat to use a flushable loo removes the risk of smell, because the water acts as a barrier. Also flushing is a lot easier than scooping, and you don't have to buy kitty litter.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

stay away from single women with cats!! its says all about their character. cats are fake creatures. This reminded me of the Japanese phrase 'Neko wo Kaburu", or to wear a cat (on one's head).

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Most of the favoured breeds of dog are nothing short of monsters. Cuteness surely is just cruelty.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

How about a CATDOG?


-6 ( +0 / -6 )

Neko wo Kaburu, a wolf wearing sheep's clothing?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Cats are not useless - we kept a great mouse catcher when I was a kid ( we lived near a biscuit factory ) along with 2 Jack Russells - carnage for any rodents. Give me a cat any day over those fluffy, bulging-eyed, obscenely miniaturized monstrosities I see walking the streets in ribbons.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

I like both, but prefer cats. I like to quote Robert DeNiro in Meet the Parents: cats make you work for their affection, they don't sell out the way dogs do.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Cats are W - E - I - R - D ! ! !

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

not all dogs smell, or smell the same, just like humans..and a lot of it can be dietary

you can train your dog to poop on the poopy pad, then just dump the pad between that and doing business outside, its not bad at all

lets see, number of times a dog vs cat has saved a human...like 100000:1

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Weird, Kurobune? Actually I have had some weird experiences with cats. Once I was half asleep on the couch at a friend's house when the house cat came into the room and told me in an inner voice that it had been human in a previous lifetime. It jumped up onto my lap. Looking back on it, I put it down to a vivid dream, a very realistic one at that. Nuts.

How do they pack so much intelligence into that tiny brain, anyway?

2 ( +2 / -0 )

I've had all kinds of pets, used to live on a farm. Love dogs and cats. But my house on Okinawa doesn't have a big yard so we have a cat, a few beetle, and free range gecko's. I don't buy cats or dogs always adopted. Don't see the need to pay for one when so many need a home.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Plenty of feral cats roaming around the Tamagawa and being feed by some locals.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I cannot generalize, but where I live in southern Shibuya, dogs are not animals, but trendy accessories that are showcased in baby strollers or Vuitton bags on coffee terraces!


6 ( +7 / -1 )

So the person who wrote the article clearly favors cats. Nothing wrong with that but I’d prefer my news not to be biased.

Anyway, asking me which I prefer will result in the reply, “I can’t pick a favorite child.” I love them both and they both have goods and bads.

Dogs may take a bit more work since you have to walk them if you don’t have a yard, but the work is well worth it for the companionship they provide and the extra energy they bring into your home (depending on the breed). They are also more expressive of their emotions and visually sympathize with your bad moods or sick days, and larger dogs can protect your estate and family.

Cats don’t show so much of a connection to humans, but they really do love their owners and get anxiety if they are away for too long (http://www.wikihow.com/Understand-Your-Cats-Behavior). Cats can’t protect your family but they won’t awaken you at 3:00 AM barking at the moon either. And while you can play with dogs quite well, cats are a bit more fun to watch when they play with each other darting around the house or when you play with them with a toy and they make giant leaps through the air.

Dogs are healthier for growing kids (especially if the dog is big enough to protect the kid) while cats are better for those seeking a more calm lifestyle and where space is limited.

Both offer perfectly rewarding experiences to the right people.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

@Openminded It's ridiculous and downright cruel in some cases. Miniaturizing dogs and breeding them for their looks carries health risks which led the RSPCA to launch a bred for looks, born to suffer campaign. As someone who loves and has always kept dogs, I find the sight of some of these 'cute' dogs obscene. Idiots.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Dogs have a master, cats have staff....

well said...

as for the persons that said that the cat puked everywhere, that's not normal, unless you have an indoor plant that the cat is eating, which makes them to puke, but then again the cats eat these plants because they are sick.

I like both, with more inclination to cats, but it's strange the people "love" more dogs, maybe because in reality they cannot have dogs in their houses unless they are the small breeds like toy poodle or beagle?, if that's the caase, i would guess they "love" dogs as a sign of status...

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Real dogs>Cats > pampered ratty lap dogs (the seeming majority in Japan). in that order. That is all.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Agree with poster above that is how it should be, there is a place for almost all cats that actually work for something. Little crap yappy dogs have no place and serve really no purpose. Real dogs are and forever will be mans best friend.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

"They puke...everywhere, wherever they happen to be, whether on your couch, bed, dinner table, computer keyboard, wherever, sometimes several times a day. They also shed fur like crazy"

It's very often the second problem that's causing the first, perhaps you need to groom the cats more often, and/or look into some fur ball remedies.

Our cats didn't tolerate a brush well, but masking tape wrapped around my hand was absolutely fine, they didn't realize they were being brushed. Grabs everything, too. Our Himalaya/tora mix took 6 rounds of tape before the tape would cease to be covered.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

That sound terrible for the environment...6 rolls of tape to brush a cat?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

"Not all cats readily kill birds"

Of course they do; that's their nature.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Each to their own. like or dislike. Thats freedom people. Make a choice, stick with it and enjoy life.

:) For me, Loyalty that dogs display is essential for home security. German Shepherds all the way.....wooooo.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

"Not all cats readily kill birds"

Of course they do; that's their nature.

We all know that the Internet is made of cats, and the Internet is full of charming stories of the bond between cat and bird. Try looking on YouTube for 'cat with bird'. Lots of awwww-inspiring clips of ravens adopting and feeding kitties, moggies being chased by the family budgie. It's true that not all cats are natural bird-killers.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Dogs smell and are needy

"This guy knows what's up!"

Cats kill wildlife

"Well that's like, your opinion man"

Dogs are cute

"Wow calm down wierdo"

Cats are cute

"Aww I know right"

Some unbiased article we got over here...

0 ( +0 / -0 )

A dog can be trained to detect cancer n humans. A cat knows how to poop in a box. 'Nuff said.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Dogs are too easy. You give them a cuddle, a bone, a piece of meat or a toy and they're happy.

Cats on the other hand, you really need to work to earn their approval.

Having been both a dog owner and cat servant, I think dogs are more fun but cats were more intriguing.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

It's difficult to assess fairly. My instinct is to day dogs, but I mean you see people walking dogs and/or dogs in doghouses outside the house. You don't see people walking cats (at least, very rarely), and a cat house is generally called a 'health salon' here. I still think dogs are a little more common as pets here than cats, but I loathe the way I see many treated -- once they stop being 'cute' and/or a fashion accessory, they are left in a box beside the house in many cases. It's also harder here to allow cats the freedom to roam that they have in other nations with wider spaces, but you do see it.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

This is a good time to share a funny email I received a year ago comparing dairies written between a dog and cat.

The Dog's Diary

8:00 am - Dog food! My favorite thing!

9:30 am - A car ride! My favorite thing!

9:40 am - A walk in the park! My favorite thing!

10:30 am - Got rubbed and petted! My favorite thing!

12:00 pm - Milk bones! My favorite thing!

1:00 pm - Played in the yard! My favorite thing!

3:00 pm - Wagged my tail! My favorite thing!

5:00 pm - Dinner! My favorite thing!

7:00 pm - Got to play ball! My favorite thing!

8:00 pm - Wow! Watched TV with the people! My favorite thing!

11:00 pm - Sleeping on the bed! My favorite thing!

The Cat's Diary

Day 983 of My Captivity

My captors continue to taunt me with bizarre little dangling objects. They dine lavishly on fresh meat, while the other inmates and I are fed hash or some sort of dry nuggets. Although I make my contempt for the rations perfectly clear, I nevertheless must eat something in order to keep up my strength.

The only thing that keeps me going is my dream of escape. In an attempt to disgust them, I once again vomit on the carpet. Today I decapitated a mouse and dropped its headless body at their feet. I had hoped this would strike fear into their hearts, since it clearly demonstrates my capabilities. However, they merely made condescending comments about what a "good little hunter" I am. Darn!

There was some sort of assembly of their accomplices tonight. I was placed in solitary confinement for the duration of the event. However, I could hear the noises and smell the food. I overheard that my confinement was due to the power of "allergies." I must learn what this means, and how to use it to my advantage.

Today I was almost successful in an attempt to assassinate one of my tormentors by weaving around his feet as he was walking. I must try this again tomorrow, but at the top of the stairs.

I am convinced that the other prisoners here are flunkies and snitches. The dog receives special privileges. He is regularly released, and seems to be more than willing to return. He is obviously not sane. The bird must be an informant. I observe him communicate with the guards regularly. I am certain that he reports my every move. My captors have arranged protective custody for him in an elevated cell, so he is safe. For now ...

10 ( +9 / -0 )

It's also harder here to allow cats the freedom to roam that they have in other nations

In many cases when you adopt a cat in Japan, one condition of the adoption is that the cat will be strictly an indoors-only cat. There are actually a lot more cats in Japan than you'd imagine, you just don't see them outside so much. Considering all the dangers - people blithely spraying all kinds of herbicides and pesticides in their gardens, parasite-infested frogs & lizards, traffic, etc., not to mention the weirdos who deliberately put out poison, use cats as bb gun target practice, etc - I would not consider letting my cat roam 'free'. Plus I don't think people like having a neighbour's cat using their flowerbeds as a toilet, and the wildlife is safer if kitty stays home.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

When I look at dogs that act to obey their owners, I truly think that dogs are lovable. Needless to say I prefer dogs than cats. Cats are a little self-centered.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Cats beyond any possible doubt I wonder that you even wrote an article about this. It is hardly even worth considering. Dogs are a noisy and messy pest and hardly worthy of even thinking of.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

I have met many Japanese people who are scared of cats so much that even a picture in a magazine scares them. I also know people who hate cats and consider them dangerous even though a dog can bite out your jugular.

That is them though, I love cats more than dogs.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

If they could only breed a cat that can take care of crows.

0 ( +0 / -0 )


Some of the crows that hang around near my house could probably take care of your average cat....

2 ( +2 / -0 )

I was in the "Jeez, those little dogs look ridiculous" camp and then we got a half-toy poodle, half-mini dachs and now all dogs look just fine to me. They are a tremendous addition to your home and are fantastically generous with their affection (and other things, but that's been well covered here).

I wanted to point out that those supposed "designer bags" said to be part of a fad that ornamentalizes dogs are actually the only way you can get on a train or subway with your pet. We just got a cloth shoulder bag for Boo this weekend and it has opened up a lot of new places for us to explore, not just our neighborhood. So instead of it being merely for show, such bags are highly practical, unobtrusive, and fun.

This article and the recent one on the Poop Patrol have been interesting, and I have learned some things. The wife and I try hard already to leave a tiny canine footprint on our thrice daily osampo, but will also start making more use of the water bottle spray. Great idea that should be encouraged...

1 ( +1 / -0 )


And here I wanted a corvid aviary...

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

I've raised both. I vote dogs. But don't have either. I don't need to because there are 6 that bark constantly in my neighbors back yards. What I don't understand is why people feel the need to own pets just because they have a fenced place to keep them.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

6 rolls of tape to brush a cat?

Oh, no sorry! Six consecutive applications of tape to my hand, not 6 rolls of tape....a roll lasted us a while. Sorry to have been vague.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Some of the crows that hang around near my house could probably take care of your average cat....

A huge crow chased my 6-kilo cat down the street, pecking at his back. Crows are nasty!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I have never met a cat or dog with the same personality, so we must remember that they are just as much individuals as are human beings. In the past 50 years I have had 11 dogs and 11 cats, and each one was unique and different in intelligence, personality and cleanliness, but each and every one was valuable in their own way.

And it is not true that all cats are "distant" and act totally different than dogs. My Burmese cat acts more like a dog than a cat in terms of loyalty and affection and almost always sleeps with me near my feet on the bed. He also used to play "fetch" just like a dog when he was younger and beg me to throw his toys again! Another cat I had in the 1990's would literally watch the children's TV show "Okaasan to Issho" on one of my computer chairs. Never underestimate cats.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Login to leave a comment

Facebook users

Use your Facebook account to login or register with JapanToday. By doing so, you will also receive an email inviting you to receive our news alerts.

Facebook Connect

Login with your JapanToday account

User registration

Articles, Offers & Useful Resources

A mix of what's trending on our other sites